How meeting senators, congressman changed my perception of political leaders

page5sclaugust2015On page 5 of the August 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine, we featured the Washington Youth Tour and the four students who represented us.  Nate Fata, of Socastee High School, shared his experience with readers. 

This summer I had the pleasure of touring Washington, D.C., as part of the electric co-ops’ Youth Tour. Of all the incredible experiences that I had, the most memorable was meeting U.S. Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham and U.S. Rep. Tom Rice (R-Dist. 7). Meeting them on this trip singlehandedly changed my view of our state’s national leaders.

On the Tuesday morning of the Youth Tour, I walked with my fellow South Carolinian peers to the Cannon House Office Building from the U.S. Supreme Court, where we had visited earlier that morning. Rep. Rice and his staff received the 10 or so of us from his district with warm smiles and outstretched hands. The congressman was very outgoing and hospitable, engaging each of us in conversation. He asked us about school, and what we thought of D.C., and only talked to us about politics when we asked him questions about local trade issues.

After meeting Rep. Rice and touring the Capitol, we met Sens. Scott and Graham on the back steps for pictures. They arrived shortly after, and were not only very friendly, but also experienced selfie-takers! Sen. Scott arrived first, and happily took pictures with all 73 of us. He cracked jokes the whole time, and even complimented me on my sunglasses. Sen. Graham arrived shortly after, expressing regret that he would only be able to take a few pictures, due to his pressing schedule as a presidential candidate. However, to my knowledge, he did not refuse a single person a picture or handshake who wanted one.

This experience changed my outlook on our leaders. In person, they seemed to be down-to-earth, funny, and easy to relate to, instead of the somewhat remote, distant politicians that the media, whether purposefully or not, often portrays them.

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