August 12, 2015

Living the life of a U.S. Senate intern:

An interview

By Daniel Arens

Hazen Star: How did you find out about the internship possibility?
Molly Johnson: I found out about this internship through a family friend whose daughter had interned for former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan. I mentioned to her I wanted to go into the political field, and she suggested that I look into interning for a Senator as well. That’s when I remembered everything I had read about Senator Heitkamp as a “Democratic rebel” who is a straight shooter when it comes to politics – always standing up for the best interests of North Dakotans whether it’s popular or not.
 
Hazen Star: What motivated you to apply for the internship position?
Molly Johnson: I have always had a passion for public service. Last year I traveled to Ghana and worked for a Child Trafficking non-governmental organization, and this summer I decided I wanted to see the government side of public service. I knew Senator Heitkamp is very committed to helping not only North Dakotans but people from outside the state as well, given her leadership against human trafficking. So, for me, applying to her office was a very simple decision.

Hazen Star: What was your reaction when you got the position?
Molly Johnson: Well, it’s a funny story. I knew that Senate internships in any office are very competitive and didn’t think my chances were very high, so I actually didn’t think I would get the internship. So when Bryce, the intern coordinator, called to offer me the position, I replied, “Seriously?” Reality didn’t sink in until he assured me that I had gotten the internship. But then I became extremely excited and thanked him 100 times for the opportunity.

Hazen Star: How long does the internship last?
Molly Johnson: I began my internship in Sen. Heitkamp’s Washington, D.C., office in the beginning of June and will sadly end in the middle of August.

Hazen Star: What do you hope to gain from this experience with Senator Heitkamp that will help you in the future?
Molly Johnson: Before entering the internship, I hoped to gain a better understanding about how the congressional process works. After being here, I have gained so much more of a perspective. I learned how the Senator’s staff works with each other and other states and groups to create viable legislation. The office gave us the opportunity to talk with prominent North Dakotans such as former Senators Dorgan and Conrad. Hearing from such prominent North Dakota leaders, and through my conversations with Sen. Heitkamp’s staff, I learned what it truly means to be passionate and how, if you are passionate about something, you can achieve it and make a real difference.

 


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