May 10, 2017

Hello D.C., It’s me, Erin

By Erin Holt

Today was my first full day on the Hill and it was better than I could have expected. My first word of advice is start the day with a good breakfast, you have no idea how long it might be until you get to eat again. After eating a vegan protein shake, I headed to Dirksen (by Uber because in my case it is a lot faster than the metro), which is on the Senate side, and watched a hearing on the modernization of the Endangered Species Act. My second piece of advice, especially to the ladies, is wear comfortable shoes and bring a nice pair of shoes in your bag. If you are dead set on wearing your pretty flats (notice I did not say heels), then definitely pick up some mole skin. Attending the hearing was amazing. It was interesting to hear the testimony from experts on the subject, the format of the proceedings, and to see how little time the Senators remain in the room. They mostly ask their questions and leave. It makes me wish I could follow them around for a little and see how many hearings they enter a day. After the hearing, I went to Rayburn on the House side to get gallery passes from my Congressman. Then I enjoyed a shrimp Po-boy at Sonoma which is just a few blocks down on the Hill side. I had about thirty minutes to kill until my next meeting, so I went to the Jefferson Library of Congress and took in a little of the architecture.

My second hearing of the day was in the Capitol in the Senate meeting rooms and it was on “Trumpcare and the High Cost to Families” and was televised on C-SPAN. Since I am a dual DVM and MPH student, I also have interests in the current discussions around reforming the ACA, so I am pumped to be in Washington during this time. The panel of experts were so moving and it was amazing to see every Senator I admire gathered into one place. My third piece of advice is get good at going through security check points. If you are going into the Hill buildings (Dirksen, Cannon, etc.) then you can put everything in a purse and put it on the belt to be scanned. Men, you may want to consider getting a satchel so you can load everything up too. If you are going into the Capitol building, then they will also ask you to dump all your liquids outside. Also, the entrance to the Capitol building is actually below ground. There are police officers everywhere and they are very friendly if you have any questions about getting around. After the hearing, I Ubered home, planned my schedule for my next day of visits, and tried to get in bed early for the next full day of events.