What I Learned This Summer: Service and Listening
From summer ministry opportunities to professional theatre, Asbury students have a knack for making the most of the summer months. Below is a short Q&A with one of the many students who is making an impact around the world right now. Senior Patrick LaMar, a double major in Political Science and Ancient Languages (Latin), has spent the summer interning with U.S. Rep Thomas Massie, who represents Kentucky’s 4th District.
Q: What sorts of things do you do each day?
A: Mostly I answer phone calls from constituents and log their requests to be later e-mailed to Rep. Massie. I also do office work like checking the mail, organizing office contacts and directing callers who are having problems with federal programs to the appropriate caseworkers.
Q: What has been the most interesting thing you've done so far? The most challenging?
A: I’ve enjoyed listening to callers, hearing the issues that concern them and knowing when I pass on those concerns to staff that the Congressman will actually read them and respond to them. Being able to see this relationship between voters and elected officials has been very uplifting and affirming that we do have a government for, by and of the people.
The most challenging would be hearing people who believe very extreme political actions ought to be used against the President or in response to a legislative issue. And I would just like to tell them that such a reaction or process is not something which a member of Congress is able to do or is simply not politically advisable. Yet I remind myself each time that I’m not answering the phones for my own benefit. Rather, I do it to best represent the accessible nature of the Office and person of Rep. Massie.
Q: How have the classes or experiences you've had at Asbury prepared you for this position?
A: The class that really prepared me for this best was Political Science 101, specifically reading former Congressman Lee Hamilton’s book on how the legislative branch actually works. Often we see diagrams about how bills are passed and the qualifications of being a Representative or a Senator, but rarely do people think about the other duties which congressional offices and staff are expected to do.