Mythbuster: Katherine Hanson
Why I think it is important for Kansas government officials to operate in the light of day, rather than in secret, behind closed doors:
A passionate member of the Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advisory Board leading campaigns and programs in her community.
Kate Hanson, 18, has seen first-hand the effects of Big Tobacco’s lies. Her fencing coach recently passed away due to his deadly addiction to tobacco. Kate knew at that point she couldn't sit back and let Big Tobacco affect more innocent victims. In fall 2013, Kate became a member of the Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advisory Board.
With other board members, she has participated in several campaigns within her local school system -- Mary Institute and St. Louis County Day School -- to help to educate and gather support for St. Louis to become smoke-free.
She recently approached her school and was given permission to start a tobacco prevention youth advocacy program in her school, allowing her to recruit members to join the program and designated time for her group to meet. As founder of the program, she will be involved in the formation of the group structure, setting priorities, conducting meetings and educating students and adults on the facts about tobacco use.
Kate has taken her leadership skills to a higher level by working on a "Kick Butts Day 5K" educational fundraiser and race in her community. Kate worked on a grant application from the national organization Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, made arrangements to attend a city council meeting to ask permission to use streets, worked on the race route and developed promotional items and educational materials for the day.
The money from the race will support her newly developed group as well as Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advisory Board's special projects.
Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advisory Board currently is in the middle of a six-month campaign, “Clear the Air in Our State Capitol.” The Missouri capitol is one of only 10 state capitols that still allow smoking in their buildings, and St. Louis is located in a community that has a very strong comprehensive smoke-free ordinance. However, the people who work at the state capitol continue to be outside the jurisdiction of this ordinance and some political leaders feel they should be allowed to smoke in their offices.
During this six month campaign, board members including Kate have been collecting signatures of support for the capitol to be smoke-free. During our Capitol Day in February, Kate will be presenting them to the Republican Minority Leader to let him know that the continued inaction on this issue is unacceptable. Kate herself has collected over 200 signatures so far, the most any single board member has collected. In addition, she recently presented to Tobacco Free Missouri’s annual meeting, asking everyone who attended to sign the forms.
Kate has taken her cause very seriously and has made huge steps in preventing more students and adults from becoming trapped in this deadly addiction.