Congressman Williams visits third grade class in Copperas Cove
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Congressman Roger Williams, representing the 25th U.S. Congressional District of Texas, visited with third graders at Clements/Parsons Elementary School Thursday morning.
Earlier this year, Sheila Grantham’s third grade class had written Williams’ office letters after reading the book “Oil Spill!” by Melvin Berger, about the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.
Williams received the letters and decided to pay a visit to the class during his recent visit to the Fort Hood area.
Williams participated in a Q&A session with the students in the school’s library for approximately 30 minutes, answering questions about baseball, conservation and protecting the environment and also about what it means to be a Congressman.
The students wrote their questions on note cards so they wouldn’t forget, and Williams wrote his own talking points down, including the names of some of the students who had written letters.
Williams shared that when he was growing up, he wanted to be either a firefighter, a police officer or a baseball player. He ended up becoming a baseball player, but he said he never thought about becoming a Congressman.
“As you grow older, like your teachers and your moms and dads, you get more involved in what’s happening politically, and you make a decision on is that a good answer, is that a bad answer, and sometimes you want to get involved to elect people that think like you do or maybe you decide to do it yourself, and I’d never run for office. I’d always been selected for stuff but never elected,” Williams said.
Williams added that he decided to run after having discussions with people, similar to the way he was talking to the class, and realizing he disagreed with them and wanted to share his message.
“I wasn’t against it, but it never was something I wanted to do,” Williams said. “It just happened, and I’m honored to serve. It’s a huge honor, and it’s a big job.”
Williams shared some information about his life and family, including the fact that he lives in D.C. during the week but comes home to Texas every weekend and that he and his wife own two pigs. He also spoke about some of his favorite baseball teams and learned about some students who played baseball and softball.
Williams said he was glad to stop by and interact with Grantham’s third grade class.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about these kids, and this last year has been hard on children and parents too, but we wanted to just come by and see them and tell them we loved them,” Williams said. “We were excited to come here and talk to these young kids because they’re engaged. They’re getting a great education. Their teacher’s doing a great job and they’re in the third grade, already talking about issues that hurt the environment, political issues and so forth. I think it’s great, so it was a natural for us to want to come by and see them.”
Clements/Parsons’ Principal Katherine Baney said that having the congressman visit was an incredible experience for the students.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and for a very, very busy man that lives in Washington, D.C. for him to take the time to come to our campus and speak to our third graders is such an impactful event, and they will forever remember this,” Baney said.
Williams’ office receives countless letters from constituents and concerned citizens, but Williams said that receiving the letters from the third graders shows just how much they care about different issues.
“Sometimes as grownups, we don’t think they hear or know what we know, but they do in their own way, and young people are concerned about a lot of stuff and have the right to be in this day and time, so we want to come by and see them and provide them a smile and tell them we love them and that they live in the greatest country in the world,” Williams said.
Williams added that the young students can make an impact, even in the third grade.
“Yes, we know that they can’t vote, but at the same time, I’ve had situations where I’ve had parents tell me that their young child motivated them to actually go vote by talking to them,” Williams said. “So, we want these young people to understand how America works, why it works so well, what the shortcomings are and how to fix it, and they are doing that. That’s important because this is the next generation. We can’t write them off, and I think it’s important we get behind them, move them forward, listen to their issues and fix their issues.”