Humans of Congress

Congressional staffers are the unsung heroes of Congress. While Members receive all of the attention (as they should!) staffers play a key role in a system that would be impossible to navgate without incredibly talented, passionate and dedicated support. Here we feature the incredible minds and motives of both future leaders and dedicated players on Capitol Hill.


Alvin Casimere  – House of Representatives

Alvin Casimere - Sam Houston State University

Alvin Casimere – Sam Houston State University

Has your congressional service thus far been valuable?  

Absolutely yes. Thanks to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and an incredible Member of Congress, I just landed a new position within the United States District Court. I’m on a path to my dream of attending law school and Congress has helped me in that goal immensely.

Which policy issues or legislative matters drive you the most?

I would like to be a strong advocate for social justice. I am driven the most by matters concerning civil rights, criminal justice policy, housing protections and anything that relates to our Veterans. As a first generation college student, I believe it is vital to extend a hand and pay it forward in service to our most underserved citizens. Those issue matter the most to me.

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

My favorite spot in the city is hands down the Supreme Court. In several constitutional law classes throughout college, we focused on cases that stem from the highest levels of the judicial branch. To physically be able to walk into the Supreme Court was monumental for me. I count it as a huge blessing to stand in the spot where the Justices of the Supreme Court interpret and review our laws.


Corbin LeBaron – House of Representatives

Corbin LeBaron – Weber State University

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

Corbin: The atmosphere is what makes D.C. such a special place. It’s the cultural, social and political center of the United States.

What policy issues matter to you the most?

Corbin: Military and international policy are a couple of issues of particular importance to me. From my own service, I’ve seen the end result of legislation so I understand the gravity and importance of each decision.

What do you enjoy most about Capitol Hill?

Corbin: I really enjoy the networking opportunities we have here on the Hill. I don’t know of anywhere else in the nation that you can attend a free event every night and somehow still miss three others. If you don’t meet at least two new people a day, you’re doing it wrong.


Skye Silver – House of Representatives

Skye Silver – University of Miami

What policy issues matter to you the most?

Skye: As an International Studies major, I was always most interested in the foreign policy space. Our next President will face some tough foreign policy decisions. What is to be done regarding North Korea? How do we eliminate the suffering and displacement of those affected by humanitarian crises? I like these issues because they require a unique understanding of our neighbors’ culture and history, and a mix of diplomatic, economic, and militaristic policy prescriptions.

What is your favorite part of the city?

Skye: Even though I grew up in Maryland about 35 minutes south of Washington, I never knew the city very well beyond the tourist attractions. I really enjoy trying new funky restaurants and going to concerts with my friends.

What do you enjoy the most about Capitol Hill?

Skye: I very much enjoy the endless learning opportunities and resources on the Hill. Between all of the hearings, briefings, and receptions, everyone is able to find and attend something they are passionate about. Capitol Hill is so current. It’s exciting to see breaking news on T.V. and know that something big is going on down the hallway from you!


Domingo J. Ríos – House of Representatives

Domingo Rios – University of Puerto Rico

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

Domingo: As an art enthusiast, there is no better place than the National Art Gallery.

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

Domingo: In one word: Diversity. Diversity is what makes Washington, D.C. special. The multi-cultural community of D.C. it such an outstanding and interesting place.

What advice would you give to someone interested in coming to Washington?

Domingo: Go for it. Washington D.C. is a great place for everyone and anyone. The city is filled with fascinating people from all over the globe who are bound to welcome you with open arms.


Faith Ambrose – House of Representatives

Faith Ambrose - Jackson State University

Faith Ambrose – Jackson State University

What policy issues matter to you the most? 

Faith: From my view, education policy matters the most because education serves as the foundation of a successful life, family and country. With a strong education comes better job opportunities, better health outcomes, safer life choices, greater income and more money flowing into our economy.

What were you hoping to gather from congressional service?

Faith: From within the congressional world, I am hoping to gain a better understanding of the different roles of government, how policy is truly implemented, and how change is best achieved.

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

Faith: I love the nexus of Washington. What makes the city so special is the battle where everyone has a cause. You can really feel the world’s potential in Washington.


JR Denson – House of Representatives

JR Denson – American University

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

JR: I love the mix of northern and southern cultures. Typically, there are debates about D.C.’s geographical location, but I see it as a place that’s right in the middle. There’s something  for everyone here regardless of who you are or where you’re from.

What policy areas drive you the most?

JR: I have always been enthusiastic about health issues which are genuinely interesting and practical in daily life. I find the intersection of drug policy, addiction services and criminal justice to be of particular interest.

What is your home state?

JR: Washington, D.C. Many folks are often surprised to meet a true Washingtonian.


Kyle Campbell – House of Representatives

Kyle Campbell

Kyle Campbell – University of Maryland

What makes Congress unique?

Kyle: It’s constantly changing all the time. With each new Congress comes a new set of legislative issues and political climate. I’ve done so many internships in Congress because no day is the same as the last. Sometimes there are issues that are hard to adapt to, long hours, and little time to relax, but I think that adds to the excitement.

What were you hoping to gather from congressional service?

Kyle: I wanted my internships on the Hill to serve as learning experiences. I’m a government major in college, and I can honestly say that I’ve learned just as much (if not more) about American politics while interning on the Hill than I have in the classroom. I’ve also met a lot of incredible people and made some great connections. After all, working on the Hill isn’t just about what you know, but who you know.

What would you like to see legislatively in 2017?

Kyle: I think 2017 will provide a new set of issues that Congress will have to face. I’m looking out for the Supreme Court nomination, Congress’ adaptability to the new President, gun control reform, government spending, and national security and foreign affairs agendas. No matter where you stand on these issues, each will present unique challenges in 2017.


America Andrade – House of Representatives

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America Andrade – Utah State University

What drew you to congress?

America: I was drawn in by the same reasons that also drive many of my colleagues. I want to be able to make a difference. I think each one of us at one point says we wished something could be different. Coming from a hard-working middle-class family, I am eager to help millions of families just like mine through the work I do on Capitol Hill.

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

America: Honestly, what doesn’t make D.C. special? From the beautiful sunsets over the monuments to the incredible energy you feel on Capitol Hill, to the buzzing social scene, D.C. is the perfect city for any young adult.

What policy issues matter to you the most?

America: I am really interested in economic policy, anything that has to do with international trade, social security and health care. Although these issues may not be as exciting as others, they really are important. They drive the economy and without a good economy, everything else falls apart.


Richard Tesoriero – House of Representatives

Richard Tesoriero

Richard Tesoriero – The Catholic University

What drew you to Capitol Hill?

Richard: After my first semester, I was very dissatisfied with school and I needed to expand my horizons. I loved Washington, D.C. but had not been able to fully adjust to college just yet. I decided to apply to a congressional opportunity as an unpaid intern. I had little experience but a lot of passion and desire to work. The thought of being able to bump shoulders with important legislators and well-versed staff intrigued me. Congressman Steve Stockman from south Texas gave me that opportunity and I never looked back. I started out as a once-a-week Intern and now I’m very grateful to serve as a paid intern for the U.S. House Budget Committee.

What is your favorite part of the city?

Richard: My favorite part is Brookland in Northeast D.C. It is the home of the Catholic University of America where I am currently a senior. Brookland has gone over a drastic metamorphosis over the past decade. I remember when I was applying to Catholic University four years ago and being told “oh that’s not the best area” and “don’t go off campus at night.” Four years later I can say that the area is highly underrated and welcome to all.

What do you enjoy most about Congress?

Richard: My favorite thing is my many run-ins with high profile officials. Last year I interned for Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. In September I was leaving the Hart Senate building and saw Senator Marco Rubio on the phone. I pretended to take a call and when he was done I approached him and thanked him for his work. We proceeded to talk for the next five minutes about fantasy football, his upcoming debate, and his time as a Senator. Sen. Rubio’s Chief of Staff kindly offered to take a picture of us which I have framed on my desk. Another day I was delivering mail when I saw bright white Albert Einstein type hair shuffling towards the elevator. I held the door quickly realizing I was holding the elevator for Senator Bernie Sanders. He was appreciative and we talked for a moment about his primary race. These experiences mean a lot to me because the direct interface with these now former presidential candidates makes me realize we have real people trying to make a big difference.


Bryan Knighton – House of Representatives

Bryan Knighton – University of Connecticut

What drew you to service in the United States Congress?

Bryan: I think what made me passionate about working in Congress was my upbringing. My family moved from Newport News, Virginia to Hartford, Connecticut. I think this changed my perception of inner cities and allowed me to be optimistic about the progress that could be made. The change that I want to see to inner cities across America can only be done through policy.

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

Bryan: My favorite spot in D.C. is the Lincoln Memorial. In my opinion, it is the best to visit at night, when you can sit on the steps and look at the Capitol. I don’t think the city offers a better spot to ponder and reflect.

What is the trick to success as a staffer on the Hill?

Bryan: I think the way to be successful and to make an impact on The Hill is to understand your personal worth. Many individuals who come to the Hill want a 100 percent method to be successful, but it doesn’t exist. What works for others, might not work for you. You have to learn to deal with setbacks and keep fighting!


Brett Hooks – House of Representatives

Brett Hooks - Louisiana Tech University

Brett Hooks – Louisiana Tech University

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

Brett: The Supreme Court of the United States. It is humbling trying to comprehend the power boasted in that room. With the tap of a gavel, one era ends and another era of history begins.

What makes Congress and serving in Congress so unique?

Brett: It is inspiring to be surrounded by more than 6,000 individuals, who, regardless of party affiliation and personal opinions, truly want to make a difference. Nowhere else on earth will you find such a desire to affect change.

Which issues will be most critical in 2017?

Brett: Issues that affect United States’ and global financial markets.


Kayla O’Regan – House of Representatives

kayla-oregan-congressional-photo-1

Kayla O’Regan – American University

Which issues will be most critical in 2017?

Kayla: I think our domestic platform will be most critical in 2017. Many contentious issues including gun violence, the role of the police, and the Black Lives Matter movement will be dominant. After the 2016 presidential election, we also need to address the existence of xenophobia and sexism that are still pervasive in America. We can’t allow these issues to continue to exist.

What makes Congress and serving in Congress so unique?

Kayla: From the Members to the staffers, there are so many unique people in Congress. We arrive from all over the country. We care about completely different things. But we learn how to bridge those divides and team up with people. The environment is challenging because you’re surrounded by committed and intelligent people who specialize in a certain policy area. The specialty focus pushes you to learn as much as you can and find your own area of expertise.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to come to Washington?

Kayla: Keep an open mind. You might have the strongest beliefs in the world, but as soon as you get here you’ll find that there is an incredible amount so to learn. Washington has the potential to completely change everything you believe in, or add to your foundational view. No matter what, you’ll learn more about yourself, our policies and the congressional environment.


Jaime Miguel McCarthy – House of Representatives

Jaime McCarthy – University of New Mexico

What were you hoping to gather from congressional service? 

Jaime: Working in Congress is the perfect way to learn about a range of issues. what other workplace can you tackle foreign affairs, education, and healthcare in one morning?

What policy issues matter to you the most? 

Jaime: I am the proud son of an immigrant. Migration policy is exciting and must be a key factor for the future of any society. Rural development and access to education also matter to me and to those back home in New Mexico.

What makes Washington, D.C. special? 

Jaime: Washington draws individuals from countless walks of life, allowing for an enriching educational experience unlike any other. I’m happy to have befriended people from every region of the world who have challenged my views and reinvigorated my belief in the human spirit.


Kai Scates- House of Representatives

Kai Scates - Wiley College

Kai Scates – Wiley College

What makes your time in Washington, D.C. special?

Kai: I use the word ambition to describe the city. This was a big step for me. I packed my first apartment in Marshall,Texas and moved everything to Washington. Without knowing anyone, I took the chance and made the move. When it comes to ambition, you get out what you put in. In my mind, pursuing my ultimate career goal was critical. Congress is laying the foundation for my goals in the future.

What is the secret to success as a staffer on the Hill?

Kai: Treat everyone with a smile and treat absolutely everyone with the utmost respect. As my mentor and Intern Coordinator, Remmington Belford always says “You catch a lot more bees with honey than with vinegar.” The ability to serve others and to deliver in a professional and meaningful way is everything.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to come to Washington?

Kai: Just do it! You must live now and achieve everything that is set out for you. Never doubt yourself and remember that you don’t grow from comfort zones. If you doubt yourself, keep going anyway! You grow from persistence, from hard work and enduring motivation.


Blake Bennet – House of Representatives

blake-bennet

Blake Bennet – Texas Tech University

What drew you to Congress?

Blake: What drew me to Congress is serving the great people of Texas, but more importantly the people of the United States. I felt as with Congress being the People’s Government, I could impact legislation that affects citizens of the United States.

What were you hoping to gather from congressional service?

Blake: I have developed a new interest in policy and law, thought that the best way to learn about Congress and the Government is by serving as a Congressional intern. Growing up, I wanted to practice law and eventually serve as a Judge. I have interacted with local government and judicial systems in Texas, but I wanted a more national experience. I also wanted to learn about how the legislative branch operates. Being a congressional fellow has provided me with an excellent learning opportunity.

What would you like to see legislatively in 2017?

Blake: I’d like to see more bipartisan work. The current presidential election has split America more than ever. Moving forward, it will be beneficial if the democrats and republicans work together on more issues.


Lisa Oguike – House of Representatives

Lisa Oguike - The Madeira School

Lisa Oguike – The Madeira School

What policy areas drive you the most?

Lisa: I am particularly driven by legislation pertaining to human rights and social welfare. I am also interested in immigration policies and international affairs.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to come to Washington?

Lisa: Come with an open mind, ready to learn from anyone and everyone. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

Lisa: The Georgetown waterfront!


Preston Parry – House of Representatives

Preston Parry - Utah Valley University

Preston Parry – Utah Valley University

What drew you to Congress? 

Preston: I became very interested in politics when I started college. I am the Vice President of the College Republicans club at my university. I knew that serving a congressional fellow would help me figure out if I had a future in politics.

What policy issues matter to you the most? Why?

Preston: Two issues that matter the most to me are national security and immigration. National security is crucial for the well-being of our country. Immigration is also important to me because live about 2 hours from the border in Tucson, Arizona. We have a serious problem and I have seen the effects of this first hand.

What do you enjoy the most about Capitol Hill?

Preston: The environment. I knew this place was for me the first week I started. The hustle that is felt here is second to none.


Alexis Philbrick – House of Representatives

Alexis Philbrick - Concordia College

Alexis Philbrick – Concordia College

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

Alexis: My favorite spot is D.C. is definitely Rock Creek Park! This place is underrated! There are miles of trails for hiking and it’s a relaxing, beautiful escape from the city.

What are you looking to gather from your congressional service?

Alexis: From my time on The Hill, I hope to gain a better understanding of congressional functions and become an active participant during this time of change. There are so many opportunities for professional development, and I look forward to learning more about effective constituent correspondence and legislation research.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to come to Washington?

Alexis: My advice would be to complete every single task, even the most routine tasks, with the utmost professionalism. At times it may seem impossible to land that dream job, especially at the beginning of a career, but this journey will teach you patience and perseverance. Also, take advantage of all the networking opportunities, and don’t be afraid to take initiative because there are so many people who want to help you succeed.


Spencer Mammen – House of Representatives

Spencer Mammen – University of Missouri

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

Spencer: Washington, D.C., especially Capitol Hill, is special because your daily interactions come from people all over this great nation. One minute you’re talking to someone from New York, the next minute you’re talking to someone from Hawaii. It’s fascinating to hear from people with such diverse backgrounds.

Which issues will be most critical in 2017?

Spencer: The issues that will be most critical in 2017 are the ones relating to the economy, jobs and international relations.

What is the trick to success as a staffer on the Hill?

Spencer: The trick to being a good staffer on the Hill is to be informed about the issues you care about and to always be networking.


Kimberly Toots – House of Representatives

Kimberly Toots - Webster University

Kimberly Toots – Webster University

Which issues will be most critical in 2017?

Kimberly: The most critical issues in 2017 will be transitioning from an eight-year Democratic Obama presidency to a Republican Trump presidency. Along with a Trump presidency comes a GOP controlled House and Senate, so bipartisanship on key issues concerning job growth, domestic and foreign policy issues, and healthcare are imperative to America’s continued success.

What policy areas drive you the most?

Kimberly: The policy areas that I am most passionate about and that drive me the most are Civil Rights and Liberties, Minority Issues, Criminal Justice Reform, and Labor and Employment.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to come to Washington?

Kimberly: The advice I would give to someone who would like to come to Washington is to work on your networking skills, invest in good walking shoes, realize that public transportation is key to getting around the District, utilize every resource that is made available to you, realize that every meeting and coffee you take is a possible interview for your next job position, take advantage of free food and drinks at networking events and most importantly, make the most of this new opportunity!


Adam Chernew – House of Representatives

Adam Chernew - University of Pennsylvania

Adam Chernew – University of Pennsylvania

What policy areas drive you the most?

Adam: The policy that drives me the most is healthcare because it is something that affects the vast majority of Americans. It will be fascinating to see what happens to the Affordable Care Act under a unified Republican government.

What makes Congress and serving in Congress so unique?

Adam: Serving in Congress is such a unique experience because it gives you an incredible opportunity to impact federal policy. For young individuals, this type of influence is unprecedented compared to almost any other type of job.

What are you looking to gather from your congressional service?

Adam: During my time interning on The Hill, I’m hoping to gather a much better understanding of how the legislative process works and how health policy is being shaped in this country.


Paul Nicholas – House of Representatives

Paul Nicholas - University of Maryland

Paul Nicholas – University of Maryland

What drew you to service in the United States Congress?

Paul: I wanted to gain great experience in public policy analysis.

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

Paul: My favorite spot in Washington, D.C. is the National Museum of Art.

Which issues will be most critical in 2017?

Paul: The issues that will be the most critical in 2017 are immigration, healthcare and international relations.


John Thomas – House of Representatives

John Thomas – Johns Hopkins University

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

John: What is amazing about D.C. is the abundance of intelligent and highly qualified people in such a small area.

Which issues will be most critical in 2017?

John: Besides health care and immigration reform, corporate taxes and the regulatory climate are going to be very critical issues in 2017.

What policy areas drive you the most?

John: Corporate tax policy and monetary policy, to me, are fundamental tenants to our standard of living and freedom.


Sareena Merchant – House of Representatives

Sareena Merchant – GW University

What drew you to service in the United States Congress?

Sareena: During my college career, I was not interested in politics. Living in the nation’s Capital, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and step out of my comfort zone. I interned on Capitol Hill to expand my educational experience.

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

Sareena: Washington, D.C. is the base of all three branches of government and hosts 176 foreign embassies. This city is full of diversity. Each person in D.C. comes from a different background and has a unique story to tell. When I see veterans touring the monuments, I feel a sense of gratitude and patriotism. When I see young students taking pictures on the Capitol steps, I feel a sense of hope for the future. Washington, D.C. is a city where history happens. It isn’t just one thing that makes Washington, D.C. so special, it’s many different things that make this city so great.

What is the trick to success as a staffer on the Hill?

Sareena: Working in congress, you live in a world of uncertainty. You never know what will come the next day. I would say the trick to success is simply keeping up with the daily news and the different issues you care about.


Henrik Pehrsson – House of Representatives

Henrik Pehrsson - University of Lund

Henrik Pehrsson – University of Lund

What drew you to service in the United States Congress?

Henrik: Every day is a blessing and it truly is a privilege to have the opportunity to be here. Being from Sweden, you come to Congress with an outside perspective on the American government, but you will leave having the inside one as well.

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

Henrik: Being the center of power in the U.S. and the western world, but also the fact that when you’re actually in Congress you’ll learn that it is filled with genuinely common and nice people. The atmosphere of importance in the building is also attractive.

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

Henrik: My favorite spot in D.C. is of course, The Hill!


Aaron Morgan – House of Representatives

Aaron Morgan - Wesleyan University

Aaron Morgan – Wesleyan University

What drew you to service in the United States Congress?

Aaron: Last summer, I was fortunate enough to partake in the CBCF Congressional Summer program and experience the energy around D.C. Even though I never saw myself landing on the Hill, my experiences have always revolved around service. My compassion for people is what drew me to service in the United States Congress.

What policy areas drive you the most?

Aaron: I am really fond of education policy because I have seen the importance of it. My Mom was the former Chair for College Board and now serves as the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at UCLA. My Dad is the Community Engagement Director for Diversity Programs in Alumni Affairs at UCLA. As the son of two individuals who have devoted their entire careers to education, I understand the vast opportunities education can provide. Currently, I work for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

What are you looking to gather from your congressional service?

Aaron: I’m hoping to gather a better understanding of the political process and the various challenges that Congress faces when making decisions. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience for me. Understanding not only the issues at hand, but also working on finding solutions is something I value and appreciate greatly.


Ustina Ibrahim – House of Representatives

Ustina Ibrahim - University of California

Ustina Ibrahim – University of California

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

Ustina: Washington, D.C. is an extremely special city because of the amount of political power located within its 100 square mile. Additionally, the history of its establishment from donated land of both Maryland and Virginia is quite incredible. The numerous monuments and memorials throughout the city also add to its character.

What policy areas drive you the most?

Ustina: I am most driven and intrigued by foreign policies, especially those between the United States and countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. I am also interested in policies pertaining to human rights issues of those countries.

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

Ustina: My favorite spot in Washington, D.C. is the Lincoln Memorial by moonlight. Sitting on the front steps and looking out onto the reflecting pool is an incredible sight with a soothing effect.


Larry Sanders – House of Representatives

Larry Sanders - Howard University

Larry Sanders – Howard University

What are you looking to gather from your congressional service?

Larry: I see my congressional service as a way of helping others while becoming more personally well-rounded. Although education policy is my primary passion, I want to learn more about veterans’ affairs, immigration and housing. Serving for a member of Congress provides unparalleled experience. As an inquiring mind, I appreciate the opportunity to learn about new issues.

What makes Congress and serving in Congress so unique?

Larry: I have always been drawn to Congress for what it represents. Congress remains one of the very few institutions as important as it purports to be. No two days are the same because of Congress’ dynamic nature and I am excited every day for this experience.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to come to Washington?

Larry: Always carve out some time for yourself. There will be events you miss that you truly wanted to attend. You might choose the wrong reception or event and regret your decision. But here is the silver lining: there is likely going to be another event the next day.


Maren McInnes – House of Representatives

Maren McInnes - Brigham Young University

Maren McInnes – Brigham Young University

What makes Washington, D.C. special?

Maren: I really think that people in D.C. care. They are passionate. Most people who are here, want to make a difference. That is really special.

Also, politics are like sports here—the bars play debates and elections. It’s weird, but it’s also wonderful.

What makes Congress and serving in Congress so unique?

Maren: You get to be a part of something huge. You get to learn about how politics actually work. And you learn a lot! You get to interact with the people who make change. It’s a unique place and a very unique experience.

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

Maren: My top three favorite spots in D.C. are the Library of Congress, the Georgetown waterfront, and any of the monuments on the National Mall at night.


Michael Viggiano – House of Representatives

Michael Viggiano

Michael Viggiano – Nova Southeastern University

 What drew you to service in the United States Congress?

Michael: Before going to law school, I decided to take a break and intern in Congress. I always planned on working for the government and thought an internship would be good experience. To my surprise, I fell in love with the invigorating environment. I decided to stay and make a career of it, knowing that school is always an option given the great universities in the region.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to come to Washington?

Michael: Be prepared to work hard, be prepared to promote yourself, be prepared to do whatever needs to be done, and be prepared to have a thick skin.

What is the best part of your job?

Michael: The best part about my job is the feeling that in some way I have contributed to improving either this country or someone’s life somewhere. I am still naïve enough to believe that government can do good and it can benefit the people as long as the levers of government are manipulated correctly. The government is ultimately the expression of the collective will of the people. Despite the decline in Americans’ trust in the institutions of government, government is still where you can do the most for the public welfare. That is an amazing and intoxicating aspect of working in Congress.


MacKenzie Morales – House of Representatives

MacKenzie Morales - University of Tennessee

MacKenzie Morales – University of Tennessee

Which issues will be most critical in 2017?

MacKenzie: Foreign affairs, economic growth and women’s rights all will be critical in 2017.

What policy areas drive you the most?

MacKenzie: Environmental issues, veterans’ affairs and civil justice drive me the most.

What are you looking to gather from your congressional service?

MacKenzie: I am hoping to gather a fulfilling career from congressional service.


Hector Torres – House of Representatives

Hector Torres - University of Puerto Rico

Hector Torres – University of Puerto Rico

What is your favorite spot in Washington, D.C.?

Hector: My favorite spot in D.C. is by the Neptune fountain in front of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. From that spot, you can see the Capitol and almost an endless road throughout the city.

What makes Congress and serving in Congress so unique?

Hector: As a Congressional intern, I get a firsthand experience. There also an opportunity to be a part of the solution. We have a unique opportunity in the sense that Congress is a very diversified institution.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to come to Washington?

Hector: Be open to new experiences, get to know people, get out of your comfort zone. At the end of the day, it is worth it!


Thomas Kutz – House of Representatives

Thomas Kutz - Grove City College

Thomas Kutz – Grove City College

What policy issues matter to you the most? 

Thomas: Homeland Security and Defense are the most important issues to me. The September 11 tragedy hit me really hard as a kid, and it hurt so much to see the country that I love torn apart by terror. I want to do whatever I can to make sure that we never have to experience such a tragedy.

What do you enjoy the most about Capitol Hill?

Thomas: Capitol Hill is a world of its own. People understand each other and the need for a $6 frozen margarita at Tortilla Coast after work. There is a sense of camaraderie. We’re all motivated by similar issues, and we’re all here for similar reasons. While our thoughts about how to better our nation differ, we all are driven by a common desire.

What makes Congress so unique?

Thomas: Congress is one of the only places where so many unique and selfless people share a common goal. In a typical business, you’re worried about business growth and personal success. In Congress, our success is measured by the country’s success rather than our personal success.


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