Tour Fuels West Texas Student’s “Potomac Fever”
Stephanie Addison | Lea County EC, 2010
By Chris Burrows | June 1, 2017
By the time she was a junior at Plains High School, Stephanie Addison already had attended leadership camps, visited Washington, D.C., and won a contest through Lea County Electric Cooperative—a coloring competition in third grade.
Still, she cites Youth Tour as a defining experience that continues to open doors in D.C., where she now works as a deputy press secretary for the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture.
“All the opportunities that I’ve had and the people that I’ve met, it all kind of trickles back to the Youth Tour,” she says. “I may have gotten here eventually, but I don’t think I would have had the exposure to know that I could do it.”
A seventh-grade trip to Washington gave Addison what she calls “Potomac fever”: “It was almost magical, to sound corny and all.” So when she got past the essay and the interview rounds to represent LCEC as a high school student in D.C., she was delighted but nervous.
“I was so worried I wasn’t going to make any friends and just worried that this was not going to be right for me,” she says. “How wrong I was.”
Being surrounded by more than a hundred other ambitious Texas students from small towns like hers had a big impact on Addison.
“I came out with a better view of the world, and I came out with motivation,” Addison says, citing friends made on the trip as a reason to forego community college and go directly to Texas Tech University, where she roomed with her Youth Tour roommate and got a degree in public relations and communications. “The tour really inspired me to take myself to the next level and know that I was capable of going to a [four-year] university, of going back to Washington, D.C., someday.”
During college, Addison worked as an intern for the U.S. House then afterward for congressmen Randy Neugebauer —whom she met for the first time on Youth Tour—and Jeb Hensarling. She’s worked for the agriculture committee since 2015, a job that gives her incredible pride as a farmer’s daughter who grew up around the cotton and cattle businesses.
“I feel like I’m making an impact,” she says. “I feel like I’m helping my family. I’m not just thousands of miles away from the people I love for no reason. I’m actually making a difference in their day-to-day lives. We all serve our country differently, and this is the best way that I know how.”