By Grace Dunn
Fourteen days is a long time to spend away from home in a new city, When it feels like you are moving one hundred miles per hour from site visit to site visit, with no time to rest, it is necessary to take a minute to reflect on the events of the trip. All 25 of us on the trip have a unique backstory of why we chose to take this class and how we got interested in politics.
We had to sign up for this class just after the caucuses, and before the election was decided. While recalling why he wanted to take this J-term Josh Hughes, a sophomore Politics and Law, Politics, and Society double major, stated, “I decided to take this class because truthfully, I thought that it was going to be Hillary Clinton that was getting inaugurated. I am a big supporter of her and I worked for her for a long time. I wanted to be here when that historic moment happened.”
Josh’s political backstory is unique. He didn’t grow up in a family that talked politics at the dinner table, or in a politically charged town. Josh said, “I sort of have this weird association with politics, where I just started getting into it in middle school. My parents aren’t incredible political, and my family really doesn’t like talking about politics. It was definitely really surprising when I just picked it up.” And get into politics he did. As a college freshman, Josh started his own political career as an elected member of the I-35 school board.
During our pre-trip meetings back at Drake, we were told that we would be very busy throughout the whole class. However, I think a lot of us underestimated just how busy we would be. To put it in perspective, we walked over 100 miles during the fourteen days. When reflecting on the trip, Josh said “I knew we were going to have a busy couple of weeks, and certainly in that respect, this trip has exceeded all expectations.”
It is clear that in a group of 25 people, everyone comes from different areas. Josh is from a rural town in Iowa, so he is “really interested in rural development issues and agriculture.” Because of this, two of Josh’s favorite site visits were the United States Department of Agriculture and the House Committee on Agriculture. These visits hit close to home for him. Josh said, “talking to policy makers, and people who are deeply invested in the process of writing agricultural policy and policy for rural areas at the national level was something that really blew me away.”
Through our site visits we met with dozens of Drake alum who are thriving in Washington D.C. Josh said, “I knew we would have incredible opportunities to network with Drake alumni out in the District.” Whether it was because of the alumni reception or through other site visits, Josh’s expectations were met. Even though Josh may not want to live in D.C. at this time, he and the rest of us know that there are definitely exciting opportunities to live and work in D.C. as a Drake grad.