Senatorial Candidate Bradley Byrne Visits Bob Jones

Mrs. Lambert, Mr. Parker, and the students take a group picture with Congressman Byrne.

Kafui Sakyi-Addo, Writer

Republican representative and Congressman Bradley Byrne, who is currently running for senate in 2020, visited various schools in the Madison area on Monday. During the trip, Byrne, visited Bob Jones to speak to a panel of students about their experiences. AJ Revera, Johnathan Hampton, Kafui Sakyi-Addo, Sarah Arafat, and Michael Guthrie were all members of the panel.

Both Arafat and Revera were somewhat expecting the kinds of questions that were asked. Revera stated, “[it] went fairly close to how I was expecting. [We] spent a lot of time talking about all our favorite things at Bob Jones. The only difference, I would say, is that I expected him to ask the questions, but that’s minor.” Arafat expected more political questions, but was pleasantly surprised by the questions about her interests at Bob Jones because “it’s not every day they ask what you like, it’s always what you don’t like.”

Guthrie and Hampton felt a little more surprised by the mood of the meeting. “At first I didn’t really know what to expect, […] but I sure thought it was going to be somewhat formal,” said Hampton. Guthrie agreed, saying, “I thought it was going to be a really serious event with a bunch of unfamiliar people that I didn’t know, but in reality, I knew half of the people that showed up.” Both realized that it was a fairly relaxing environment. Hampton replied, “My initial expectations were somewhat the opposite of what really took place.”

About Congressman Byrne, Guthrie commented that “interacting with [him] was really interesting because even though he was an influential member of the US government, [he] felt like [he] could relate to him and like he understood the members on the panel as well.” Revera felt the same way, and was really excited to speak to the senatorial candidate. Revera stated that he appreciated that the Congressman “took the time to get to know the five of us.” Currently taking AP Government, Revera also said that “[he has] spoken with a few politicians in the past, but this is the first time where [he] actually understood most of the issues and statements he said we as Americans are facing.”

Everyone on the panel valued the experience, and after the initial questions, Congressman Byrne turned the tables, asking the panel if they had any questions for him. Guthrie asked him about his senatorial campaign platform, and he shared some of his ideas and plans with the group. He spoke about the importance of acceptance in America, learning to listen to one another, and respecting one another’s views. Hampton felt that “the panel was a good experience, and [that he] got a chance to learn about Congressman Byrnes as a person and as a political figure.”

As for the event on the whole, Revera was pleased, saying that “politics and government fascinates [him] so [he was] extremely glad to have been given that opportunity.”