By Thomas Garcia, PNT Staff Writer
Eastern New Mexico University senior political science student Erin Griffith spent her summer as an intern for Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.
Her thoughts on the experience:
Life on the Hill: “It was a one-of a-kind experience. We got the chance to shadow Senator Bingaman and see what his days are like.” She said that the spontaneous nature and environment of politics in D.C. was surprising.
While she was there, Bingaman had to address a news conference on behalf of the energy committee moments after the president gave his speech about offshore drilling.
“Just like that he had to be ready to speak. They had been making preparations during the week, but it all happened so fast, it was crazy.”
In the news: Griffith said she worked on several press releases and some grant proposals. She was responsible for sending out a press release about all the interns.
“It was a little weird putting myself in quotes. I placed all the other interns at the top of the release and put myself in last.”
Young guns: “The biggest surprise for me was how young everyone was that was working in the offices.” She said that it was amazing to see how many young Americans help to make policy for the country.
Star gazing: Griffith said she did not get the opportunity to meet any of the famous politicians, but she was on the floor during voting.
“Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were present for a vote. Seeing them there helps you to realize just how much they care and are committed to their work.”
She visited the White House but did not get a chance to see Bush.
Congressional conflict: It was sad to see the partisanship in the Congress. The conflict between the two parties slows down a lot of the process.
“I have studied about the partisanship in Congress but was surprised by the extent of it.”
Not ready for office: Griffith said running for office is not in the immediate future.
“Politics (are) brutal and I admire anyone that goes out there and puts themselves on the line.”
She said for the time being she is interested as serving as a political public relations officer.
“It would be my dream job. The people need to be informed about what is going on in Washington. The communication between the political office and the constituents is vital.”