NTUF tries to school interns with the skills they need to succeed. During their time at NTUF Headquarters, research interns are given the title of Associate Policy Analysts and conduct much of the same research as full-time staffers. Through the months of reading legislation, conversing with personnel, and getting used to working in an office environment, we aim to help them excel, regardless of whether they end up in public policy.
Steve Adams is one of our Associate Policy Analysts. He grew up in Varina, Virginia, and attends Hampden-Sydney College. Entering college as a Physics major, he plans to graduate next year with a BA in Government. In previous summers, Steve worked as a rental car sales associate and has taken advantage of many internships; last summer he had the privilege of interning in the Congressional Office of Representative Robert Hurt, who represents Virginia’s Fifth District.
What has interested you most about living in the DC area?
SA: Growing up in a very rural town and attending college in a rural area, I haven’t had very much exposure to the “city life.” My experience over the past two and half weeks - though it has been a bit of an adjustment - has revealed to me why many folks find urban life so intriguing and desirable. There are definitely more things to do. Furthermore, the idea that so many important things are going on just a block or two away from my apartment is incredible. I can be sitting in my room simply watching baseball on TV and four blocks away, President Obama is sitting in the Oval Office making crucial decisions that dictate the future of our nation. It’s very humbling.
When you’re not at the office, what do you like to do for fun?
SA: I’ve been fortunate, and have made several solid friendships with my fellow interns at NTUF. If I’m not spending time with them, I’m spending time with the many college friends who are working in the DC area. Though I’m not from around here, I’m fortunate enough to know quite a few people that are living in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
What is one honor you have received in which you took great pride?
SA: I received a nomination to attend the United States Naval Academy. Unfortunately, because of my colorblindness, I was unable to attend. But, the honor of being deemed suitable and worthy to attend one of the greatest institutions of higher education in the world will always mean something to me.
Who is your political hero?
SA: For some time, Alexander Hamilton has been a political hero of mine. Born out of wedlock as a very poor, mixed race child in the Caribbean, Alexander Hamilton had many hardships to overcome. Despite his socioeconomic status, he rose to become one of the prominent political leaders of the 18th century and one of our key founding fathers. Were it not for his contributions to the Federalist Papers, there’s a reasonable chance that the Constitution would not have been ratified. His economic policies as the Secretary of the Treasury helped a struggling American economy recover from a severe depression in the 1780s, and his view of the power of the executive as outlined in the Pacificus Papers revolutionized the role of the executive branch in a way that (in my opinion) contributed to the success of the U.S. in both its early years and throughout its entire existence.
How did you become interested in politics?
SA: I wasn’t interested in politics until I took an AP Government class in 12th grade. My teacher, Mr. Boggs, was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about politics, and his class developed my interest in the subject. It was because of that class that I changed my college major from Physics to Government, and the rest is history.
What are your career aspirations?
SA: My career goals, like everything, are still developing. Though I’ve always dreamed of pursuing a career in public office, the changing political climate has me second-guessing that aspiration. Nevertheless, I want to be involved in Congressional affairs and/or public policy in some way or another. NTUF is the perfect organization to prepare me for this, as my responsibilities expose me to the actions of Congress, the inner workings of public policy, and the importance of tax reform.
What is a standard day at NTUF like for you?
SA: I grab a stack of proposed bills and begin researching. My research beings by looking through the text of the bill itself. Every now and then a bill will specify the amount of money that would be appropriated to fund a project or action. If it does not, however, I check the Congressional Budget Office for a spending estimate on the bill, but finding a CBO estimate is like finding a six-leaf clover. After that, the next step is typically contacting the sponsor’s office to see if they have an approximation of the spending or savings that would occur if the bill is enacted.
What have you learned while at NTUF that has most interested you?
SA: Undoubtedly, the most interesting thing that I have learned is how difficult it can be to figure out how much bills cost. Sometimes bills are so complicated that even the legislators who propose them and their staff know little about their cost.
What is the most interesting bill which you have researched?
SA: The most interesting bill I have researched thus far has been a sunset act. The bill would establish a commission to review federal agencies to see if they are being efficient and effective, as well as to see if there is still a public need for the agency. The commission would then be able to abolish agencies where they determine that a public need no longer exists.
Stay tuned for an interview with Jihun Han. Be sure to check out our previous interview with Research Intern Daniel Simmons.
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.