WHEELING - Two members of Congress addressed high school females attending Rhododendron Girls State on Tuesday.
Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and David B. McKinley, both R-W.Va., spoke separately to the gathering of about 400 girls representing high schools throughout West Virginia. Girls State is taking place this week on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University.
McKinley focused on the theme of this year's Girls State, which is honoring veterans and raising money for the Wounded Warriors association that assists injured returning soldiers.
Photo by Joselyn King
Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va. attends Rhododendron Girls State on Tuesday at Wheeling Jesuit University.
Irene Weber, director of Rhododendron Girls State, said Girls State attendees have been asked to put money in a jar every time they say a curse word this week. She pointed out to McKinley that during his speech Tuesday he used the word "damn." He handed her money from his pocket for the curse jar, much to the amusement of Girls State residents.
McKinley encouraged the girls to sit down and talk with veterans and learn what they experienced.
"Find out what made America America - and learn from it so we can do better," he said.
He also suggested the best way to honor veterans is to volunteer in their communities, just as the soldiers signed up to help America.
"But veterans aren't expecting to be the focus of what you're going to do," McKinley continued. "They have a big picture view of America. They want you to be involved in senior centers, the United Way ... to attend church with your families. Become a contributing member of society.
"They want you to vote in elections they sacrificed themselves for," he added. "They want you to run for political office. ... they want you to be involved."
Capito advised the girls to build relationships that get them elected by first improving their communication skills and learning to persuade people.
"Stop relying on Facebook, Twitter and texting," she told them. "You've got to have face-to-face conversations in your life. That's the only way you're going to learn to deal with people.
"You can't tell what somebody means when they write something - anger, crying ... there's no emotion," she continued. "Don't give up the face-to-face communication."