Posted by Nakia Winfield
This is the second week of our time at the capitol and I would say that the two most remarkable takeaways that I have are that 1) the government is full of people, and 2) we are incredibly supported in our positions in Rep. Coleman’s office. The capitol is full of people. There are lobbyists and staffers, and interns, and constituents, of course, but there are also the House and Senate members. I always kind of thought of legislators as larger than life, slightly two-dimensional heroes or villains championing causes. However, watching the members on the floor, and running into them in the elevator, and seeing them speak with my representative, really brought home that they are just people, individuals with their own lives and families, who get stuck in traffic, eat tacos, hug their kids, and possibly snore in their sleep, just like everyone else. Each one can possibly be moved to have a different point of view by a poignant facebook post, or heartfelt conversation or hearing the story of someone’s life changing experience. They really do listen to what their constituents want and make decisions with that in mind. It means that one person has a lot of power. When you hear people talking about an issue and imploring you to send a letter to your representative, it’s because it really does make a difference. If you don’t know, find out who your Representative is and see how they voted, and let them know what you think. They are here to serve you and it helps if you let them know what you want.
All of us members of the LSG just went on an office retreat with State Representative Coleman and his staff. We got a chance to meet his previous chiefs of staff and hear the advice that they had for us and how they expect us to continue the legacy of Rep. Coleman’s office. It is clear that they have a very high bar that they demand for us to meet, but that they are confident that we will reach it, which makes me confident that we will meet it as well. It’s really nice to have the expectation put upon us because even if we slip up, we will still be excelling and pushing our boundaries into greatness that we didn’t previously know that we could achieve. The gentlemen who spoke offered themselves as our mentors and I expect that they will be in every sense of the word, as they want us to succeed as much as we do, if not more. They welcomed us into the family and told us several times that after this ‘baptism by fire’ that we will really be able to do anything in any office, and its good to know that we have such incredible support and so many people in our corner who are pushing us to do our best. We have our work cut out for us, and I think we will be different people after emerging from the program.