Mr. Whitaker Goes to Austin

We’ve had February 6 circled on the calendar for quite some time.

It’s the bi-annual “4-H Day at the Capitol” where 4-H members from around the state gather in Austin to be recognized by the House and Senate and then meet with congressmen and senators to share the good news of 4-H.

I knew Will would have a spectacular day. Back in the good ‘ol days, I interned for Texas Cattle Feeder’s Association and was able to visit the Capitol as part of that experience. And, as a 12-year-old, I served as a Page myself for Representative Dick Waterfield (deceased). It’s a memory I still carry with me today. Hey, don’t be jealous of the ‘do. I was rocking the 1987.

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After unexpectedly running into our Representative over the weekend, we gave his office a call to see if he had any spots left for Pages. There was one left. I should probably note now that there were many “providential moments” that led to the awesomeness of February 6. That’s one.

They asked what day we preferred. I knew we’d be at the Capitol two days later so in the spirit of lost causes I suggested February 6. Aaaaand wouldn’t you know it. There was one spot left for the morning gig. We took it. I was slightly bummed, yet excited, because being a Page meant that Will would miss out on being recognized in the Gallery by his Representative. Several House members have been known to give a shout out to their 4-H constituents and have them stand in the gallery. But, I was hoping that his time on the floor would make up for any missed opportunities.

With a promise of using “sir” and “ma’am” all morning, Luke and I dropped off Mr. Politics bright and early to the Sergeant-at-Arms and explored the Capitol.

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I’m seriously in love with this photo of Luke and his beloved car.

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Just before we walked into the Gallery to secure our seats, we ran into a very nice man with a “#2” shirt over his shirt and tie. I commented, “Sure do like that shirt” and Luke busted out with “Johnny Football!” A brief conversation ensued and we ended up telling him Will was serving as a Page for the morning. He asked his name and replied, “We’ll take good care of him.”

Turns out he was the Parliamentarian.

Well played, Master Luke.

Just before the session began, I saw Will trot up to the gavel and “bang-bang-bang” session called to order by none other than Mr. Whitaker. AHHH! So happy I had my camera ready to capture this:

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I think we’re up to proud moment #96 now, aren’t we?

Most of the morning’s session was dedicated to Johnny “Football” Manziel. I mean, rightfully so. That boy brought the state of Texas a Heisman, baby. You should’ve seen the line of congressman waiting to get his autograph. The House read the resolution and formally recognized him. It was pretty much awesome. Lots of whooping going on in the gallery.

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While he was being congratulated, the House and several members then properly recognized the more than 200 4-Hers seated in the gallery. So fantastic. It was a proud day for Texas 4-H. I spied Will getting his picture taken with Representative Dale and snapped a few myself. Yet another proud parenting moment (he’s to the far left). I must say how well Rep. Dale’s office took care of Will and the other Page. They were gracious, kind and so helpful. Will was his first Page and that made it even sweeter. Rep. Dale, THANK YOU, for such a spectacular morning. You did it up right.

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Then I spotted it. Master Will heading up the stairs to meet Mr. Manziel himself. You know, there are some moments in life as a parent when you can feel your heart full of pride. This was that moment.

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After Johnny brought the House down, literally, he headed to the Senate for recognition. Will continued his time as a Page and a few delegates from Travis County and I enjoyed lunch at the Capitol Grill. I was so excited to pick him up at noon and hear all about  his morning. I’m wondering if the permanent smile he has will ever leave.

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Before the afternoon legislator meetings began, we decided to stop in and see if an old friend was around. Indeed, he was.

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Everybody at the Capitol calls him Representative Ashby, but we just know him as Trent. He and Scott served as senior yell leaders together at A&M and we’ve known him since our 4-H and FFA days in high school. Looks like Will might be gunning for his job. Trent, thanks for taking such good care of Will on the floor.

We skipped to a couple of legislator meetings and then snapped some awesome pictures on our way out the door. I really didn’t want the day to end, but we had school pickup and a basketball game on the afternoon agenda. Back to reality.

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As we piled in the van, Will sweetly said, “This has been the best day of my life.” Agreed one-million percent.


  1. Valerie on February 7, 2013 at 7:59 am

    What a great post! It is refreshing to see young hearts take an active interest in politics. We are a 4-H family too! This is our very first year it it, so it’s a bit overwhelming, but my 2 kiddos are loving it! Mary’s in 2nd grade and Ben is as kindergarten “clover bud”! Good times.

  2. Michelle F. on February 7, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Our family sincerely admires the independent, “keep it local, not federal” Texas political spirit. Congratulations on your son being a part of it for the day! What a nice young man you seem to be raising!

  3. Verdina on February 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

    What a very special day! Congratulations to Will. It’s obvious he did a great job (and he looks mahvellous!).

    Will you be posting “what I wore to the state capitol building?” (You look mahvellous, too!)

    God bless!

  4. An Open Letter to Johnny Football on February 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm

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  5. Dianne on February 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Love this! Please tell Will congratulations from Drew and all the Fields! What a HUGE day for him (and of course, for you, poppin’ your buttons, there, mom!). Will looks right at home in that big leather chair with the phone. One can only hope and pray that kids like him grow up to run our country. : )


  6. Blair on February 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    This is so, so cool! Hope to make the 4H Day there in the coming years!

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  8. Stephanie on February 8, 2013 at 8:43 am

    This is such a neat story, Kathryn! And can I just say that you looked exactly like Molly Ringwald in the 80s?!

    • christine on February 8, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      That’s exactly who she looks like!

  9. christine on February 8, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    He will remember that day for the rest of his life. What a good mom you are for helping to make it happen. Sounds like there are a whole lot of really nice people there in Texas.

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  11. Just Call Her Speaker of the House - Team Whitaker on February 26, 2017 at 12:30 am

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