AUSTIN — A short, pencil written letter on school tablet paper arrived at the office of State Representative John Wray's office this spring. It was the voice of a young constituent, Ryder Smith of Midlothian, asking Representative Wray to look into a computer hacking problem with a game he plays. It might seem a small problem to some, but to this proactive nine-year-old it was an issue that needed the attention of his State Representative. More importantly, he understood that he had the power, and responsibility, to be the voice of the change he was seeking.
Ryder said he wrote Representative Wray, "Because my 3rd Grade Teacher (Hilary Landrum at St. Joseph's Catholic School) said even though I'm a kid, I still have a voice and I should write my Representative to be heard. I was worried about my friends and a game they were playing online that is dangerous for kids."
Ryder recently spent the day with Representative Wray on the floor of the 85th legislative session as an Honorary Page. "My day at the Capitol was fun, exciting, cool, and amazing!" When asked if he might wish to run for the State Legislature one day, Ryder said, “Maybe! I'm still thinking about it!"
Joy Smith, Ryder’s mother commented, "As Ryder's parents, we actually were not surprised that he would take it upon himself to write Mr. Wray. This is absolutely Ryder's personality and always has been. He has never been shy...he has a fearless and courageous heart. We were sincerely touched by John Wray's genuine response to Ryder's concerns. The kindness he showed him is remarkable. We couldn't be happier for Ryder to have been granted this opportunity and experience."
Wray said the young man was very attentive and interested in the process on the House floor.
“I appreciate every letter and call I receive from constituents across District 10 but this letter from Ryder was especially touching," Wray said. "I think the more we teach our kids about the process and resources available to them, the better off our country will be. It is important for them to know that they are never too young to make a difference."