Fighting Food Insecurity on Capitol Hill


I am so grateful for all that I learned through working with Congressman Lawson. I was truly able to immerse myself in the governmental process this summer. I believe that the skills and connections I made will serve as a springboard for more unique opportunities in the future.


This summer I interned at the House of Representatives as a part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s emerging leaders program. The program is a leadership institute for emerging African-American leaders throughout the country. It helps develop, train, and prepare millennial servant leaders to tackle the problems that face the African-American community.  A major component of the program is interning on Capitol Hill with a member of the Caucus. Through the program I attended political seminars with senior African-American leaders like the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, various lobbyists, and Capitol Hill staff.

I interned in the office of Congressman Al Lawson, who represents Florida’s 5th Congressional District. This district stretches from just west of Leon County all the way east to Duval County, and is composed of a majority of minorities. This district faces a lot of unique challenges such as access to housing, jobs, and nutrition. In fact, the latter two issues (jobs and nutrition) have been identified by Congressman Lawson as critically important, causing him to make both a legislative priority. The unemployment rate in the 5th Congressional District is 8.2% which is 3% higher than the national average. Food insecurity is also a huge problem. In the past 12 months, one in four citizens have depended on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at some point. In fact, six of the nine counties in the district have the highest rates of food insecurity in Florida.

This summer, I drafted up talking points for press conferences and press availabilities. I wrote an op-ed that was published in the Tallahassee Democrat and in the Times New Union, which focused on the Senate’s inability to act in a bipartisan manner on health care reform. I also took the opportunity to write and edit Congressman Lawson’s remarks for speaking engagements. All of these efforts put together helped to vastly improve my political communication skills.

I am so grateful for all that I learned through working with Congressman Lawson. I was truly able to immerse myself in the governmental process this summer. I believe that the skills and connections I made will serve as a springboard for more unique opportunities in the future.


william.jpgAbout the author: William Whitmire is part of the Social Science Scholars class of 2018, double majoring in Political Science and Editing, Writing, and Media.

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