If there is one thing I have learned at my internship thus far, it is that there is never a dull moment on Capitol Hill. Throughout my first few weeks, I have attended various events and partaken in exciting opportunities unique to a Capitol Hill internship. Although sometimes chaotic, it is amazing to be in Washington, D.C. during such a historical time as Congress debates and acts on issues such as health care and Russia intervention. While these events did not all happen in one day, I thought I would share some of the day-to-day events I have attended as an intern that have made my first few weeks on Capitol Hill very unique and memorable.
Each week, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration plans an intern lecture series where prominent professionals speak to Congressional interns about public service and government. I recently had the opportunity to attend a lecture series featuring Senator Jeff Merkley from Oregon. I found Senator Merkley’s speech to be extremely interesting as he talked about his progressive values and the legislative initiatives he has introduced in the Senate. As someone who is interested in running for office one day, I really enjoyed hearing about the personal experiences of a current elected official. At the end of the event, I was able to snap a picture next to the official Senate podium. Next week, I hope to attend the lecture series featuring Jared Kushner.
Earlier this week, I attended an event to commemorate the 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. My boss, Senator Tammy Duckworth, was one of the featured speakers at the event. She spoke passionately about the need to protect healthcare and the basic rights of everyone who experiences a disability. It was truly inspirational to see Senator Duckworth speak on this issue, especially since she lost both of her legs and uses a wheelchair. It made me very proud to be spending my summer working for such an incredible woman.
This week on the Hill was especially crazy with the Republican initiatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to open up debate and the amendment process to start the repeal. After the vote, many Democratic Senators held a rally outside the Capitol to take a stand against the vote. At the rally, I was able to meet one of my favorite members of Congress, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. She was super nice and took a picture with me!
One of the most memorable moments of my internship so far took place last night during the Senate vote-a-rama. Around 8 pm, I was sneakily hanging around my favorite spot: the second floor of the Capitol right outside the Senate chamber. I love this spot because there are naturally many Senators walking around, and it is always fun to say hi and shake their hands. As I was standing in this spot, Senator John McCain suddenly turned the corner. He was very friendly. He waved to my friend and I and talked to us briefly. I said to him, “Senator McCain, it’s so good to see you back again,” to which he expressed many thanks. After he left, I said to my friend, “Wow, we just talked to one of the biggest names in Washington.” Boy, was I unaware how much that statement would be even more true just several hours later.
I am so excited for the rest of my internship in Washington, D.C. Each day is a new experience, and I cannot wait to see what else will happen while I am here!