Representatives from SFA and the Nacogdoches community traveled to Austin Wednesday and Thursday for the biennial Nacogdoches SFA Days. They had the opportunity to meet with elected officials one-on-one and experience all the Capitol has to offer.
A resolution, authored by State Representative Travis Clardy, was passed in the House (HR 94) “recognizing February 21, 2013 as Stephen F. Austin State University Day at the State Capitol.”
“It is extremely important that we work with our representatives and senators in regard to funding and special projects,” Dr. Baker Pattillo, SFA President, said. “(At Nacogdoches SFA Days) we show appreciation and thanks. The more successful (our representatives and senators) are, the more successful we are.”
The schedule of events integrated briefings with social events. Elected officials that spoke include Transportation Commissioner, Jeff Austin; Education Commissioner, Michael Williams; Fiscal Policy Advisor to the Lt. Governor, John Opperman; State Representative Travis Clardy and State Senator Robert Nichols. There were further events such as a reception hosted by Rep. Clardy and Senator Nichols, a group photograph, recognition in the House chambers and visits to the offices of the representatives’ and senators’.
“It is exciting to see how well regarded SFA is in Austin and the priority our legislators have put on us,” David Alders, newly appointed SFA regent, said.
During Rep. Clardy’s briefing, he recognized the Leadership Nacogdoches group, as he himself went through the program as a teenager. Leadership Nacogdoches is a program of the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce and brought 33 class members to the Capitol.
During Senator Nichols’ briefing an audience member asked how the senator thought the political wind was shifting on legalizing gambling, to which he replied, “I wouldn’t bet on it.”
“I could not be more proud of the attendance, participation and enthusiasm from all our friends from Nacogdoches and SFA,” Rep. Clardy said. “I can't wait for the next one.”
Multiple noteworthy SFA figures had a lot to share about their experiences at Nacogdoches SFA Days. Jourdan Dukes, SFA student regent, enjoyed the educational and informational value of the briefings and how the legislators spoke in a way that everyone could understand. SGA President, Dennis Hagans, found the opportunity to visit Austin and meet with legislators extremely valuable. He said it is important to show those at the state level that students care. Dr. Adam Peck, Dean of Student Affairs explained the importance of interacting with law-makers and discovering how the laws affect our university.
“A number of my colleagues were impressed by the attendance and commented on the quality of people and the quality of the event,” Rep. Clardy said.
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