Holland serves as page, Boys State representative
Upcoming RHS senior Chase Holland, 17, has his sights set on a career in politics and has been preparing for just such a career during his summer break from school.
Holland, who is the son of Mark and AnnaKay Holland, served as a page for Sen. Roger Bedford in the Alabama Senate during the last day of the legislative session on May 20.
Holland said being a page for Bedford was an invaluable experience that gave him a good look into politics at the state level.
“When Sen. Bedford asked me to be a page for him, I knew it was something I wanted to do because I knew it would be a good learning experience for me,” Holland said.
“It was a little difficult with my schedule to find a time to actually go down to Montgomery, but I was able to work it out to go down the last day of the session, which happened to be the same day my grandfather, D.W. Franklin, was going to Montgomery to represent the town of Vina with the League of Municipalities.”
Holland said he spent from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. that evening running errands for Bedford and other senators while also catching glimpses of what was taking place on the senate floor.
“A lot of the errands I ran were just getting copies of bills and taking them over to the House or taking notes in to the senators,” Holland said.
“I loved when I actually got to see what was going on and see how things work.”
Holland said the highlight of the day for him was getting to watch Bedford argue his point considering the controversial school Accountability Act.
“It was great to see how passionate he was about what he was saying,” Holland said.
“He really did a great job getting his point across and expressing how upset he was with the Accountability Act. It was exciting to see him fighting for something he believed in.”
Holland said one of the less exciting aspects of the days was witnessing a filibuster firsthand.
“Sen. Singleman filibustered for most of the day,” Holland said. “He talked about everything from his daughter’s graduation to Alabama football. It was boring but it was also pretty funny to see what all he would talk about just so he could have the floor.”
Holland said the goings-on in the state legislature were chaotic but it was an organized chaos.
“Watching the voting take place was interesting,” he said.
“You would have senators in and out of their offices all day and some would only show up when it was time to vote. One senator literally poked his head in just to say “no” every time they did a roll call vote.”
Amidst the chaos and excitement, Holland said he actually took away some good memories and lessons learned.
“I’m glad I got to have this experience and was able to see all that goes into passing legislation in our state,” he said.
“It definitely gives you a new appreciation for what our hardworking officials do, and it reaffirmed my career choice of going into politics.
“I want to be able to make a difference. A lot of times there are people who will talk about all the problems we have and what is wrong with our county, our state and the nation, but there are only a handful of people who are willing to stand up and do something about it. I want to be one of those people who gets things done and who can turn this country around.”
Holland’s experience as a page in the Alabama Senate was followed by a trip on June 10-14 to the 76th American Legion Alabama Boys State in Tuscaloosa, which is an honor that is only given to one upcoming senior boy at each Alabama high school.
Holland was selected by the faculty at RHS to represent the school since he is considered an upcoming leader through his position as the student council president.
Boys State is a leadership program that provides young men with a working knowledge of how the government functions on the city, county, and state levels.
Attendees are encouraged to run for various offices at the different levels of government and campaigns and elections are held.
Out of nearly 600 young men who attended this year’s Boys State, nearly 40 chose to run for the highest office of governor.
Holland was one of the top four candidates for governor before ultimately being elected to the Senate where he participated in the Senate Interest Group and wrote and debated bills.
Holland said he even drew inspiration from his time paging for Bedford while he debated a bill on the Accountability Act.
“The Accountability Act was a hot topic that week and it was the focus of one of the bills I was debating,” Holland said.
“I remembered some of the things Sen. Bedford said when he was debating the bill and I used those for my argument.”
Alabama Boys State is sponsored by the American Legion and is under the direction of retired Judge Pete Johnson of Birmingham, and assistant directors Judge Joel Laird of Anniston and Ted Copland of Carrolton.