For the second year in a row, Summit Christian Academy ninth-grade student Andrew Hartzler traveled to Washington, D.C. for a special job-shadow opportunity.
“My aunt is Congress member Vicky Hartzler,” Andrew said. “She knows that I am interested in a career in politics and she invited me to shadow her in D.C.”
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler has been the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 4th congressional district since 2011. The district includes most of the western and central parts of the state. She represented District 124 in the Missouri House of Representatives from 1995 to 2000.
The job-shadow opportunity was anything but typical. Andrew had the opportunity to observe and assist the Congresswoman as she worked with lawmakers and constituents in D.C. From managing her office and personnel, to discussing potential legislation with other representatives from her party, Andrew obtained an up-close and personal view of the life of a person in politics.
“There is a system of underground tunnels that connects the three House office buildings with the Library of Congress. These aren’t accessible to the public – I could only go through there because I was part of this program,” Andrew Hartzler said. “But it was cool to see how our lawmakers from both sides get around in the tunnels. They were more than just tunnels. They were nicely decorated with artwork from the representatives’ districts.”
Andrew’s job-shadow has been more than just following Rep. Hartzler around.
“Congresswoman Hartzler is more than just a mentor. She has given me really good advice about how to plan for my future,” Andrew said. “My aunt has been a great resource and encouraged me in the type of platform that I would want to create in politics some day.”
“I want to enter public life after college and I want to be remembered for having made a difference. Congresswoman Hartzler advised me not to major in political science, but to think more broadly, like she has,” said Andrew. “She began her career as a teacher. She uses that to communicate to the people in her district that she understands their perspective, that she can relate to them. I have an interest in medicine and psychology. I can use these together to create a strong platform, and to carry my faith with me.”
Andrew Hartzler plans to return to Washington next summer with hopes of strengthening relationships with the movers and shakers he’s met through his aunt.
“My first summer in Washington was very overwhelming,” he said. “I could just barely take it all in. This summer, I was able to process a bit better. I could focus a little more. Next year, I will continue to build relationships with people.”