Smith, Ash visit with state officials as pages

Published 11:06 pm Monday, April 16, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Two students from the Atmore area visited Montgomery on March 27-29 to assist the Alabama State House of Representatives.
Escambia County Republican Rep. Alan Baker sponsored Tray Smith, a sophomore from Escambia County High School, and Alan Ash, a sophomore from Escambia Academy for the three days spent with the state officials.
Smith said the time spent in Montgomery was a pleasant experience and it allowed the two sophomores the chance to learn a lot about the legislature.
"We had a very good time," Smith said. "We learned a lot about how the legislature works and the way laws are made in Alabama."
According to Smith, the two students were in Montgomery to aid the legislatures in whatever way necessary.
"We assisted the legislatures in whatever they needed to be done," Smith said. "We made copies of bills and retrieved messages for them."
Smith said they got to meet significant individuals who deal with laws and policies of Alabama.
"We had the opportunity to meet very important people in the State House who shape public policy for Alabama," he said. "Those people include Rep. Harry Shiver from Monroeville and Rep. Marcel Black who is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. We spoke with Rep. Baker on several occasions and visited with other members of the government staff."
They also got to attend meetings, one of which had a guest speaker, Smith said.
"We attended a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee that featured a testimony from Alabama State Attorney General Troy King," he said.
Ash said that while they were in Montgomery, they did a lot of work that kept them busy.
"We sat in a room and listened to them (the legislatures) debate and talk about bills," Ash said. "Every five or 10 minutes we would go in the hallways, we'd go to about four rooms and see if the representatives had any messages. Sometimes we'd run errands. It was an interesting experience."
According to Ash, the duo attempted to see Gov. Bob Riley but he was out of state.
"We tried to visit the governor but he was gone to Washington," Ash said.
Ash said the two listened to legislatures suggest new bills during some of the meetings.
"We sat in and listened to the judicial committee propose more bills," he said. "That's when Troy King talked. There were bills about protecting kids."
According to Smith, the bills discussed included many important issues.
"We got to watch as legislators debated several important bills," Smith said. "Those included one for the regulation of banks, the promotion of ethanol and a bill that would make it easier for victims of sexual predators to testify via closed circuit television."
Smith plans to attend either Samford University or American University in Washington and will major in economics and Ash is unsure of his plans after high school.

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