UD Abroad Blog

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Unexpected Meetings in Washington, D.C.

Submitted by Rony Baltazar-Lopez on the 2017 spring semester program in Washington, D.C. …

Another exciting week to be in Washington, D.C. as it is anticipated—yet doubtfully—another government shutdown due to the political gridlock between the two parties. This Tuesday, Senator Carper met with the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, who gave the Senator an update on Puerto Rico politics. I was fortunate to be able to attend this closed meeting, and although it was a brief one, I sure gained some knowledge about what is going on in Puerto Rico. This was an opportunity of a lifetime and clearly reflects the perks of working on Capitol Hill as ordinary staff members get to see important officials—something the ordinary person would not be able to do. Although Puerto Rican politics is not of my highest importance, I can consider this opportunity a rewarding one in which I was able to understand a little better the complicated world of international relations.

This week was very unexpected in terms of who I met. On Thursday, I was told I would have to give a Capitol tour to 20 ICE—Immigration and Customs Enforcement—agents. I was hesitant as it had been my first tour with that many people, but thankfully another intern assisted and we were able to handle the tour. One of the members told me during the tour that they had to be at the Speakers Balcony at 10:30 a.m. because they had scheduled a photo shoot with Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. He told us that because the other intern and I had given them a tour, that we would also be allowed a photo—and that’s when my mouth dropped (literally). Although I had been to the Speaker’s Balcony before, when I arrived, it was breathtaking as the sun was shining and the Capitol looked more beautiful than ever. We waited for about 15 minutes when suddenly Speaker Ryan walks out and greets us all. As I shake his hand, I said “Hi Mr. Speaker, my name is Rony” and he smiles and says “Hi Rony, I’m Paul.”