Day 4 Reflections
Posted on 07/19/2013 @ 10:35 AM
The last 24 hours have been amazing. There is a lot to fit into a single blog post, but I’ll give it a shot. After dinner yesterday, the rest of the Impact teens and I got into our Lobby Prep groups. Being from California, we had a hectic meeting. As a group of 10 teens (the largest group here at Impact), we had a conversation about what topics we are passionate about. We understood the difficulty of the lobbying session, as we will have a mere 15 minutes to convince a staff member from Dianne Feinstein’s office to sway a certain way on an issue. We chose two separate topics to talk about, one national and one that pertained more specifically to our state. Our state issue is education reform and our national issue is congressional gridlock. Despite our disagreements and organizational difficulties, we began to plan our presentation. We are so eager to do more research and perfect our presentation.
Following a good night’s sleep, we woke up and had breakfast and began our journey to organization meetings. The previous night, we chose one of four organizations to visit to and learn about, helping us with our lobby prep. I chose to go to AIPAC, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the largest lobbying groups in America. We got to sit in the official boardroom and talk about the Middle East situation. It really inspired me to work for a non-profit. The other three organizations, The National Coalition for the Homeless, Feeding America, and the Human Rights Campaign, all had great presentations according to my friends.
Straight from the AIPAC Head Quarters we took the Metro over to Union Station for from chofesh. After 2 hours wandering about, we began the short walk to the Capitol. Walking up, we couldn’t help but be in awe from the inspiring view of one of the most powerful buildings in the world. We were then taken into a Congressional office in which we got to walk the halls and peek into the offices of congressmen and women. Ed Freel, the Senior Advisor to Senator Tom Carper from Delaware, spoke to us about politics and lobbying. We also got the chance to meet two women from the office of Congressman John Carney, the only representative from the state of Delaware. We learned about their roles and how Capitol Hill runs. Halfway into a discussion about Congressional Gridlock, Congressman Carney walked in and briefly talked to us about his experiences as a Congressman. After a quick power nap on the bus, we returned to Hillel to have an interesting Jewish learning session about stereotypes.
All in all, this day made me feel like a character in House of Cards, just in much hotter and more humid weather. I began to see the more powerful side of DC. Each day here at Impact gets more and more intense and interesting. From Capitol Hill to AIPAC, I began to realize the difference I can make here on this program.
Daniel Roth Pacific Palisades, CA Pacific Western Region BBYO