After lunch on Friday, I trekked over to Congressman Blumenauer’s office to meet his staff and see the inner workings of a congressional office. I arrived a few minutes early, which gave me some time to quietly observe the office. I studied the maps on the wall and tried to soak in the general atmosphere of the office. I was impressed with the awards and certificates of thanks that were given to Congressman Blumenauer from bicycle advocacy groups. My parents own a bicycle shop in Augusta, Georgia, and contribute a great deal of their time and resources to local, state, and national bicycle advocacy, whether it be helping with the construction of a new trail system or lobbying for specific funding grants. It is a great feeling to know that someone on the Hill is also very involved in a cause that is important to me.
When Stephanie arrived, she introduced me to everyone in the office. We all chatted about recent bills and policy initiatives, and we laughed at legislation jokes I wouldn’t have understood a few weeks ago. Everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy his or her job. No one seemed uptight or strict about anything. Janine, his Chief of Staff, even joked that I should go sit at his desk. (I did!)
It was great to see a congressional office in an informal way. It made me more comfortable and confident in approaching staffers on the Hill. I am very grateful for the experience and hope to stay in touch with my new friends on the Hill in the future.