Encore – December 2021

Peggy Adams December 16, 2021
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Encore highlights the stories of TeenPact Alumni through the years. This month features Kentucky State Senator Adrienne Gilbert Southworth.


Kentucky State Senator Adrienne Gilbert Southworth says, “We are in a spiritual battle and need young Christian leaders to rise up in all sectors of our communities. Without TeenPact, I would not have run for the Senate, nor would I have done anything else in public service. TeenPact prepared me in a very practical way and opened up my understanding of how to get involved. TeenPact was beyond life-changing for me, and in my experience, its impact lasts a lifetime!”         


In 2007, Adrienne attended her first TeenPact State Class as a 19 year old, mainly attending at the request of her parents as a chaperone for her younger sister. Adrienne relates, “I was influenced before I even got to the State Class. The pre-class homework opened my eyes as I visited our legislative website to complete the bill analysis. Spending four days ‘living’ at the capitol was truly transformative. We students learned our way around, getting a taste of the culture of the legislative process.” At the class, participating in mock legislative sessions and praying at the capitol sparked a fire in Adrienne. When she returned home, she sought out ways to become involved in her community. 


“When I went home, I began reviewing actual bills online, looking for elements that would not be desirable. I was determined to figure out how to attend a real committee meeting. Once I found the online link to Kentucky’s legislative calendar, I began to attend committee meetings, eventually speaking at some. The first bill I spoke on was in 2009. This bill included a total overreach of federal jurisdiction. Afterwards, Senators told me they realized how bad this bill was after I had brought this to their attention. So they killed the bill right there and then! I was addicted after that!” Adrienne spent hours combing through bills and creating spreadsheets, reviewing hundreds of bills as she learned to do during the bill analysis component of TeenPact’s homework and State Class.


“But the TeenPact State Class is not the full story of my involvement in politics,” Adrienne explains. “I attended Back to DC (a TeenPact Alumni Event) the fall of 2007 and heard all of the presidential candidates of that year speak. Amazing! And, instead of being a mock legislator as I was at the State Class, I was a mock campaign manager. When I went home from this event, I wanted to see what a real campaign looked like, so I hunted up an actual political race in my area of Kentucky and began to volunteer for this candidate. The relationships I developed during this campaign drew me to a grass roots group, where I eventually became the state-wide director.” 

In this role as a grassroots leader, Adrienne trained others to analyze bills that had been submitted. One person she trained, Jenean Hampton, was eventually elected Lt. Governor and told Adrienne, “I need you on my team. If anyone knows about state government, you do.” Adrienne served as Lt. Governor Hampton’s Deputy Chief of Staff from 2015 to 2019. “Adrienne’s ability to quickly read and understand bills is legendary,” said Lt. Gov. Hampton.


In 2020, Adrienne ran for a senatorial seat that had been held by the same party and person since at least 2005. Her platform statements were “Protect Life & Liberty, Defend Constitutional Rights, and Eliminate Waste.” She won handily, earning 52.6% of the vote in a 3-way race.

Now Adrienne is not a mock legislator, but the real thing. She describes her first actual legislative session, beginning in January 2021, as a “whirlwind of activity since COVID issues were being debated.” While very comfortable in the capitol, she needed to learn some key details, such as figuring out who wrote an amendment and how to file any amendments she wrote herself. 


After her first session in 2021 ended, Adrienne has been busy, remaining connected to her constituents and focusing her research on some key issues in preparation for the next session beginning in January 2022. 


Kentucky State Senator Adrienne Southworth concludes,“TeenPact is so much beyond government. Life values, such as media-free, interpersonal relationships, and prudent feminine attire are all other factors that young people need to be taught, in addition to civics education and leadership skills. I take all those things with me everywhere I go. And when I have teenage kids, I plan to teach them those things I learned from my TeenPact experiences.

About the Author

Peggy Adams

Peggy and her husband Eric served as the Kentucky State Coordinators from 2009-2017, and Peggy has continued to serve as the Capitol Coordinator… Read More