Okay, so I love politics. SHOCKER. I just get excited when the topics of elections, bills, vetoes, Parliamentary procedure, political parties, etc. come up. I don’t know what fostered this interest, but I’m glad I have it.
This past weekend, I got the opportunity to represent Union at the 44th General Assembly of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL). I had heard my friends go on and on about it, but I figured I was no where near prepared to attend such an event (honestly, it was the Parli-pro that scared me). Well, finally, I decided that I would go. With only two years left at Union, I felt I should make the most of them. Besides, I was getting more involved in SGA and government anyway. So, I applied and got accepted along with 14 other Unionites. After several meetings, writing my bill, and a workshop at JSCC, the time finally came to head to Nashville.
In a nutshell, TISL is mock legislature. All of the offices that comprise the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government are present. We have a governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, lieutenant governor, Speaker of the House, representatives, senators, committees, and a plethora of other capacities. We all write bills, present them in our respective legislative chambers, debate them, and vote on them. Although it’s mock legislature, you would be startled at how seriously we take it. I was in the House of Representatives, probably the most vocal and active part of TISL. I also served as vice-chairman of the Education 1 committee. The bill I wrote was to add arts education requirements for primary and secondary schools in the state. It unanimously passed in committee and passed both house chambers. I was thrilled!
On Friday (Day 2), during the lunch hour, I decided (with some persuasion) to run the office of Speaker Pro Tempore of the House (the Speaker’s right-hand man). The delegation was thrilled to hear of it. However, not even 2 hours later, I was literally backed into a corner by a Union delegate and a UTM delegate who convinced me to run for Speaker of the House. So I did.
OH. MY. GOSH.
It a matter of 24 hours, I picked someone to nominate me, wrote my speech, found someone to give my nomination speech, campaigned for myself and collected pledged votes, presided over the House, found someone else to give my nomination speech (long story), gave my speech, and got myself elected. If that’s any indication of what my future political life holds, I’m in for quite a ride. Nonetheless, I am excited to now serve the 45th General Assembly as the Speaker of the House!
The rest of the trip was great. I loved networking with other Tennessee collegiates and making new friends. I especially loved getting to know those in my delegation a lot better. We got to really know each other on Saturday night when we went to the WildHorse Saloon to line-dance. We had a ball! I can’t wait to see what this next year holds!