U.S. Rep. John Carter spoke about leadership, political involvement and life in a visit with Belton students Wednesday.
The Round Rock Republican came to Belton High School to honor several students for their high ACT and PSAT test scores as well as answer questions from a group of student leaders. Those present included students from both Belton High and Belton New Tech High School @Waskow.
Nicholas Mueller, a junior at New Tech, said he hoped Carter’s talk would offer guidance on formulating a political philosophy.
“I wanted to learn more about how to come up with my own political views and not be more persuaded to my parents’ political view,” he said.
Mueller said he has no plans of working in politics.
Bella Rose Mortel, also a junior at New Tech, said she wanted to learn more about making a difference in politics.
“I kind of wanted to learn more about how the youth can impact the political climate right now,” she said.
The congressman began his remarks by speaking about “the importance of being involved.” In his youth, he said, he had a very vivid imagination.
“When I was your age, I was a dreamer,” Carter said. “I didn’t want life to be boring. … I didn’t necessarily want to be somebody, I just wanted to not be bored.”
Carter encouraged the students to get out in the world and learn more about it.
“Don’t sit at home and play with your computers — although computers can be exciting,” he said. “Get out, be with human beings and have adventures. This is an adventure for me right here.”
Carter repeatedly encouraged the students to meet a variety of different people as they go out into the world.
“You can make life fun and exciting if you just use your imagination,” he said. “Why get involved? Because interaction with other human beings is really why we’re here.”
Getting to know and understand people is key to working in politics and leadership, Carter said.
“You may be a born leader, but the chances are leadership is more developed than born,” he said. “If you’re leading, you’ve got to understand the people you’re leading.”
Carter told the students that they would all have opportunities to be involved in government even if they do not pursue careers in that field.
“The two most important things you will ever do, if the opportunity arises, … is vote and serve on a jury,” he said. “I was a judge for 20 years, and we had stuff going on in the courtroom a lot better than you ever saw on TV. … Don’t make an excuse — do it.”
Carter asked the students to be “intelligent voters.”
“Most people are emotional voters,” he said. “Our statistics show us that the people who vote for policy are somewhere around 9 to 10 percent. Everybody else votes for the person they think they like the most.”
After the discussion, Belton High student Madeline Finley said she enjoyed hearing Carter’s life lessons.
“It was all very good information about how to look at life and be successful,” she said.