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Raymundo Reyes: Blogs

Week Seven: Reflect on CHCI Experience

Raymundo Reyes

I have only traveled to few places throughout my life, such as California, Texas, and Mexico, but I had never really stepped out of that comfort zone of my Mexican American community. Back home, I could only imagine what it would be like to live in another part of the country. I wanted to step out of Arizona and gain a new perspective – and that’s exactly what has happened. I can barely describe it, but I feel as if my mind has been opened. Next, I had never had a job before this summer, so I had no idea what to expect and I was very nervous. However, everything went smoothly from day one, and the people in my office were very welcoming. Aside from learning how the Hill works, I have also grown as a person. I don’t feel locked in or isolated from world – I feel like I am a part of it, and I have met people from different backgrounds that I have so much respect for. For the new interns, I recommend for you take advantage of every opportunity here in DC. Get to know your fellow interns, for you all have the potential to create special bonds. I want to congratulate the next interns on their selection, and I am here for anyone that needs me.

Week Four: The Voices of the American People

Raymundo Reyes

In a polarized country, it is important for the courts to stay independent. During her confirmation hearing, Elena Kagan said, “The court must respect the choices made by the American people,” which is something the courts must do in the current political climate. The country is currently divided between liberals and conservatives, and it is important for Kagan to remain impartial and not just vote with her political views whenever a case comes to her – and this is what makes the judicial branch the most unique, for it is not dictated by public opinion. I believe that Kagan will exceed all expectations as a Supreme Court judge just as she has exceeded in her career. I went to briefing that discussed the effects of the nomination of Elena Kagan, and one of the panelists said that in some instances only a woman could understand certain things that happen to other women. I agree, and this is another reason why I believe she will be a great addition to the court.

Week Three: Highlights of the Hill

Raymundo Reyes

Working on Capitol Hill is amazing! My first two days were a little slow. I learned to handle the phone and constituents, and I also learned how to sort the mail. However, I started going to hearings the third day and it has been amazing. I’ve been attending hearings on racial profiling, the immigration system, cyber-security, cyber-bullying, press freedom in the Americas, the future of the U.S. Post Office, and also about pollination. I love to learn new things, so I feel like I have hit jackpot. In addition, I am starting to see a lot of Members of Congress that I see on TV and also Members of Congress that have done a lot of good for the American people. My boss, Congressman Ed Pastor from Arizona, is simply amazing. I have also met Congressmen Grijalva, Stupak, and Rangel. I have seen Kucinich, Pelosi, Reid, and Hoyer. I just need to meet Congressman Gutierrez, and I will be a happy man. The people in my office are amazing, including my supervisor, who really wants me to learn as much as I can. The toughest challenge I have had so far are the angry constituent callers. I have to be courteous no matter how outrageous or insulting the callers’ comments are. Also, getting lost in the sub-basement is inevitable…why don’t they have maps? Finally, I love writing down the constituents' messages or comments to the congressman, because he actually reads them. This may seem like the easiest task in the world; however, it's very important to Congressman Pastor, and I feel extremely proud every time I write these messages down.

Week One: First Week in Washington, DC

Raymundo Reyes

Orientation week was intense. Clearly, the ropes course was what stood out to me the most. There was an activity where we were latched on to a rope. Then, we had to pull that latch to break ourselves free from the rope, which would then send us swinging back and forth at a fairly high altitude. I cannot describe it any clearer, but I can only describe how scared I was. Guess what, I was volunteered to go first! I had no idea what to expect…our instructor, Chad, told me what to do, but he never told me what was going to happen. I knew it was going to be scary though. However, I purposely put on a macho act so that I wouldn’t scare the others…because they all look up to me. Just kidding! I was scared and it showed! One last thing that struck me the most happened after our first reception. We walked across the capitol building and through the park area during the evening. There weren’t any tourists, and everything looked beautiful and serene. As we walked through the park area, we saw fireflies. The weather was perfect and I felt like staying there forever.