UACES Facebook LeadAR Class 20 Goes to Washington D.C.
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LeadAR Class 20 Goes to Washington D.C.

by Lisa Davis - September 28, 2023

Photo collage of LeadAR Class 20 in Washington DCWith the objective of learning more about the current issues facing our nation, LeadAR Class 20 kicked off its National Studies Tour on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. The class hit the ground running in Washington D.C.

Day One

  • American Farm Bureau Federation provided some advocacy training, updates on the Farm Bill, and rural issues policy.
  • Next the class visited the British Embassy and learned more about U.K. policy and economic impact.
  • The class wrapped up day one with a Peer-to-Peer Exchange with our Colorado counterparts in the Colorado Ag Leadership Program.

Day Two

  • The class kicked off the day with a tour of the White House, thanks to Rep. Steve Womack and his office.
  • Next up was a great tour of the U.S. Capitol with Sen. John Boozman.
  • To wrap up the day of tours, Class 20 participated in a national monument night tour.

Day Three

  • The class got to meet and visit with Boozman and talk about the Farm Bill.
  • Next, the class met with Sen. Tom Cotton to discuss workforce development.
  • The class kicked off the afternoon visiting with Rep. Rick Crawford.
  • Then, the class met with Womack.
  • As the day came to an end, the class met with Rep. French Hill, whom they had actually ran into in the Capitol the day before.
  • Finally, the class met with Rep. Bruce Westerman. To round out the day, Westerman hosted the class for a Capitol night tour which was awesome.

Evaluation comments from LeadAR Class 20 participants when asked what was their favorite activity.

“My favorite activity was visiting with the Arkansas delegation. This provided me with valuable insight on communicating with my federal delegates. This information can be valuable in the future, as my state agency works closely with many federal agencies. Other than that, my favorite part of the week was seeing the house floor.”

“Time with the legislators was the most valuable, including the night tour with Congressman Westerman. These conversations gave us the most practical view of the reality of politics. These conversations gave us the most insight into how we can have the best impact. The night tour was the best history lesson we had all week, with the facts Congressman Westerman included. This tour also gave us more opportunities to have real conversations with him. Networking is one of the most valuable parts of this program, and these visits were a big part of that.”

“The night tour of the Capitol was my favorite. Loved being able to go out onto the House floor, hear all of the stories and behind the scenes that Congressman Westerman shared with the group.

"I enjoyed the congressional delegation visits. It gave us an opportunity to network with our US Senators and Representatives and their staff. Being involved with their offices will allow us to help them, help our home districts when needs arise.”

Day Four

  • The class traveled to the Annual Legislative Conference to participate in two town hall meetings.

“My favorite activity was the Annual Legislative Conference because it was the most thought provoking for the group. I felt like it was the one activity that generated the most conversation and growth amongst our group. I understand that some may have viewed the event differently due to the lack of preparedness for what to expect during the Town Hall but most of us left with a better understanding of how some of our other colleagues may feel with the lack of diversity seen in many of our session topics and speakers. It forced us all out of our comfort zones in a positive way that will make us all better leaders.”

  • The class spent the afternoon at Arlington Cemetery and had the opportunity to honor our military service members by participating in the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
  • The class ended the day at the D.C. History Museum and enjoyed supper at Founding Farmers and Distillers.

Day Five

  • The class traveled to the Council of the District of Columbia to visit with the city’s Director of Communications and Public Information Officer, Josh Gibson. The class learned about the city, D.C.’s governing structure, and their bid for statehood.
  • The cherry on top of the day was getting to meet Acting D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief, and Pine Bluff, Ark. native, Pamela A. Smith. Chief Smith was so welcoming and provided some great advice for leaders.

“I liked meeting with the police chief. I found her story inspiring and would be a good speaker at upcoming events.”

  • The class spent the rest of the day exploring the city and the many museums and monuments.

Day Six

  • The class headed home!

LeadAR is a program designed to help Arkansans broaden their understanding of issues and opportunities facing our state and strengthen their ability to make a difference. For more information about LeadAR, visit the website or contact Robinson,, or Lisa Davis,