By Brian Neben, Lexington Clipper-Herald
February 21, 2020
LEXINGTON — Congress may not be in session, but it doesn’t mean Congressman Adrian Smith isn’t busy. On Tuesday afternoon he paid a visit to Lexington High School to visit and meet with several different classes.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18 Smith was on a tour of the third congressional district and had already made stops in North Platte and Cozad before visiting Lexington High School in the afternoon.
Smith first met with LHS principal Kyle Hoehner, who filled him in on some of the demographics and accomplishments of Lexington students. Among other points, Hoehner highlighted the attendance rate, the number of Susan Buffet scholarship award winners and the graduation rate.
Superintendent John Hakonson also met with Smith.
Hoehner showed Smith one of the high school English Learner’s classes, where students who are brand new to the language have a chance to learn it.
Smith was also shown through LHS to teacher Joshua Holden’s senior government class.
“There is a lot that goes into your education, what I would call an opportunity,” Smith said to the students, “take advantage of that opportunity.”
Smith said when he travels around Nebraska, one thing which he admires is how citizens are not only proud of their children’s accomplishments, but also their neighbor’s children accomplishments in not only athletics but also in academics.
“You have an entire community cheering you on,” said Smith, “they really, really want you to excel.”
Smith said he loves to share the success stories of the third congressional district with his colleagues in Washington D.C.
When Congress is not in session, Smith told the students it is not a burden for him to travel around Nebraska, but said it is not a vacation, he is out meeting with constituents as well as public groups.
Smith guessed just about every single member of Congress would be meeting with a school group in their district this week, just as he was doing.
When the floor was opened to the students, one asked why there were not more equal rights protections when it came to a person’s sexuality.
Smith said he hoped it wouldn’t take an act of Congress to ensure people treated each other with mutual respect, but noted when disrespect toward one another based on these traits grows, so does the frustration.
Another student asked if Smith has ever voted against what the state has wanted, to which Smith said no, but noted there are many diverse issues in the state and he hopes to meet with people and understand their point of view. He said this helps the process and helps him vote for what the people want him to.
“We are better off when we can learn from people and see how they arrived at their opinion,” he said.
“Our system isn’t perfect, but I struggle to think of a better one,” said Smith.
In closing, Smith told the students countless opportunities lie before them, whether they choose a four year college, a two year school or another option.
He urged caution for the students who were looking to take out student loans and told them to only take what they need, citing student debt is a big issue in the country.
“Pursue the future, there are so many ways you can prosper,” Smith told the students.