Sheltering the House

By Riley Fink

Today, our group visited the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Walking through this allowed me to appreciate, of course, the magnificent and fanciful architecture.  However, it also put in to perspective the incredible amount of work and
power that exists throughout Washington. Seeing the various names of congresspersons
displayed on plaques outside their offices, often lined with flags, displayed tangible proof of each person’s significance. While I often have viewed Congress, and specifically the House of Representatives, as a single working body, viewing the physicality of each congressperson’s space brought some humanity and individuality to the system.

hallway

A hallway in the Cannon House Office Building, lined with offices and meeting rooms. (Photo Credit: Riley Fink)

Our purpose of this visit was not, in fact, to wander the halls of a government building aimlessly. Instead, we got a chance to meet with the congressman that represents Drake University as well as the rest of the 3rd congressional district of Iowa. Representative David Young, an alum of Drake, appeared before us in a meeting room accompanied by a handful of staffers.  He explained to us the path that led him to politics, including how he withdrew from the 2014 Iowa Senate race after the competition with his rivals, including current Senator Joni Ernst, became too heated. He switched to the House race, and won. He recently won reelection this past cycle.

meeting-room

The room in which Rep. Young spoke to us. (Photo Credit: Riley Fink)

Honestly, Representative Young was much more laid back in person than I expected him to be. He spoke with humor and genuine care in his voice. Even after his aide told him he had to leave, he continued to talk to us. I, and most likely everyone else in the room, could see that his passion was real. He seemed very aware that many people view Washington with skepticism, and was able to joke about it. He also did not completely ignore the unpredictability and wildness of President-elect Trump, like so many top-ranking Republican officials seem content to do. Because of his authenticity, he gave me confidence that perhaps at least some of our elected officials are coming from the right place.

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