Last week, all week, I was in our nation’s Capitol with my RLND classmates. To be honest with you I wasn’t looking forward to the trip, as I had to help plan the trip and have been talking about it for two months. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The trip proved to be an incredible way to bond with my classmates, as well as, visit old friends. Now I lived in DC for a brief stint of only three months, about 5 years ago, and it was fun to come back.
The first day we arrived and went on the Old Town Trolley to visit all of the monuments. Normally I would’ve been bored to death with this, I’ve seen them all, more than several times. But I was PUMPED to see the MLK memorial, something new and fantastic. If you’re ever in DC definitely check out this one.
The following three days were jam packed with meetings. We met with the USDA, Department of Ed., National League of Cities and the ND Delegation. That was very fun, as we had a chance to see Dakota. We also got to be hearing crashers in the Senate Ag hearing, their main focus that day was local foods and feeding America that way. The hearing was run by none other than Debbie Stabenow Democrat from Michigan. On a NDFU Fly-In that I attended in 2006 I had the pleasure of meeting her. She is well versed in agriculture as Michigan surprisingly has quite an extensive agriculture community. It was interesting discussion and Sec. Vilsack was testifying, all in all good educational material.
On Friday we had a chance for some free time. The group toured the White House, and then we were on our own. I went and met up with a friend at the Dubliner. Then that evening the RLND group went to Capitol Steps, a comedy skit designed around political mishaps. They make fun of both political parties, if you are into politics at all and looking for a great show I’d highly recommend it. That evening went and met up with friend that I hadn’t seen in five years! We spent the night reminiscing and creating new memories.
The thing that struck me the most was how much people don’t know about government. I call my representative and senator quite often, try to every week. I had no idea people didn’t know they could do that. Or how farmers and ranchers have national organizations working in DC on their behalf everyday, they’re there and they work hard for you! So get involved, pick up the phone, because while it’s great to go to DC and see the ropes, it’s even better to offer your input from back home. Because back home is what counts!
Shop talk tonight in Hettinger and Regional TAG meetings tomorrow. I’ll see you on the road!