Amanda Lance Represents UAHT and SW Arkansas in Lead AR Trip to D.C.

Lead AR participants meet with U.S. Senator John Boozman

Last week, Amanda Lance, Director of Hempstead Hall, traveled to Washington D.C. as a participant in Lead AR, an intensive, two-year leadership program established by the U of A Division of Agriculture Research & Extension. The goal of Lead AR is to strengthen Arkansas communities by cultivating a network of skilled individuals who, through the program, are gaining a deeper understanding of public issues and developing the skills needed to address critical problems facing those communities.

Lance and 17 other program participants traveled to D.C. as part of a National Study Tour and were given the opportunity to meet with six Congressional delegates: Senator John Boozman, Senator Tom Cotton, Congressman Bruce Westerman, Congressman French Hill, Congressman Steve Womack, and Congressman Rick Crawford. Lead AR participants were allowed a genuine dialogue with each delegate to discuss current issues facing Arkansas communities. The primary topic broached by the class was rural access to broadband internet. The class wanted delegates to know that the concerns were not just about access to broadband, but procuring quality, high speed internet in all parts of a county.

Lead AR participants were allowed to discuss individual concerns with the delegates, as well. An issue raised by Lance was the continuation of the expansion of Pell Grant for high school students, an experimental program that ended this last year. “What that would do for families in our area is two-fold,” Lance said. “First, Pell would allow more high school students the wonderful opportunity to attend the Collegiate Academy here at UAHT. Second, we have technical training programs on campus for which high school students are eligible. Some need these college opportunities while they are in high school, so having the Pell grant would provide a significant impact on these families.”

While on the tour, the Lead AR class also met with William McIntee, Associate Director of Public Engagement for Rural and Agriculture Policy at the White House, along with two other leadership groups from Colorado and New Mexico. Other stops during the week included a behind the scenes tour at FEMA Headquarters, a trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation, and a stop at Arlington National Cemetery to participate in the wreath ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Lance says other highlights of the week were the nighttime Monuments Tour, visiting the Spy Museum, and observing everyday life in D.C. Lance shared with SWARK.Today her heartfelt appreciation for this memorable opportunity. “I feel extremely grateful to have been given the chance to take this trip and represent UAHT and Southwest Arkansas.” Lance said. “It was truly a once-in-lifetime opportunity to get that much face time with delegates, visit with a member of the White House, and spend a day at American Farm Bureau Federation, just to name a few. These were special moments that not everyone gets to have, and I am thankful for this incredible experience.”

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