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Hundreds of 4-H members fill state Capitol halls

Fast Facts:

    • Some 400 4-H members, parents volunteers, staff visit Capitol
    • Group was addressed by 4-H alumnus, Gov. Hutchinson
    • Hutchinson thanks group for being engaged

(450 words) 
LITTLE ROCK – Hundreds of Arkansas 4-H members from across the state filled the halls of the state Capitol on Wednesday, learning about leadership from members of the Legislature, the state auditor and Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Hutchinson proclaimed Wednesday to be Arkansas 4-H Day and recognition of the work done by the 4-H Youth Development program was made in the House and Senate as 4-H members filled the galleries. Some 400 4-H members, volunteers, parents and staff took part in the day’s events. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson addresses some 400 4-H members, volunteers and U of A System Div of Ag faculty and staff. (U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture photo by Mary Hightower)

In an address in the rotunda, Hutchinson, himself a 4-H alumnus from Benton County, told the group that “I’ve been there in your shoes. I grew up on a farm. I might not remember the 4-H pledge very well, but I do remember my 4-H project.”

The governor applauded 4-Hers for their commitment to the organization.

“4-Hers are so vital to the civic responsibilities of our state,” Hutchinson said. “4-Hers are twice as likely to be civically involved. 4-Hers are twice as likely to be engaged in STEM education. 4-Hers are twice as likely to do better in life in terms of education and contributions to our society.”

“Thank you for what you’re going to do for the future of Arkansas,” he said.

“We are grateful to the governor, our auditor and our legislators for taking time to visit with our 4-H members and to the secretary of state for allowing us to hold our 4-H Day at the Capitol event,” said Anne Sortor, who heads up the 4-H program in Arkansas. 4-H is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.

The 4-H group opened its day with an orientation hosted by the Arkansas Association of Counties. There, Auditor Andrea Lea addressed the youth, asking them to vote on a series of issues that faced lawmakers in the current legislative session. After they voted, she walked them through the background of the bills in question and the result of the votes in the Legislature.

Lea acknowledged the leadership potential of the youth surrounding her, telling them:

“I'm confident we have some future legislators or constitutional officers in this room.”

The group was also addressed by state Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View, whose children were involved in 4-H and state Rep. Marcus Richmond of Harvey. Irvin urged members to take their leadership roles seriously. Sen. Bruce Maloch of Magnolia gave state 4-H leaders a tour of the Senate chamber.

State Rep. Nate Bell of Mena sponsored HR1023 “To recognize the positive impact of the Arkansas 4-H program on our youth and to celebration 4-H Day.”  Irvin introduced and recognized 4-Hers from the floor of Senate.

The 4-Her’s took a tour of the Capitol before ending their day with a rain-splashed group portrait on the Capitol steps.

For more information about 4-H contact your county extension office or visit www.uaex.edu.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126
mhightower@uaex.edu

 

 

 

 

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