Rep. Jason Smith, right, hosted high school students last week participating in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Tour. Among them was Houston High School senior Connor Wilson, standing next to Smith.

Rep. Jason Smith hosted Missouri students participating in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Tour last week in Washington, D.C.

Twenty-eight students from southern Missouri met Congressman Smith on the capital steps to ask him questions about how their government works and to get to know him as their representative in Congress. Among the students sponsored by Intercounty Electric in Licking were Connor Wilson of Houston, Sam Lavely from Licking, Caden Davis from Success and Patrick Hawkins from Summersville.

“Just by taking the trip to your nation’s Capital, you’re establishing yourselves as future leaders,” Smith said. “You’re never too young to make a difference and you wouldn’t believe how effective advocacy from young folks like yourselves is. Making this trip to Washington to see your government firsthand and meeting your representatives will go a long way to making sure your voices are heard.”

The students asked Smith what his job entails and if he has any favorite duties as a member of Congress.

“We vote on a lot of things here that won’t affect you for many years to come, but by far my favorite part of the job is being able to give Missouri families immediate help when they’re having difficulty with the federal government,” Smith said. “Helping seniors deal with a complicated government agency, making sure veterans receive the benefits they earned, and just serving as your customer service representative in Washington. That’s the best part of this job.”

Smith hosts NRECA Youth Tour participants from southern Missouri every summer. After meeting with the students, Smith’s office provided the students a personal tour of the Capitol.

The NRECA Youth Tour is a national, annual program where students apply and are selected to participate by their local electric cooperative. According to the NRECA, the purpose of the tour is for “students to gain a personal understanding of American history and their role as a citizen by meeting their representative and senators.”

More than 1,500 students across the United States take part in the NRECA Youth Tour each year.

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