Congressman accepts girl's invitation to Dudley Shoals

Sep. 14, 2013 @ 08:07 AM

During a visit last year to Washington, D.C., Makayla Chavez of Dudley Shoals Elementary School invited U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows to come to Caldwell County and visit the school. He promised her he would come, and Friday he did.

But as they say, timing is everything. The day Meadows chose to squeeze the school into his schedule, Makayla, 6, was away on a prior family commitment. Meadows, R-11th, made it a point to stop in the girl's first-grade classroom and write her a note.

"I am so sorry I missed you," he wrote. " I wanted you to know that when you asked me to come to the school, I made my first trip back to your school. Thanks for being a great student."

Meadows and his wife, Debbie, posed with Makayla's two teachers, Ginny Clay and Nicki Steers, and classmates. He then stopped by several other classrooms before meeting a group of fourth- and fifth-graders in the gymnasium for a short question-and-answer session.

"How is Washington, D.C.?" asked one student.

"We seem to go back and forth about what's best and not best," Meadows replied.

"Is it hard being a congressman?" asked another.

"Sometimes it's hard figuring out the best thing to do," he answered.

"Do you get to see the president?" another student inquired.

"I met with the vice president two days ago because of a Middle East country called Syria."

Meadows gave a quick civics lesson on how a bill is passed before being whisked away to his next stop, Hendersonville.

Before he got out the door, he spoke briefly about his recent appointment by President Barack Obama as a representative to the general session of the United Nations starting next week. Meadows and U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., will represent Congress at the U.N. for a year. They do not get to vote.

"We're obviously honored to be appointed by the president," said Meadows, who is a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. "My task is to keep Congress informed of anything coming up that might require congressional action, and keep them apprised of the U.N. agenda. It spans my foreign relations role, and it's certainly a privilege to serve in that way."

As for his visit to Dudley Shoals Elementary, he said he was glad he took the time to stop in.

"When you get to spend time with the children, who are our future, it gives you real hope for America," he said.

Moments later, he and his aides were headed out the door and back into his SUV.