This summer, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to intern on Capitol Hill, working for Congressman Bruce Poliquin of Maine. Here's why this internship experience was extremely transformative both personally and professionally.
Before I arrived in Washington, I thought I had a very sound understanding of the legislative process. From taking multiple political science classes on American government at school, I had already developed a firm grasp of the fundamentals of Congress before I started my internship. However, there are certain details and levels of complexity that can only be learned from watching the process take place firsthand.
Though my day-to-day tasks included answering phone calls from constituents, conducting legislative research, and even leading tours of the U.S. Capitol Building, other areas of professional growth occurred simply from growing acclimated to office culture. The importance of readiness, punctuality, and delivering quality work became obvious quickly. Through this experience, I had the unique opportunity to learn more about a profession I am fascinated in, while simultaneously helping the people and communities of my state.
Over the course of the summer, my leadership skills have developed significantly. Bruce Poliquin’s leadership style has made a significant impression on me. After getting to know the congressman for the last two months, I can honestly say that he is one of the most compassionate, genuine, and approachable individuals that I have ever met. He genuinely cares about his constituents and fights for them every day in Washington.
One of the strongest examples of leadership that I have ever witnessed was how Congressman Poliquin responded to the shooting at the congressional baseball practice in June. After the news broke about what had occurred in Alexandria, the congressman gathered all of his staff together in his office, and delivered a strong but heartfelt message. Despite the events of the day, he said, we must show the people of Maine that we are here to stay, and that we’re open for business.
Watching Congressman Poliquin as a leader has confirmed my own desire to run for public office, and use my platform to make a difference in the lives of Mainers. I am thoroughly thankful to have worked for such a great man on Capitol Hill this summer.