Now-a-days we are inundated with politics on TV. From trade wars to all of the hot button issues that are going on, we think we have an idea of how the political process works in Washington D.C. One GC student is finding out there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes in politics than meets the eye.
Webb Beard is entering his senior year as a political science and economics major at Georgia College. He is also a student in the Honor's Program and was given the opportunity to complete an internship with Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14).
"Working for a member of Congress is interesting because you don’t have a lot of time to spend with them, as they are extremely busy individuals. Even paid members of their staff don’t interact with them as much as you might think. You have to glean what you can from the limited interactions you have with them," said Beard.
Throughout the summer, Webb has been able to do a variety of things such as listening to constituents' concerns about the issues to giving visitors from Georgia tours to attending briefings on different issues that the Congressman is interested in. Through these tasks, Beard has seen that the political process as far as it relates to Congress is a lot different than what is portrayed in the news.
"It’s a lot different than what you see on TV or read in the paper. For example, the bulk of a member of Congress’s time is spent almost exclusively on their committee and subcommittee work, a very specialized subset of issues that they focus on. I also learned just how much members rely on their staffers to keep them informed, much more than the average person probably thinks."
Beard also attributes his success to Georgia College for giving him the ability to critically think during his internship.
"I would say the biggest thing I’ve developed at GC is my critical thinking skills. There is a severe shortage of critical thinking in D.C. which I’ve now experienced firsthand. Laws are being written and passed there and many members are not considering the short-term and long-term effects, and the effects that may not be obvious right away or ever. Critical thinking that I’ve developed at GC I think has really helped me to sift through the rhetoric and bluster and made me a better informed citizen."
Now that the internship is over, Webb hopes it will propel him into politics or a political think tank, like the Cato Institute after graduation.
"I think this internship helped me to reach my long-term goals, because now I have the knowledge of politics I’ve developed over the last three years backed up by practical, hands-on experience. I have connections now in D.C. that I can fall back on if I do decide to pursue a career on Capitol Hill. And I think most importantly it’s helped me to narrow down my career options, so as I enter this last year of college, I can focus on what I need to do to achieve those long-term career goals."