King's student spends summer on Capitol Hill
Senior James Nordby found himself in the middle of history while working for Senator Wayne Allard--By Jonathon M. Seidl
When he got an internship on Capitol Hill this past summer, senior and PP&E major James Nordby didn’t realize he’d be right in the middle of history. But on August first, that’s exactly where he was.
It was on that day that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quickly adjourned for the summer before the U.S. House of Representatives could vote on a domestic energy (offshore drilling) bill. But Republicans, eager to vote, didn’t let that stop them from staging a protest—they put their vacations on hold.
For five hours House Republicans stayed on the floor delivering speeches and even singing songs. Some lawmakers who did leave returned to the floor, creating a shocking scene when they re-entered wearing shorts and sandals. Periodically the lights and the microphones were shut off, but the speeches continued. As the afternoon progressed, the Congressmen invited staffers, bystanders, and even Cub Scouts to take a place on the floor and in the gallery. Nordby, an intern with Senator Wayne Allard (R-Col) and the Health and Finance department was one such invitee.
“I happened to be in the Capitol building when it started, and was able to hear first-hand the initial fiery speeches made to a packed gallery,” Nordby said. “I was even able to go on the House floor to hear more Congressmen give speeches, something that is practically never allowed.”
Such an experience would have been enough to keep Nordby on cloud nine for the rest of the summer, but the day wasn’t over yet.
While walking through the Capitol later that day, he stumbled across Nancy Pelosi talking to reporters. Eager to hear her version of the events, he shuffled near the pack.
“I went over to Pelosi, pulled out a notebook, and started taking notes so I would fit in,” he recalled. His impromptu role as a reporter paid off. WORLD magazine later published his account of the events on its online webzine.
Besides covering congressional coups, Nordby sorted and responded to constituent mail, performed other administrative tasks, and gave tours of the Capitol building. While in D.C., he lived with other King’s students interning at various organizations throughout the city.
“All in all, I'd say it was a pretty historic summer to be in Washington,” Nordby said.
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