Former Congressman stops by WVU Tech to commemorate Constitution - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Former Congressman stops by WVU Tech to commemorate Constitution Day

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BECKLEY, WV (WVVA) -

Sunday was constitution day across the U.S.

And as many polls have shown, a large percentage of Americans are unaware that such a day exists.

But in Beckley Monday, students got to hear, some for the first time, just how important the document is to the nation, from one of West Virginia's longest serving representatives.

WVU Tech students got a chance Monday to hear from former Dist. 3 Rep. Nick Rahall on on the importance of the U.S. Constitution.

"I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to meet him, ask him a couple questions, and talk about some of the big political issues of the day and get his opinion on it,” student JonPaul Kessinger said.

Rahall certainly knows his way around Capitol Hill, having been elected 18 times to congress to represent the people of southern West Virginia.

"It's incumbent upon each of us as American citizens to recognize that citizenship is not just a spectator sport, it's an involvement sport,” Rahall said.

His mentor, the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, was known to carry a copy of the constitution in his pocket. He also helped craft legislation in 2004, requiring that all publicly funded schools must observe the history of the document.

"Our constitution has thrived, it has survived for over 230 years now,” Rahall said. “Our Founding Fathers, in all of their wisdom, gave us an anchor that is the bedrock of American democracy."

And that democracy was on display Monday, as students exchanged views and interpretations of the Constitution in an open setting with the former congressman.

For civil-engineering major JonPaul Kessinger, he hopes the experience is something students can learn from in today's raucous political climate.

“Far too many times people develop interpretations of the constitution, without actually sitting down and reading the document to begin with, without even understanding what's inside of the document and they just hear what they've been told from someone else, and they repeat that as their own opinion," Kessinger said.

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