Photo by Jason White
U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart (D-Illinois) talks to students at Alton Middle School. Enyart toured the school Thursday to congratulate students on receiving the most honor roll letters of any school in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District.
ALTON — An honor roll achievement earned Alton Middle School students an honor of their own Thursday — a visit from U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart.
Enyart, a Democrat from Belleville who represents Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, visited classes to talk to students about his job and congratulate them on receiving the most honor roll letters of any school in a 12-county congressional district of some 700,000 people.
Enyart’s office wrote the letters to individual students and sent a package of the notes to the schools.
“I hope you all work very hard and get good grades so I can send you another letter,” Enyart told one of the classes. “Getting a good education is so important to your future. You really need to think about what you’re doing, work hard and focus.”
Enyart fielded questions from students on how many people work on Capitol Hill and whether he had met President Obama and the first family. He was stumped by a few queries, such as whether a law could be passed to prohibit homework on weekends and why apple juice is no longer offered in the cafeteria.
He offered students a primer on the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and how he fits into the system. Asked what it’s like working in Congress, he responded: “It’s very busy. We debate back and forth on whether the laws should be passed or not.”
Enyart said that’s one reason he visits schools and other places in Southern Illinois. He said he spends 33 to 40 weeks per year in Congress and the rest of his time gauging public sentiment in his home district.
“I have to consider what you think about what laws should be passed,” he told the students. “I work for you.”
Superintendent Kenneth Spells and Principal Steve Sandbothe accompanied Enyart and his staff members on the campus tour.
“We were excited to have the congressman at Alton Middle School talking about social studies with our students,” Spells said. “I thought it was an excellent visit and our students really appreciated it.”
Besides visiting Alton, Enyart spent Thursday in Belleville, met with Madison County mayors in Granite City and visited with patients at the DaVita Dialysis Center in Granite City.
Enyart, who has served in Congress since January 2013, is facing state Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro in the Nov. 4 election. Enyart served in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and the Army National Guard for about three decades, retiring as adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard in 2012 to run for Congress.