U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Washington, DC
This past winter, I set out to find a summer position in which I could serve the public, exercise some responsibility, and work to make a difference. To marry these goals with my interest in politics and government, I reached out to Senator Markey’s Chief of Staff, hoping for a lead on an internship on the Hill. He directed me to Senator Cardin, who he said is one of our nation’s finest public servants, with one of the most accomplished staffs on the Hill. Energized by this enthusiastic recommendation, I researched Senator Cardin and completed the internship application, not expecting results but hoping for the best.
When I heard my application was accepted, I was thrilled. I could not wait to serve a U.S. Senator in DC during an election year. The summer was panning out to be incredibly busy with the presidential election in November and a number of incumbent Senators campaigning for reelection. Little did I know that the summer’s primary focus was lurking in plain sight—dismissed by many politicians and taken seriously by only a few. As winter thawed, the pandemic worsened, and we all were told we would move to remote work. While I was disappointed not to be on the Hill, I understood the health risks and, more importantly, received an early lesson in Senator Cardin’s leadership: as others kept their heads in the sand, Senator Cardin recognized the risks of the pandemic and took decisive steps to protect all of us. From this unexpected start, the internship has been an incredible and empowering opportunity, as the Senator’s office has overcome myriad obstacles, while avoiding any setbacks. The performance of the Senator and his staff under these conditions has been remarkable.
This point in the history of our country is monumental. The upcoming presidential election seems almost distant, in light of the range of challenges now facing us: a global pandemic, record unemployment, the most precipitous economic decline in years, and long-overdue civil rights awakenings. As a member of the Press Team, I was able to delve into the panoply of issues being addressed by Congress. At the forefront were issues involving racial injustice and police reform, as well as Covid-19 and the pandemic’s impact on our nation’s economy and society.
Some of my responsibilities included updating the Civil Rights/Civil Liberties and the Health Care website pages. I also drafted updates for the Energy and Environment page and the Small Business page using a new web tool called Cision. In addition to those projects, I had the opportunity to draft Senator Cardin’s July 4th Press Statement. The statement recognized the celebration of our nation’s independence 239 years ago, while weaving in today’s national challenges of racial injustice. I appreciated the opportunity to try to emulate the Senator’s voice: respectful and grateful, but also insistent on implementing change to right injustices that have plagued our society for too long.
I leave the internship inspired, humbled, and grateful. These are challenging times for our nation. But I am more encouraged than ever, knowing that people like Senator Cardin, of good faith and tremendous ability, are leading our Congress.