Today a journey ends. Frankly a journey I never intended to take, but one that has filled my life with joy, my career with fulfillment, and my person with accomplishment. I have learned more than I ever thought possible. This journey has been one of the greatest loves of my life.
There have highs and lows. Legislative victories and defeats. Political battles fought and won, sometimes lost. Government shutdowns, landmark legislative initiatives, Supreme Court decisions – like President Bush’s victory and Gay Marriage. Inaugurations, State of the Unions, Visiting Heads of States, and the Presidential funerals of Presidents Reagan and Ford. The final fly-over of the Space Shuttle.
It has been an amazing ride indeed. I have seen the world – without enlisting in the Navy – met heads of state and helped direct public policy. I believe that the work we engaged in on the Hill touched the lives of people we do not know – hopefully always in a positive way. I have worked on the Hill during the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations.
When I started this career, the street in front of the Capitol was an open roadway – right in front of the steps leading into the building! I will never forget the sights and tragic sounds of a terrorist attack on our country.
I witnessed the challenges to a Member and his staff of working in the minority and the heavy burden of governing while in the majority. And through it all, I have followed a dream – from my first day on the Hill as an Intern for then Congressman Bill McCollum in 1983 to the Chief of Staff for Congressman Ander Crenshaw today.
I have been blessed to work for two of the finest men who have ever walked the halls of the nation’s Capitol. I have made more friends than I can count. And most importantly, I am honored to say that I served alongside the most amazing and talented staff in Congress.
I recently parked on the Capitol Plaza and waited for the Congressman to exit the building after votes and looked up at the Capitol Dome against a clear blue early evening sky. It was a majestic site. From the very first time I walked in front of the Capitol and its impressive Dome, it has always represented the strength, diversity and resolve of a free people. While Congress has taken hits over the years, and more specifically over the last few weeks, that Dome remains a testament to our national motto, “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.
Grasping that concept is hard for many who have lost the ability to engage in the art of dialogue, the discipline of discernment, and the statesmanship of compromise. Watching this concept in action is even harder. It’s not always pretty, but when you think about all the peoples, races, religions, view points and ancestries that exist in the United States today, it’s hard to imagine that anything gets done.
Yet, at the end of the day, the system works – generally – as envisioned. Being a part of that process – even with its warts – has been remarkable and gratifying.
It is a bittersweet time for me as this fascinating, fast paced, challenging, and incredible journey comes to an end. I am excited for the next chapter of my life, but today, I am fondly reflecting on my life as a Congressional Staffer.