A picture of Representative Joe Barton
Joe B.
Republican TX 6

About Rep. Joe
  • In Memory of Kelly Walters

    by Representative Joe Barton

    Posted on 2015-01-22

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    BARTON of texas in the house of representatives Thursday, January 22, 2015 Mr. BARTON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart to remember an exceptional young lady taken from us far too soon.

    20-year-old Kelly Walters was killed in a tragic hit and run accident on January 16, 2015 as she crossed the street in her hometown of Arlington, Texas. While her death made headlines back home--today I want to focus on the way Kelly lived.

    I met Kelly several years ago at one of my town hall meetings. When I asked the crowd if they had any questions, hers was the first hand that shot up. She couldn't vote yet, but her love of our community and interest in government was already on full display.

    A few months later, I was proud to sponsor her for the prestigious House Page program. While in Washington, her love of the civic process and politics only grew.

    She came by my office regularly to chat with me and my staff. She was too young at the time, but was already expressing interest in serving as an intern in my office.

    I understand she wasn't shy about sharing her future political aspirations telling people she was going to run for my seat as soon as I retired. I do appreciate her waiting for my career in Congress to end before hers began. I have since learned she was aiming even higher. She wrote a letter to President Clinton in December of 2000, at the ripe old age of six, saying she wanted his job. Kelly said, ``I think I would be a good President because I care about people and how they treat others . . . Please let me know when I need to come to Washington to begin my new assignment. I will need to let people know I will be out of school and have my work mailed to me.'' Kelly possessed a rare understanding of the importance of American politics and the impact that it has on everyday life. She had a keen interest and genuine curiosity about the legislative process.

    After her semester in the Nation's Capitol, she returned home where she continued to cultivate her deep dedication to civic duty. She volunteered in our community, worked on campaigns, interned for a state representative and excelled in the classroom.

    Kelly was a junior at the University of Texas at Arlington and was days from leaving to study abroad in Morocco. She wanted to promote women's rights in the Arabic world.

    So what drove this exceptional young woman? Kelly says it best in her own words. This is an excerpt from an essay she wrote a few years ago: ``America is based on many beliefs, but they all boil down to one simple word: Freedom. Life in America is free, it is one most people take for granted, but it was not cheap. Freedom is bought on the back of soldiers who were willing to risk their lives to fight for their country and America's right to be free. Thus Freedom is built on service, on a willingness to give back for what has been given. I don't pretend to know or understand why others volunteer, but for me it is a need to give back for all the opportunities that are standing open for me simply because I am an American.'' Profound words that everyone in this body should take to heart. It is rare to see someone so young so engaged. Kelly will be missed, but her love of our community and of our nation will not be forgotten.


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