U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) told Pulaski High School freshman he had four main points to make during a speech followed by a question-and-answer session at the school's auditorium Wednesday morning.
The first: People who represent on the local, state and federal level are normal people. "I'm somebody's son. I'm a husband. I'm a father and a grandfather. We're just regular people who stepped up to the plate to serve our constituents."
Secondly, Johnson said, he hopes students appreciate what school district employees and their parents have done to try to give them the tools to equip them to live a productive life. "Take advantage of all those tools. ... You really do have unlimited opportunities."
Third, he spoke to the students as both a dad and as chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, when he said, "Don't do drugs."
"Doing drugs will destroy your life," he said. "I have talked to far too many parents, and brothers and sisters and grandparents who have lost their beautiful sons or daughters or brothers or sisters or grandsons and granddaughters."
Think about those you love, he said. "Think about how you destroy their lives as you destroy your life."
Before answering student questions on a wide range of current national, international and social topics, he made one last point.
He quoted a paragraph from the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
When he was younger, Johnson said, he thought the "pursuit of happiness" wasn't quite on the same level as "life" and "liberty".
But, he said, he now knows that pursuing happiness is no trivial thing.
When Johnson had children, he thought, what do I want for them? Simply, for them to be happy. “I want my children, I want all of you, I want every American and I'd like everyone on the globe to be happy."
He said he hopes students are grateful for what they have in America today with unbelievable technological advancements and opportunities.
"You have a potential in life unlike anybody. You have potential for an incredibly long lifespan and all these opportunities, but you have to take it seriously. You have to understand how incredibly precious this lifetime is -- how incredibly precious and unique this opportunity is," he said.
"I'm looking at a bunch of bright faces here with unlimited opportunities and all I can say is, 'I wish you the best,' he said, “And I'm just begging you to take full advantage of those opportunities to have a great life."
Prior, freshman ambassadors -- Ava Lanczy, Quinn Process, Isaac Olson and Halee Fameree -- greeted Johnson and presented him with a #RaiderStrong T-shirt before escorting him into the auditorium. And Pulaski News reporter Ben Buttrick was granted a one-on-one interview with Johnson following the event.