As a Congressional Aide, Girl Scout Alison L. spent a week shadowing the office of Representative Tony Cárdenas. Alison writes about her experience below.
I absolutely loved being a Congressional Aide!
I was on the Hill the week of June 22-26, 2015 and it was a very exciting week! The U.S. Supreme Court rulings on the Affordable Care Act (King v. Burwell) and gay marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges) were announced, making the vibe on Capitol Hill very spirited!
I shadowed in the office of Congressman Tony Cárdenas, a Democrat who represents the 29th district of California (the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles). Although there were older interns, I was the only high schooler. The intern coordinator asked me what subjects I’m interested in. After I told her that I am interested in health issues, she gave me some research to do on health-related bills, organizations, and legislation.
I also attended a hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security (one of the ones that’s broadcasted on C-SPAN!) and a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus Senior Task Force. It gave me so much more perspective about how the government is actually run. Being present while lawmakers made their decisions was very exciting. I was seeing history in the making!
When I met Congressman Cárdenas, we discussed how difficult it is for lawmakers to make decisions because there are so many layers. There are conflicting opinions, politics, and policies that all must be taken into consideration when representatives vote.
Overall, I had an incredible time as a Congressional Aide. I gained a greater appreciation for the hard work efforts of our lawmakers. Seeing our democracy in action inspires me to want to work in the public sector and make a lasting impact on our nation.