My mentor and friend – Mark Pettitt – Student
I remember the first time I met “Dr. Senator” Hawkins. It was 2006 and I was 13 years old. Dr. Hawkins was campaigning in Flowery Branch to be my State Senator. I didn’t know a lot about politics or politicians then. I thought they were like people on TV, sort of distant and a little unreal and boring. I was very impressed with how genuine he was, and how he did not treat me like I was a child. He was very interested in me and made me feel like what I had to say was important. I believe that my interest in politics began when I met him because I wanted him to be elected and to be my Senator.
During the 2007 Session of the State Legislature, Senator Hawkins invited me to be a page for him at the Capitol. It was a great experience, and since then I have visited with him at the Capitol on numerous occasions. He has always been very hospitable, introduced me to the other Senators, and educated me about the legislative process. I remember one day when Lee was very busy working on legislation, but he still made time to take me down to the Governor’s office for a picture with Governor Sonny Purdue. I will never forget that day.
My interest in the political process and the workings of our government intensified as I entered High School. I became a Teen Republican and participated in campaign activities whenever it was possible. Then in August of 2009 I was given the wonderful opportunity to do an internship for school credit. Senator Hawkins was running for congress and agreed to be my mentor for the internship with his Congressional campaign. This has been the most rewarding experience of my life.
I cannot tell you how much I have learned from Lee Hawkins about campaigning, politics and just people. Senator Hawkins is definitely the most genuine man you will find in politics. I have traveled the state with him, and sometimes I’ve spent 14 hours straight with the Senator. What is most remarkable is that he is the exactly the same person all day long, to every person he meets. He has taught me about old fashioned ethics, “your word is your bond, perform your commitments, be responsible for your actions, you are what you do when no one is watching.” This is how he lives. He is a true conservative with the best interests of Georgia and this country in his heart.
I look up to Lee. I admire his character. Lee knows that honesty, integrity and fairness still matter. That’s evident in how he treats people. I have had the distinct honor to call Lee my Senator, my mentor and one of my closest friends.
Mark Pettitt, Senior in High School