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I want to change the cynical, bitter stigma attached to politics. Many only see corruption and greedy lobbying, but politics is my outlet to solve the growing problems of our modern world. Nothing else has the potential to affect the lives of every single human being.
Walking into Senator Bob Wieckowski’s district office on my first day, I had read California Legislature Vol. 4 cover to cover and researched every nuance of the senator’s political agenda. My greatest fear was boring intern work. Thankfully, from the moment I was given my own office and government profile, I knew I wouldn’t be delivering decafs.
I was tasked with resolving voters’ personal concerns while leading a team to organize community events. I will never forget my phone call with Mrs. Torres. She could no longer afford the rent after her husband passed away. Her sobbing turned to joy as I explained Wieckowski’s Senate Bill 501, which lowered wage garnishment for low income workers. I sent my notes of our conversation to the senator, who used them in committee to show the bill’s potential impact. Mrs. Torres retained her home after the bill passed.
Having direct, meaningful impact on people in my community was truly a dream come true. A small taste of real responsibility was all it took to light a fire within me. I began pursuing more influential tasks, such as writing drafts for the Senator’s speeches and representing him at ceremonial events. However, I learned the most when I watched him in action.
“Get the bill through committee today, or you’re dead to me!” he screamed.
Senator Wieckowski’s voice boomed through the halls and filled my ears with delight. It was the sound of progress. He put his whole heart behind each of his bills, even crossing partisan lines to get them passed. Senator Wieckowski embodies what many elected officials have forgotten: politics is the governing of PEOPLE. He isn’t just the type of politician I hope to become, but rather the type of person I strive to be.
I stared at my boss from the Senate Chamber balcony. I couldn’t help but imagine myself in his seat. As the committee meeting began, Senator Wieckowski turned toward me.
“I’d like to acknowledge my summer intern, Preston Liu, for his service to District 10…,” he announced.
As he explained my service, I rose over the smiles and applause of every California Senator. I knew I belonged in that room.
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