The Ellis County Commissioners Court welcomed special guest Lanie Spence as she opened Tuesday’s meeting with the invocation and pledge.

Spence is a student at Ennis High School and was recently chosen as her school representative for the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State.

Girls State serves to educate youth in the duties, privileges and responsibilities of American citizenship and has done so for more than five decades. The organization’s website notes that it serves to “give future citizens, in a realistic manner, an opportunity to learn problems of government by performing the same duties as real office holders in the everyday world.”

Spence has described her experience as “eye opening,” saying, “I met a lot of people that did not have the same beliefs or backgrounds as me” before describing her journey through Girls State as an educational one that included learning the processes of government at the city, county and state level. “Since my father works for Ellis County Precinct 2, I have always been interested in government and the impacts it has on my life,” she said.

Commissioner Pct. 2 Lane Grayson said he thought it would be a great opportunity to give Spence first-hand experience by inviting her to open the Commissioners Court meeting Nov. 5.

“It was a great honor to have Lanie participate in our Commissioners Court today,” Grayson said. “I was so excited to learn of her selection to Girls State. She shared with me her excitement to learn and understand how important it is to actively participate in local government. The future certainly looks bright in the hands of young people like Lanie Spence.”

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