Rep. Palmer encourages students to dream big

Published 2:35 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Sixth District U.S. Representative Gary Palmer encouraged students during a visit to Chaney White’s fourth-grade class at Clanton Intermediate School on May 15.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from if you study and work hard and dream big, you can be anything,” Palmer said.

Palmer grew up in a small town in Alabama.

“Clanton would have looked like a huge city compared to the town that I grew up in. We didn’t have any libraries,” Palmer said.

The books Palmer read as a child were from school or a bookmobile that came to town every other week.

A book about a historic town he read in fourth or fifth grade gave him a love for reading. He said it had beautiful pictures “and I felt like I was there.”

Palmer said he spent many summers in the forest with his dad who was a logger.

“No one in my family had ever gone to college … I was the first one in my family to go to college,” Palmer said.

He told the students they also have the opportunity to be the first in their family or community to do things.

“You have a great future ahead of you. So, I want to encourage you to read everything you can,” Palmer said.

He also encouraged the students to read history “because history is where you learn how government works” and to take as many math classes as possible.

“It doesn’t matter what you have right now, what matters is what you do with what you have,” Palmer said.

He also emphasized the importance of having good character.

Palmer explained his job as a U.S. Representative.

“I am part of the law-making branch of government called Congress,” Palmer said.

Palmer described the Financial Choice 2.0 bill that he is currently reading as being close to 600 pages.

“I do a lot of reading,” Palmer said.

Since he is on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Palmer highlighted the future mission to Mars and mining asteroids near Jupiter’s moons.

“We are going to be sending missions to the asteroids to determine if they have minerals, rare minerals that we can mine. I think by the time you guys are my age, it will be routine that people will be taking missions to asteroids and mining them to bring the stuff back to earth,” Palmer said.

Palmer had connected with White about visiting her classroom because she lives next door to him.

“I was on the football team for Alabama and her grandfather was one of my coaches,” Palmer said.

White had students write questions for the Congressman down on notecards. One students asked what it was like to work with President Donald Trump. Another asked about Palmer’s daily routine.

Palmer said the President is “a good listener, very smart and very-well read. He understands complex issues and he can simplify them.”

“He’s also very personal,” Palmer said.

Palmer said he worked with Trump on the healthcare bill.

Another student asked if Palmer liked his job. Palmer answered that he felt he was where he should be.