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TJC President Mejia, Student Senate Leaders Visit Texas Capitol

TJC President Mejia, Student Senate leaders visit Texas Capitol

Tyler Junior College President Dr. Juan E. Mejia and TJC Student Senate officers recently visited Austin, where they toured the Texas Capitol and met with East Texas legislators.

The 87th Texas legislative session gaveled in at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, and is scheduled to conclude on May 31, 2021. With health and safety being a priority, the processes and logistics at the capitol are significantly different from past sessions, including the requirement for COVID-19 testing to enter specific and designated areas.

While long-standing, traditional visits to the capitol by the majority of communities were canceled this year, East Texas came together and proceeded with their important East Texas Coalition days in Austin.

On numerous occasions, Mejia has celebrated the many community leaders who make this important event possible, and the proactive approach by East Texas legislators to make themselves available to the many stakeholders who desired to personally connect with them.

In a similar fashion, Community College Day at the Texas Capitol was canceled but not for TJC, whose Student Senate leadership spent two days in Austin, meeting with East Texas legislators, who despite their long days of meetings and hearings, made time to connect with each student from TJC. It is important to note that based on all of the feedback, it appears that TJC’s Student Senate is the only organization throughout the state that has made this traditional visit during this 87th Texas legislative session.

TJC Student Senate officers making the trip were: Kaden Phinney, executive president, Winnsboro; Juan Lesser, executive vice president, Tyler; Juan Mejia, executive secretary, McAllen; Alex Mejia, parliamentarian, McAllen; Kaitlynn Crowston, public relations officer, Pearland; Jeremy Singleton, sergeant at arms, Jacksonville; Riley Edmonson, freshman president, White Oak; and Samantha McGrew, freshman secretary, White Oak.

In addition to spending time inside the legislative chambers, the student leaders were treated to personal meetings with legislators from the East Texas region, including State Sen. Bryan Hughes, Senate District 1; State Rep. Matt Schaefer, House District 6; State Rep. Travis Clardy, House District 11; and State Rep. Cole Hefner, House District 5.

President Mejia and Student Senate meet with State Representative Travis Clardy

President Mejia and the Student Senate meet with State Representative Travis Clardy

“The visit to the State Capitol was like no other,” Phinney said. “It was motivational getting to meet our elected officials and have them listen to our ideas.”

Mejia said, “We are inspired by the commitment, dedication, and expertise of our legislators, and we extend our wholehearted appreciation to each one of them for the time they dedicated to our students. They all serve on important committees, had non-stop meetings, and were actively laying out bills; but they added one more meeting to encourage our students to be involved in the legislative process and in the betterment of our communities.”

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