Guthrie educates Cravens fifth-graders about government

Fifth-grade students from Cravens Elementary School received a civics lesson from a member of the United States Congress on Friday afternoon.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, the representative from the Second Congressional District of Kentucky, took to the floor to provide a short presentation on the three branches of the United States government to the students.

“I know that the kids are learning about government around this age, so I enjoy being here to reinforce what they are learning as someone real that lives and plays a role in the government,” Guthrie said.

Guthrie said he probably visits eight to 10 different schools in his congressional district a year to show his constituents that he’s approachable, and that his role in government is because of the voters, and that he can be available for the citizens of his district.

“So many people don’t realize that we are regular people with regular lives,” Guthrie explained. “But we hold our positions because the people have allowed (us) to serve in an extraordinary place and extraordinary position. I appreciate it, so I like to bring it back where it matters.”

Guthrie spent about 45 minutes explaining to the students how the government in the United States was formed to escape the rule of a British monarch.

“Our Founding Fathers knew that they didn’t want another king, so they really thought about how they could provide a government that could represent the people, equally, to the best of their ability,” Guthrie said. “So, that’s why they established three branches of government with checks and balances, so no part of the government has more power than the other.”

Guthrie provided explanations about how each branch of the government — the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch — works to govern the American people.

Toward the end of the presentation, Guthrie took questions from the audience of students. Most of the questions revolved around the more glamorous aspects of his job such as if he’d ever met the president or the president’s dog or ridden in a limo or how much he gets paid as a member of Congress.

Guthrie answered each question honestly and candidly and took each student seriously as he responded to the young audience.

“I know the kids are mostly interested in questions like that,” he laughed. “It’s not every day that they get to meet someone in my position.”

The representative even procured a Sharpie from the staff at Cravens so that he, along with state Rep. Suzanne Miles, who represents the Seventh District in the Kentucky House of Representatives, could sign a student’s arm cast.

The student beamed with excitement at the signatures as he showed them off to his peers.

Guthrie said that he wants to help empower the students and encourage them to stay proactive with their education.

“I was drawn to service in my teens and I recognized the value of education, even back then, as I went to West Point and served in the Army,” Guthrie said.

Guthrie later earned his master’s degree in public and private management from Yale.

He began his stint in politics in 1998 by being elected to serve in the Kentucky Senate as a representative of the 32nd District and was elected as a representative to the United States House of Representatives in 2008.

“The Army slogan when I was in the service was ‘Be all you can be’ and I live by that when I think of the kids. I want them to know that they can achieve their potential,” Guthrie said.