U. S. Rep. Louie Gohmert spoke to more than 100 student government leaders from community colleges throughout East Texas who were assembled at TJC's main campus on Friday.
TJC's Student Senate hosted the meeting for Region III of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association. TJC Student Senate President Patrick Smallwood of Tyler invited the congressman to the event after serving as an intern in Rep. Gohmert’s Washington D.C. office this summer.
"The feeling you have for your school when you leave will all depend on how much you gave of yourself while you're there," said Rep. Gohmert. "The things that you do as you try to govern in student government will have application in the town or city where you end up, the state where you are and the country." The congressman went on to describe his journey to the U.S. House of Representatives, from his upbringing in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, to his role as a federal judge.
Rep. Gohmert said public service was not something he aspired to do, but being a Christian had a lot to do with his feelings. "I need to make everywhere I go better than it was when I got there." Gohmert also recalled making the decision to move to Tyler with his wife, Kathy, and said they both applied for jobs in Tyler and Longview and had multiple offers. "One of the things I try to do in Congress -- I want to see the economy get back to where you guys will know what it is to have different employers wanting you at the same time, and bidding on you," he told the students.
"It was an honor to have my former boss on campus to discuss the importance of getting involved in politics with young and aspiring college students," said Patrick Smallwood. “I am beyond grateful that he took the time to do so."
Region III of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association is composed of 13 community colleges in deep East Texas. The student government associations from each of these colleges meet periodically throughout the year to offer community support, enhance student involvement, and educate the next generation of leaders. In addition to the address from Rep. Gohmert, the event at Tyler Junior College included workshops, committee meetings, presentations and a closing dinner.