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Hawkins students learn about government at HEC event in Nashville

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTOR • Mar 20, 2017 at 11:55 AM

NASHVILLE – Cherokee High School junior Claire Robertson and Volunteer High School junior Brannon Ragsdale were in Nashville March 13-15 for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual Youth Leadership Summit.

They were chosen and sponsored by the Hawkins County based Holston Electric Cooperative.

Sen. Jim Tracy on Tuesday, March 14, greeted delegates attending the three-day leadership and government workshop.

Tracy welcomed the young leaders to the Senate Chamber of the Tennessee State Capitol where Alan Whittington, assistant chief clerk of the Senate, explained the process required to pass legislation. Students had the opportunity to debate and vote on a mock bill.

Reps. Mike Bell and John Lee Clemmons joined Sen. Tracy for a town hall meeting with attendees. The three discussed the legislative process and answered questions posed by summit attendees. Delegates then had the opportunity to listen in on debate in House and Senate meetings in Legislative Plaza.

In addition to a hands-on look at state government, delegates to the event learned team-building and problem-solving skills and developed a better understanding of their local electric cooperatives.

“I have learned a lot about the Senate and the House of Representatives and how laws are passed,” says Brannon Ragsdale, a junior from Volunteer High School attending the Youth Leadership Summit. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity to come here and improve my leadership skills. I’m also thankful for Holston Electric Cooperative. My co-op really does a lot to make sure that leaders of tomorrow get the opportunities they deserve.”

Delegates to the Youth Leadership Summit are encouraged to be leaders and use their talents to improve rural Tennessee.

“Local electric co-ops, school officials and guidance counselors chose these deserving students to attend the summit based on their interests in government and strong leadership abilities,” says Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and director of the Youth Leadership Summit. “They will be the next generation of leaders in rural Tennessee, and we want to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities they will face.”

“These students will soon be our community leaders — and electric cooperative member-owners,” says Michelle Simpson, Holston Electric Cooperative’s Director of Member Services. “We want them to share our passion for rural East Tennessee, so it is an honor for Holston Electric Cooperative to help prepare them for the opportunities that are ahead. The future of our rural communities depends on a new generation of strong leaders like these.”

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