It is our second full day in D.C.! And boy was it full! When I originally decided to take this class, a good friend of mine who had taken it told me “It’s a great experience, but it should be worth 5 credits because it is a lot.” And I can now see what he meant. We started off the day in The Washington Center with two speakers; Brian Lamb and Bob Costa, who both offered some really interesting perspectives on the world of political journalism, and had some great advice for us as we pursue professional careers.
First, we traveled to Dirksen Senate Office Building. We then had the opportunity to meet with a Drake grad (Ryan McKeever) who is the Research Assistant for Investigations in the office of Senator Markey (D-Massachusetts). Ryan offered insight as to how to get a job on the Hill, and what his time in D.C. had entailed. Ryan graduated from Drake only two years ago, so I found it valuable to get insight from somebody who joined the D.C. climate such a short period of time ago. Although older grads can still offer great insight, the political climate is always changing, so a recent perspective is always valuable.
Senator Markey was very upbeat and enthusiastic. He certainly loves Massachusetts! Markey even made the statement that he loves his job because “he gets to help people every day.” This hit home to me because that is the precise reason that I want to go into politics – to make the world a better place.
Next, we had an official tour of the Capitol! The building was amazing, and something I have never seen before. Our tour guide was so educated and told us lots of fun facts about the building! For example, there is an empty tomb in the Capitol that was intended for George Washington, but he was never buried there!
And last, we visited the Hart Senate Office Building. We spoke to Drake grad James Rice, the Legislative Director for Senator Chuck Grassley (Iowa). James also offered great insight into the D.C. climate (where he has worked for 18 years!) and gave us some fun facts about Senator Grassley. Did you know Senator Grassley goes running at 4 in the morning? Although we did not get to see Senator Grassley himself, we did make it onto his Instagram!
After we finished our meeting with James, we had a little time to wander the building and find the offices of some of our favorite Senators. I found the office of Senator Kamala Harris (California). She wasn’t there, but her staff did give us snacks.
I am typing this post fresh from a nap – although today was exhausting, it was definitely worthwhile.