ASU Students Visit State Capitol During 85th Regular Legislative Session
SAN ANGELO, TX- Angelo State political science students got a chance to meet with their state representatives this week, on April 3rd and 4th, at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.
Dr. Brian J. May, President of ASU, spoke about the significance of having students meet with their representatives and discussed important legislation facing higher education.
“I think it’s really good for the Concho Valley delegation, including Rep. Drew Darby and Senator Charles Perry,” President May said. “Getting to come down here and represent Angelo State University also gives great experience to political science students.”
This trip presented students with a rare opportunity to sit in on the Texas House and Senate during the current legislative session. Both Rep. Darby and Senator Perry acknowledged ASU in their respective legislatures.
Students not only got to meet and take photos with their representatives, but they also met Texas Governor Gregg Abbott as well. Gov. Abbott encouraged students to take control of their futures by taking advantage of enhanced communication offered through social media, something that started with their generation.
“This is a good opportunity to line up future jobs by working on campaigns, or for a state agency,” May added. “I’m proud of the [Political Science] Department for organizing this trip.”
Jonathan Pounder, a freshman studying political science at ASU, was excited to take on this opportunity to meet key figures in Texas politics.
“I’ve gone to the Capitol before, but never got to meet any of the representatives,” Pounder said. “It was really nice getting to meet Gov. Abbott.”
May was also excited to guide students through this process by representing ASU, and also advocating for higher education with the officials who make it happen on the floor of the legislature.
“We are pushing for the same thing everyone else is: higher education funding,” May said. “We also have special items that are crucial to our operations. We want to make sure we get what everyone else gets.”
In addition to the Governor, students also met with Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, who May regards as the white knight for higher education at Texas universities.
“Especially in this session, The House is much friendlier towards higher education, so we need to make sure we appreciate their effort,” May said.
ASU students also met with four ASU alumni who make up the staffers and lobbyists for the 85th Legislative Session of the Texas Government. During the panel, students got to ask questions about a future career in politics, and the members explained their positions to give insight into the legislative process.
Along with this panel of alumni, students met with Texas Supreme Court Judge Jeff Boyd. He gave students an in-depth look into the legislative action taken by the Texas Supreme Court. Texas, along with Oklahoma, are the only two states that have the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court representing the high courts in their state. The Texas Supreme Court can review more than 1,000 civil and juvenile delinquency appeals annually, and roughly 60 of those are taken to trial by the court. Some reasons for these appeals include questioning a lower court’s decision, or the statute used by the lower courts in making a judgment.
Overall, students enjoyed visiting the Texas State Capitol in Austin and getting to see all these aspects of the Legislature. Pounder also enjoyed learning about how the state government works, and felt more confident about applying what he’s learned in class with this experience.
“I think this will help me get ahead a little bit,” Pounder said. “It gives me a better idea of what I can possibly do in the future.”
Pounder stated he is interested in pursuing pre-law after his undergraduate degree; however, he wouldn’t rule out getting to be an elected representative for Texas.