Jo Bonner (right) talks with then-Rep. Jack Edwards in the summer of 1981. Bonner, now a House Member from Alabama, was an intern in Edwards office that year.
No. 7: Stay Positive
Every interview had one piece of advice in common: interns should hold on to the passion and optimism that brought them to Capitol Hill.
“A lot of the myths of Capitol Hill are easily dispelled — the plush offices with chandeliers and the limousines and the private jets that ferry members of Congress back and forth,” Bonner said. “It doesn’t take long to realize that the offices are so small, they’re cramped, you’re stacked up on top of each other and there are few of the perks Hollywood makes it out to be.”
But “such a small percentage, a minute percentage of young people have a chance to come see their government at work and to go behind the curtain, so to speak,” Bonner said. “If you come to Washington with a curiosity – how does it work, how important the staff is to the functioning of government, the service aspect of government ¬– then it can be a really great education for you, no matter what you’re studying.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.