Student Story: Dylan Tinney
Student Works with Governor Chris Christi
Two and a half hours after leaving my apartment, I swipe my badge at the State House entrance in New Jersey. Doors at each end of a long hallway swing open. I make my way to the Office of Constituent Relations on the third floor. Carole, the office manager pleasantly greets me in her office while I sign in. On a shelf next to her desk there is an assignment packet waiting for me. Inside are letters and emails from the public to Governor Chris Christie. My job is to draft each a response worthy of his signature.
On the way back to my office I run into Jesse, my boss. He briefs me on the political context of the correspondence in my packet: the Governor's educator tenure reform proposal, budget adjustments, Port Authority toll hikes, etc. He also hands me a stack of edits from my drafts last Friday – a letter of recognition needs to sound less salutatory, language in a response to a ten year old needs be diluted, and so on. I spend most of the day drafting and editing.
Around 3:00 someone informs me that it is the Governor's birthday and everyone is going to his chamber for cake. I straighten my tie and join the others from the Office of Constituent Relations in our hall. We march down single file, our ranks running up along those of other offices as if this is an evacuation drill. Few forces coordinate the efforts of government as efficiently as cake.
The Governor walks within inches of me on his way to the massive cake. Before blowing out the candles, he delivers a short speech, punctuated by dry humor. His presence is tremendous. While the cake is cut, he meanders through the crowd, seeming gracious and genuinely interested in those gathered to meet him. After shaking a number of hands, he sequesters himself in a side room and alone with some old colleagues he enjoys his cake. Though disappointed in myself for not meeting him, I know there will be other opportunities. This is, after all, my first week. For now, I have a new appreciation for my job and the man I work for, the man so many want to be our next president.
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