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Profiles in Liberty: Daniel Simmons

by Dan Barrett / /

NTUF takes a holistic approach to help educate the next generation of policy experts.  We give our interns the chance to improve upon their policy and communication skills, but we also want them to hone their critical thinking skills so they can analyze their own political beliefs.They are encouraged to sit in onhearings on Capitol Hill, attend seminars about how to make the best use of their time in Washington, D.C., and NTUF hosts lunch discussions where we consider some of today’spressing political issues and the differing perspectives in public policy.

NTUF Research Intern Daniel Simmons

One intern who especially enjoys our lunch discussions is Daniel Simmons.  Daniel lives in Houston, Texas with his wife and three kids. He went to the University of Houston, where he worked towards a BA in Communications.  After graduating, he founded Pressure Washing America.  Daniel is quite proud of how his business has grown over the past five years.  Last year, he returned to the University of Houston in Victoria, where he is seeking his MBA.  This summer, Daniel moved his family to Washington, D.C. so that, while he is working, his kids can have a hands-on history lesson as they explore the city.

What has been your favorite part of living in the DC area?

DS: Sight-seeing.  I have been to the Capitol Building, seen the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, visited Mount Vernon, and toured the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. 

Who are your heroes?

DS: I really admire my dad.  He raised three kids on his own.  I also admire Milton Friedman.  Not only do I agree with his work as an economist, he made difficult-to-understand economic principles palatable and accessible to many people.

How did you become interested in politics?

DS: I enjoy listening to Michael Berry, a radio show host based in Houston, TX, and this spiraled into an ever-growing interest in politics.

What have you learned while working at NTUF that has been most interesting to you?

DS: I find the sheer volume of bills that are introduced into Congress to be very interesting.  Before coming to NTUF and working on the BillTally project, I had no concept of the number of bills which are introduced, and I didn’t understand how little a percentage of these bills will actually become law.

What obstacles to success do you feel that you have worked to overcome while at NTUF?

DS:  When I first arrived at NTUF, I was daunted by the length of the U.S. Code; trying to find and understand the section of the Code that each bill is trying to amend was difficult.  But, with experience, this has become easier.

Why did you choose to work at NTUF?

DS: I am very interested in the out-of-control spending of the federal government, and I feel that, by working at NTUF, I will gain insight into how our government uses our money and why expenditures keep increasing year after year. 

What has been the most interesting bill which you have researched?

DS: I researched a bill that would repeal a section of the Affordable Care Act.  This bill was interesting because it gave me more insight into one of the many facets of the Affordable Care Act, namely that insurance companies could be bailed out with tax dollars.  It also surprisedme that Congress would have to pass a bill in order to determine whether or not taxpayers would support these possible bailouts. 

Do you have any advice for future interns?

DS: Learn as much as you can during your time at your organization.  While it may not seem like it, your time there will go fast, and the people you are working for have a vast amount of knowledge.  Take advantage of this, and try and learn as much as possible from them.  Also, in D.C., there are so many informative political events. If you are able, attend several of these.  Having an internship is a great opportunity, so don’t let it go to waste!

Stay tuned for an interview with Steve Adams coming out in a few days.  Be sure to check out the previous interview with Research Intern Gordon Miller.

Interested in learning about the other interns working for the Foundation this summer? Want to help the NTUF interns? Check out this post.

Thanks to Catherine Fitzhugh for developing the Profiles in Liberty series and interviewing our interns.