Reported by Avery Shivers (Christchurch School)
I awoke at 6:30 a.m. to the sound the song "I’ll Make a Man Out of You" from Disney's Mulan blaring from my roommate's alarm clock. By 7:15 a.m. we were all out the door and on our way to the Virginia Capitol building in Richmond.
The majority of our morning was spent listening to some of the staffers and other political workers who keep the Commonwealth’s government going behind the scenes, including Brian Coy, Kalia Sokos, Chris West, Khaki LaRiviere, Ray Lamura, and Kelly Fitzgerald. Each speaker provided a unique perspective on everything from overviewing legislation to lobbying, Senate sessions, and working for politicians. One theme all of these speakers emphasized was that governance is not just about the three formal branches, nor merely a matter high-profile names like Barack Obama or Donald Trump.
Following the speakers, the HSLP group toured the Capitol and then the Governor’s Mansion. One of the tours was a Virginia historical tour through the Virginia Capitol building. The tour guide took the group through the capitol building’s unique and historical rooms, including both the Senate and House of Delegates legislative rooms. He also ensured that we got our fill of references to the musical Hamilton.
Overall, today provided the group with an up-close and personal view of Virginia politics with the help of engaging speakers and tours. As our final day here at the HSLP approaches, I have become much more sentimental about the time I’ve spent here these past few weeks. Here's to finishing strong!