This summer living in Washington, DC and working in the Capitol Hill office of Senator Brown has been a dream come true. I have long been a fan of Senator Brown, because of his style, backbone, and commitment to the students and working class of Ohio. Coming out of high school it was my goal to intern in his DC office before I graduated college. During the summer leading into my freshman year I was at the Democratic Party State dinner, and happened to be seated next to one of his staffers. I told this staffer my ambitions and asked him what I should do in order to get to his DC office? The staffer told me to be involved, to intern in one of the State offices, and to read the Senator’s book on Fair Trade. I did just that, read his book and in the spring of my freshman year I interned in his Columbus office.
The life of a legislative intern is a combination of excitement and aggravation. For me, I soaked up every opportunity. I enjoyed opening and sorting the mail, working with staffers, and helping constituents who called in. Although our office was doing amazing work for the country and the citizens of Ohio, the aggravation came from callers and mailers that didn’t agree. I also ran many errands for staff and the Senator, whether it was a flag request, delivering a letter, collecting signatures, or doing a cloak room run- it was all very exciting, you never knew who you would see! During one cloak room run I turned the corner only to be caught behind Senators McCain and Schumer and a gang of press. Another time I and several other interns were in the same Capitol subway car as Senator Cruz. You really never knew who you would run into, once I literally ran into Senator Rubio, and many times would turn a corner to see some other Senator for the first time.
Most memorable for me was the time that myself and the other interns had with Senator Brown. On the day that our official photos were taken he took us onto the Senate the Floor, something few people other than Senators ever get to do. He explained that the desks on the floor never leave and that most Senators sign their name in the drawer of the desk. He showed us Leader Ried’s desk, with the signatures of all the former leaders and then pointed out various other desks; Jefferson Davis, and Hillary Clinton’s for example. He also showed us his own desk, which belonged to Bobby Kennedy and Al Gore Sr. After this tour we were all able to spend some time asking him questions.
Another favorite experience was playing on the office softball team, the “Blue Collars”. We had about a game a week and would send an intern to reserve a field on the mall for us to play. We played other offices like Senator Durbin’s and Senator Portman/ Rubio (we won the interstate rivalry of course) as well as other teams like the Dept. of Justice. One evening a rumor circulated that Senator Brown wanted to come and play. Sure enough he did! Senator Brown loves baseball and especially loves the Indians, I had heard that he had played in softball games before, but had counted out such a chance for myself. He played first base, turned a double play and went 3 for 3. I had the great privilege of bringing him home on an infield single RBI. I will never forget batting him in, or being able to talk baseball with him.
This experience has been a formidable life event for me. Walking through the halls of history that is our Capitol building is an experience unlike any other. Working for a member of one of the most exclusive groups on the planet, and being at the center of our Democracy is something I will never forget. Very few ever get to experience the inside of the Capitol like I did, and it is an experience I will keep with me forever.