This year for spring break, I visited Washington, D.C., with my dad, Joe Newland, and Kansas Farm Bureau. My dad serves on the KFB Board of Directors for the third district. The trip focused on meeting with our state legislators; however, we did take time to do a little sightseeing.
We started out our first day at the American Farm Bureau Foundation headquarters. We sat through a brief talk about major issues AFBF is discussing with our legislators. The issues I found most interesting were the waters of the U.S., which deals with government regulations of public waters; environmental issues, including pollinators and endangered species; and the farm bill, where we learned more about next year’s possible budget cuts.
Next, we set out for Mt. Vernon, where President George Washington grew up. We spent the rest of that afternoon walking around his historic homestead. There was a lot to be learned, however, my dad and I may have been more concerned with figuring out if the hidden tunnel mentioned in “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” actually exists. The verdict is still out on that one.
Later that night we, made our way downtown to where I experienced my first NBA game watching the Wizards triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The next day was all business. We woke up early and headed to one of the Senate buildings. I had the opportunity to sit in on the Agricultural Appropriations Committee, where Sen. Jerry Moran was serving as chair that day. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also attended. There were many issues addressed during the committee meeting, and as each member finished speaking they left to vote. This gave me some insight into our political system.
After the committee adjourned we made a quick stop at the Library of Congress. Then it was on to the House building to meet with Sen. Jerry Moran and Sen. Pat Roberts. They graciously met with us 30 minutes and answered many of our questions.
My dad and I decided to finish our Washington experience with a monument tour. We visited the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial – and my favorite, the Lincoln Memorial.
Through this experience I have learned so much about the building of our nation. The amount of history found within a few blocks is amazing. Every day this city presents our history to those willing to look and serves as a constant reminder of the work that went into creating this great nation.
Martin Luther King Jr. once siad, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
The United States continues to live true to this statement, and I consider myself lucky to have experienced even a little piece of that.