Students represent their cooperatives on the annual tour of Washington, D.C.

Students represent their cooperatives on the annual tour of Washington, D.C.

Sixteen North Carolina electric cooperatives sponsored a total of 30 rising high school seniors to the nation's capital in June for the annual Rural Electric Youth Tour to Washington.

In addition to touring many of the city's monuments and museums, the group met with Congressional representatives. Both U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, as well as 12 of North Carolina's 13 House of Representatives members, participated in a question-and-answer session with the students. Sen. Hagan provided access to the Senate gallery to watch her preside over the Senate. Rep. Virginia Foxx led the group on a tour of the Capitol area and Speaker's balcony, culminating in a visit to the House gallery to observe floor activity.

Allan Keathley, sponsored by Tri-County EMC, asked Rep. Walter Jones of Farmville how to get Internet access to his home, and Rep. Jones followed up personally to tell him how and where to send his inquiry.

Carmen Gardner, the Surry-Yadkin EMC delegate, said she changed her mind during the visits about legislators, noting that they care about the people they serve and respect each other as colleagues.

The students elected Douglas Stephens IV, sponsored by South River EMC, as their representative to the Youth Leadership Council. He will represent North Carolina's electric cooperatives among the other YLC delegates at various national functions throughout the year.

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