Maroons see debt ceiling debate up close

by leslie on August 10, 2011

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Roanoke College student interns on Capitol Hill. From left to right, Courtney Garzione ’12, Kristina Breux ’12 and Megan Brinkley ’12.

Many of us watched the harried work of Congress in the days leading up to the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline from the calmer distance of television news broadcasts, online breaking news postings and daily newspapers.

Not Roanoke College student Kristina Breux ’12, who was right in the thick of it, working on Capitol Hill in the office of Connecticut Rep. John B. Larson, where she’s been interning this summer. In recent weeks, she’s fielded phone calls from confused, frustrated and angry constituents, set up caucus meetings and worked at a frenetic pace.

“I was working 65 hours a week,” said Breux in a phone interview Aug. 9, the last day of her internship. “It was craziness until [members of Congress] went into recess.”

Yet she wouldn’t trade the experience, particularly sitting in Rep. Larson’s office and watching on C-SPAN as Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, still recovering from gunshot wounds to the head, cast her debt-limit vote from the House floor.

“That was a really exciting moment, a really emotional moment,” Breux said.

On the Hill, Breux, an English major, was in the company of fellow Maroons Christine Bealer ’11, Meghan Brinkley ’12 and Courtney Garzione ’12.

Bealer, a political science and international relations double major, interned for Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia. Brinkley, a political science major, interned for Rep. J. Randy Forbes of Virginia. Garzione, an English major, interned for Rep. Nan Hayworth of New York. Bealer, Breux and Brinkley are Fowler Legacy Scholarship recipients.

“Looking back it was definitely a great experience,” Breux said. “Being in Washington, especially at this time, is something none of us will forget.

“We were definitely stressed out at times, but we’re all really happy that we did it. There’s no better way to learn than being right in middle of everything.”


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