POULSBO — North Kitsap High School graduate Anisa Ashabi just completed an internship with Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) in Washington D.C.
The 19-year-old Washington State University student spent nine weeks working at the Capitol, and her duties consisted of attending briefings, foreign affairs committee, armed forces committee, answering phones, talking to constituents, sorting the mail and responding to emails.
“I was getting my hands on all aspects of the legislative office,” Ashabi said.
Prior to landing the internship, Ashabi applied to about 40 internships in total, ranging from sports, business and politics. She learned through Kilmer about a program called Handshake and decided she wanted to pursue it.
Ashabi even got to meet White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer in closed door meetings, which she said was really unexpected.
“At the beginning it was very surreal. The first two or so weeks I was by myself,” Ashabi said. “By the time the other interns got there, I was pretty comfortable.”
Being immersed in the day-to-day operations for a few months, she gained perspective for how politics really function.
“It’s a shame that so many people are not aware of how our government functions. Until you’re really there, you don’t understand the magnitude of how much picking up the phone and calling your representative has. First of all, register to vote. People are complaining but not voting. Somebody who sat for two months meticulously, I can say that Derek (Kilmer) really cares.”
In terms of Ashabi’s future plans, she wants to pursue other internships in DC involving the Senate or the Pentagon.
Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Tyler can be reached at email@example.com