Girls’ Day at the Capitol
Girls’ Day at the Capitol taught Macy Williamson many things and she enjoyed sitting in the big chairs, but the biggest lesson was how old the different kinds of marble are in the structure commissioned in 1901. There are at least 10 different types of marble from other states and countries, such as Italy and Belgium, found throughout the Capitol.
Williamson, who is just nine years old, said visiting the Capitol with Rep. Ford of Madison was very fun.
“We got to sit in all the big chairs in the Representative and House Chambers,” Williamson said. “All of it was very interesting and fun.”
The Girl’s Day at the Capitol was established by Ford, a Republican, during her first year in the Legislature when she invited young girls from Madison County to tour their State Capitol and learn about legislation and what goes on in the daily life of a Representative.
Rep. Ford said being able to serve Madison County and teach younger girls about the inner workings of at the Capitol is one of the most humbling experiences of her life.
“I hope these girls have the same desire in their hearts to do what I do one day,” Ford said. “I want my campaign signs to show them what kind of job I do, not just who I am. It means the world to me that I can do that, and as long as I’m in office, I will always have a girls’ day at the Capitol to encourage these young ladies to pursue their dreams. I had a girl at church come up and hug me and say thanks for letting her see my Capitol, and I told her, ‘Honey, it’s your Capitol.’”
Ford said the program's growth over the past three years has blown her mind. For the first year, she had around 16 participants, made up of mothers and daughters, and 15 participants for the second year. However, the program last Friday blew those numbers out of the water, with the number of participants reaching nearly 70.
She said the inspiration to start a program like this struck when parents told her how much their kids liked her campaign signs in 2019.
“These girls were drawn to my signs, and I wanted to invite them to the Capitol to show them what I do daily,” Ford said. “When people see those signs, they know that you wanted them to vote for you, but I wanted to show these girls what a day in the life of a Representative looks like.”
“There’s no age limit, as my five-month-old granddaughter and three-year-old granddaughters came this year,” she said. “I’m interested in these girls being Pages as well, so they can understand the process of what politics is all about. I hope they have a desire to pursue this career for themselves after seeing how it all works. I pray that every little girl dreams big.”
Marilyn Dedeaux, the grandmother of Macy Williamson, said the entire program was very well done.
“We were there on June 17 and there were over 60 young girls, anywhere from 15 or 16 years old down to 4 and 5-year-olds,” Dedeaux said. “It was just delightful. We met in the Rotunda, signed in, and had pictures made. The tour guides from the Capitol came up and talked to the girls on their level about things in the Capitol, its age, and the marble it was made from. The girls were just amazed.”
Dedeaux said she recalled the girls seeing the Representative and House Chambers, sitting at the desks and playing with the buttons the House members light up to vote.
“They were thrilled,” Dedeaux said. “We talked about how they voted with ‘yay’ or ‘nay,’ we went to the Hall of Governors, went to lunch at Basil’s and Kiefer’s, and went to the Governor’s Mansion for dessert.”
“Ellie Reeves had pictures made with the girls, and they got to sit on the furniture and see all the bedrooms,” she said. “It was a special time for these children. How many opportunities do you have to see the governor’s mansion? Not many.”
The Girl’s Day at the Capitol is set for the middle of June for the foreseeable future, as long as Rep. Ford is in office.