Leaders head to statehouse

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Fourteen-year-old Cody Miller may one day fulfill his dream to be a Senator — or better yet — U.S. president.

If he does, the Chesapeake Middle School eighth-grader may be able to look back and say the launching pad came on a spring

day in 2006 when he got a front-row look at government on a trip with “papaw” to the Statehouse in Columbus. The trip was part of the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Day.

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“I am real interested in politics and business,” Miller said while taking in the sights and sounds in the white-columned, marble-floored Statehouse atrium. “I like having a say in things.”

The aforementioned “papaw,” businessman Dan Lester, agreed that it was a great idea to bring his grandson along on the 14th annual trip that allows Lawrence County community representatives to meet with state leaders.

“First of all, it is important to me because you need to know how to interact with the legislators, who they are, what they are thinking and how they feel on issues,” Lester said. “I think it is important for Cody to be here because the sooner you find out how the system works, the more productive you can be in life and the more you can contribute to society.”

For the more than 75 business representatives, economic development officials and community spokespersons, the event is a chance to focus on issues

important to the region — workforce development, legislative concerns and transportation issues.

State Reps. Clyde Evans and Todd Book and State senators Tom Niehaus and John Carey Jr. were on hand to listen and take the ideas to heart.

“You do this first class,” said Evans (R-87th). “I think this is a great thing for Lawrence County, and you let people know your ideas and how you feel. You do it very well.”

The chamber has been doing it “very well” for a decade and a half, one of only a handful in the state that put together such an organized venture. All involved continue to tout the value of the annual journey.

“Our chamber decided it wanted direct impact, direct communication with the legislators and the people in the Statehouse,” said chamber director Jack Borders. “One thing it has done is it has created a very good relationship between the legislators and the people in Lawrence County. I am not sure there is another chamber in the state that has that same level of recognition.”