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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
A sea of green borne by some 700 youth flooded the seat of Arkansas government at
Tuesday’s 4-H Day at the Capitol event at which Gov. Asa Hutchinson and other state
officials praised the members for their leadership now and potential for the future.
The biennial event is part of 4-H Citizenship Initiative, giving Arkansas youth face
time with lawmakers and helping the 4-H’ers learn how state government works, said
Priscella Thomas Scott, Arkansas 4-H events coordinator for the University of Arkansas
System Division of Agriculture.
“The 4-H’ers have an opportunity to meet their legislators face-to-face,” Thomas Scott
said. “The kids get to know their legislators and the legislators get to learn about
Hutchinson and other state officials addressed the mass of 4-H’ers in the Capitol
“What a great group of young leaders,” Gov. Hutchinson said during the opening tribute
to 4-H. “We are going to have a bright future. To see all of you in the Capitol today
is very exciting to me and encourages all of us about the future of this state. Thank
you for what you do to support Arkansas agriculture and leadership.”
He told the group that “one of you might be governor someday."
Hutchinson noted that the one thing left out of his introduction was that he was a
4-H alumnus from Benton County — which brought a huge cheer and applause from the
crowd. He cited research about how 4-H membership was more likely to lead to better
life and health choices as well as 4-H members being more likely to contribute to
The governor talked about some of the work going on at the Capitol on Tuesday including,
“a new highway bill, and a transportation bill that will better fund our highways
and repair some of those farm to market roads,” he said.
“There’s more green in here than St. Patrick's Day!” Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin told the
“You are the voice of agriculture in our state,” Griffin said. “You know agriculture
and how important it is to our state.”
“Here's the deal,” Griffin continued, “not every elected official knows what you know.
It's really important that y'all come down here to get to know the elected officials.”
“Let everyone in his Capitol know what you stand for,” Griffin said.
Griffin led the crowd of more than 700 kids in a cheer that he wanted heard in both
chambers. He counted to three, and everyone yelled, “4-H!”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said, “The Capitol is green with envy today
with all the leaders in this room. I see a whole lot of leadership in this room and
it makes me happy.”
Like Gov. Hutchinson, other state officials noted that they or their children grew
up in 4-H clubs.
State Sen. Bruce Maloch of Magnolia said, “4-H is for everyone. It’s personal for
me. I was a 4-H member. My three children were 4-H members and now I have granddaughters
that are 4-H members. I have experienced that learn-by-doing process. It instilled
in me life-changing skills.”
“Whatever you do in the future,” Maloch said, “your 4-H experiences will serve you
Arkansas Land Commissioner Tommy Land said, “Both my kids grew up in 4-H. When you
grow up on a farm, you do everything from diesel mechanic to large animal vet. 4-H
reinforces the things we teach our kids. Things dealing with character. We have a
great need for men and women with great character.”
Land praised 4-H volunteers, “I recognize the time that you spend and the finances
that you spend. I want you to know we appredciate that.”
“This is a great day,” said Mark Cochran, vice president -agriculture for the University
of Arkansas System.“We're so proud of our 4-H kids and volunteers here at the Capitol
with us. It’s always amazing to encounter people from our elected officials and regular
citizens who have gone through our 4-H program and testify as to what a positive impact
it's had on their lives.”
Cochran noted that more than 700 4-H members from 74 of the state's 75 counties registered
for 4-H Day at the Capitol. Total participation, including 4-H leaders and volunteers,
numbered about 850.
“We're delighted and grateful that Gov. Asa Hutchinson took time out of his busy schedule
to make comments and share that he was a 4-H’er,” Cochran said.
Following the opening ceremony, the Arkansas youth made presentations and showed displays
in the rotunda about their 4-H projects, Later, they toured the Capitol, its grounds
and monuments. Thomas Scott said the tours helped orient the kids to the history and
functions of Arkansas government. In the afternoon, the 4-H’ers attended legislative
sessions in the Arkansas House and Senate.
Sara Gardner, Washington County 4-H’er and Arkansas 4-H president, said Arkansas 4-Hers
are blessed with the support of many state legislators who serve as advocates for
“We are very grateful in Arkansas to have men and women with the state Capitol who
are former 4-H’ers and understand the importance of this organization,” Gardner said.
“Today is a day to appreciate them and build relationships with them, because 4-H’ers
of today are truly the state leaders of tomorrow.”
“Arkansas 4-H Day at the Capitol is an opportunity for 4-Hers to become increasingly
civic-minded and appreciative of those who are a voice for us and enable us to have
incredible opportunities,” Gardner said.
Other 4-H’ers expressed pleasure at learning state leaders had 4-H experience.
White County 4-H’er Isabella Davis was surprised to learn that Gov. Hutchinson was
a former 4-H member. “I thought that was really cool that he really understands what
we’re about,” she said.
Dalton Roberts, Craighead County 4-H’er, referred to watching the state legislature
in action from the Senate and House chamber galleries. “Just to see our senators and
legislators up here at the Capitol, getting the job done and passing legislation for
agriculture all across the state,” he said.
Gardner summed up the 4-H Day at the Capitol experience, “Making the best better is
what we, as 4-Hers, strive to do each day, and we are thankful for those in our State
Capitol who share this aspiration.”
To learn about Arkansas 4-H, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent
or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu and @Arkansas4H.
By Miller County Agent County Extension Agent - AgricultureThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Miller County Agent County Extension Agent - AgricultureU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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