Bradley Bottoms '14
Intern at: Office of U.S. Congressman John Garamendi
Major: Political Science - Public Service and Sociology - Organizational Studies
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“It’s amazing when you see the Member on the news after you’ve just briefed him, quoting a report you wrote for him. Your work can directly impact policy.”
Bradley Bottoms has the classic Washington, DC internship that political science students dream of - working in the office of U.S. Congressman John Garamendi. He is completely at home in Rep. Garamendi’s office, the Rayburn House Office Building, answering constituents’ questions and training new interns in how to give a tour of the Congress building as he navigates the tunnel between Rayburn and the U.S. Capitol building. He is encyclopedic in his knowledge of DC, sharing details about the construction of the U.S Capitol complex and explaining the history of Senator Rayburn, the longest serving Speaker of the House, who was also a mentor to LBJ.
Watching Bradley at work, it’s hard to believe that he hasn’t been groomed towards a political career all of his life.
The first in his family to attend college, Bradley originally wanted to attend culinary school. He fell in love with political science at UC Davis, where he became ASUCD vice president, participating in meetings and on committees convened by the Chancellor, Provost and other senior administrators. Bradley is the rare person who loves politics, but is not interested in fame or notoriety. He sees working behind the scenes in a Congressional office as an attractive career path. Committed to public service, he would like to be the kind of quiet leader who affects change without holding a public position.
What do you want to change?
An important part of our legislative work is called Make it in America. Congressman Garamendi is sponsoring two bills – one for renewable energy, and one for transit. That one calls for stronger standards for goods and equipment purchased with federal dollars for airports, highways, high-speed rail, trains and transit. For example, it would require that liquid natural gas be exported on US-made ships instead of ships made in South Korea. Four-star generals have participated in drafting this legislation. I want to see it become law.
How has Washington changed you?
I didn’t watch C-SPAN before [laughs]. I view government as more participatory than I used to.
You’re not more jaded now that you’ve seen politics from the inside?
In some ways – but working here shows you where you can do things – how things can get done.
What is life like in DC?
In Washington, the sentiment is “Work hard, play hard.” It’s challenging, but it’s an exciting challenge. You work at a high level – there is a level of performance that is expected. But you also make the most of your free time. This is an amazing city – the museums, monuments and social life. Living in UCDC is like being back in the dorms – it’s fun to be back with like-minded people passionate about helping society. You don’t always get to live with a group of two hundred students in DC passionate about influencing change.