Thornapple Kellogg School District

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Congressman Brings Real Experiences to Government Class

Amash told students it's important for him to stick to his morals and continue working to make the process better.

"We need to eliminate obsolete laws and we need to openly debate the big issues. My principles don't change. I'm for limited government, individual freedoms, and upholding the constitution," said Amash.

His talk intrigued some students.

"It was really great to get to actually hear from someone who is there. It's like real and not just out of a book," said senior Jacob Gipe who said he may have an interest in politics someday himself.

Classmate Kyle Bailey said he too liked hearing from someone who is actually working in Congress. "It was kind of eye-opening," he said. "I learned a lot about Congress and a lot about him and his party."

Amash is one of the younger U.S Congressmen currently in the House and said he sometimes gets overlooked and dismissed because of his age.  And even though he's taken some hits for his views and stands on bills, Amash said he won't change.

Amash told students he considers his own morals in every vote he makes. "It's not ok, in my opinion, to vote for a bill you didn't read and don't know what's in it.  I don't vote 'yes' on bills I don't understand," he said.

"We are more free today than ever before in some ways, but less free in other ways. It's (the government)  more crooked and corrupt than you can imagine, but it's not unsalvageable. It can get better."

"I'm process hungry, not power hungry," said Amash of his desire to make sure the Congress follows proper procedures and practices. "I care about the Constitution and the system. It's designed to produce compromise for the betterment of the entire country and not just special interests."

Students were given the chance to ask Amash questions about how he votes, what he thinks of different issues, and how the Congress actually works.

High school government teacher Jerry Robinson said he was glad some of the students got to hear from the Congressman. "Government needs a face and he is their face.  He is their link," he said.

Robinson said it's also important for students to realize the role they play as voters. "It starts here. These are the kids who are going to be ready to vote and who are going to be the future. They need to be informed voters."