‘Capitol Connection’ – An Intern’s View

February 22, 2012
Serving as Chairman of the Internship Committee, Senator Kevin Witkos welcomes new interns to the legislature in January.

Serving as Chairman of the Internship Committee, Senator Kevin Witkos welcomes new interns to the legislature in January.

This week, we celebrated the holiday of Presidents Day in honor of George Washington’s birthday. It is important to remember the essential role he played in forming our national government, especially the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another. Since many school districts have some time off this week, I am on vacation and have asked my legislative intern to write a column this week. Currently studying Human Services and Criminal Justice at Middlesex Community College, Peter Woolard shares his thoughts below:

The hum of energy reverberates throughout the corridors. A constant droning is audible in every corner of the building. Yet a dash of spontaneity lurks in every crease of the walls and every animate wrinkle of fabric. In this building dwells an impetus of activity. These walls hold a catalyst for change that has the potential to impact every citizen of this great state.

As I walked through the revolving doors on my first day at the legislature, I felt as if I had stepped through time into the Busy World of Richard Scarry, one of my favorite books growing up. The pace at which everything happens in this building is sensational. One can not abide here for any length of time without being impacted. Just as Lowly the worm is constantly whisked about in the fictional city of Busytown, so too am I whisked about in this assemblage of governance. From private meetings to committees, to hearings and research projects, to bill tracking and drafting proposals, press releases, and speeches, there is always something to do. Things are happening here.

I am a legislative intern. I am part of a select group of individuals given the opportunity to come and work for the representatives and personnel here at the Legislative Office Building. Students come here from all over the state to hone and develop useful skills that can serve them well in their future endeavors. That is one reason why I am here today. However, I also came for another reason: to live the experience. The impact made on an individual can not always be captured in a phrase or put into words. Just as a story of situations encountered can not convey the sensations a person feels. Seeing a commercial of Disney Land, or hearing a story about it from someone who has been there, is not the same as going there and experiencing it for yourself.

I suggest that anyone who has an opportunity to come to the State Capitol and Legislative Office Building do so. Take part in a public hearing and make your voice heard. Observe the controlled chaos that erupts when a bill is debated on the House or Senate floor. Witness the pandemonium of a legislative session in full swing. The halls are packed with representatives who come forth to debate legislation on behalf of their constituents. Legislators weave themselves through a multitude of lobbyists and reporters on their way from meeting to meeting.

Sometimes without recess or interlude, meetings progress into the wee hours of the morning. When all of the passion and dedication is spent, a tired and haggard group emerges. Some emerge to the great satisfaction of accomplishment, while others drudge forward to regroup and re-plan. Every day has its victors, and every day has its debates. This is the legislative experience; a timeless dance in the world of politics. As members of the public, it is your privilege to not only witness but also participate in this legislative process, where the laws of tomorrow are being written today.