June 5, 2014

The D.C. Experience


photo 2By Morgan Nelson, NCGA-DC intern, Masters of Public Service and Administration Candidate at the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M, Legal Studies graduate from Chadron State College

Although Washington D.C. isn’t new to me, working with the National Corn Growers Association is. Two years ago when I first visited the city, I expected the environment to be a bit different than what faced me. Washington D.C. in all its glory is a very powerful place, one that government nerds like me really enjoy. So in preparation for that, I expected an old, rich and powerful city. What I found (much to my delight) was a young and vibrant city, although still a very powerful place. Towards this end, my fellow Bush School of Government (Texas A&M) classmates and other fellow interns have now descended upon the city to do our duties and help in any way that we can.

Although it’s hard to sum up the main tips I’ve aggregated while visiting D.C. a few vital ones stick out. Standing on the left side of the escalator is a near crime, something I’ve begun to call ‘esca-lefting’. Walking up the escalator is reserved for the left side, and standing is for the right side. Shoes are potentially both a good and bad thing, wear what’s comfortable. Last but not least, my Midwest instinct to smile at everyone is not interpreted here as it is in Nebraska, although I like to think it makes the world a little friendlier in the mornings.

unnamedThis past week I was lucky to host my parents for a sight-seeing trip. For the first time I was able to show them the Capitol where I gave tours during my last internship with Congressman Smith, and show my finesse (or lack thereof) as an adult in a new city. Before leaving Nebraska, my dad tutored me on the latest practices that farmers were using in the neighborhood. While my family doesn’t farm, we have cattle and rent farm land. For me, working with farmers may be new, but in a lot of ways it feels like second nature. Working for corn farmers (including Nebraskans) is work I’m proud to do.

nametagMy first major task as an intern was monitoring the House Agriculture Appropriations mark-up. Following a bill from the subcommittee mark-up to the full committee mark-up was a new experience. I was able to attend the first hearing, and watched a webcast of the second. After the first mark-up, the NCGA staff made a list of notable changes which I was able to compile to send to member states and organizations in an “Insider”. Although I did make one mistake in it, it was incredible to send an email to such a vast group of people. That was a first I’ll never forget.

IMG_2997 (3)In a great example of collaboration, I was happy to attend an intern lunch hosted by CropLife America. Ag interns around DC got together for an information and networking session over lunch. Not only did I meet a couple of other Nebraska interns, but a few interns from Texas A&M where I currently attend grad school. Bryan Brower (US Grains Council Intern) and I will be co-hosting this same group in the near future to discuss NCGA and USGC issues.

With two and a half weeks down, I’m looking forward to the remaining several weeks in D.C. ‘Lunch and learns’, Corn Congress, and several other opportunities await. Even a small town Nebraska girl can enjoy the buzz of a busy city.

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