A Fresh Start

Tracy Oberle
August 2, 2013

The past two months have been such a learning experience. Writing letter to senators, going on lobby visits, and doing research on current legislation is not originally how I planned to spend the summer after my first year of college, but I am beyond happy that I did. I was able to immerse myself in the political world; absorbing all the acronyms and names of politicians. I also had the chance to do some self- reflection while in D.C., which led me to the conclusion that I want to use my passion for politics when I return to my home state of Michigan.

Growing up I spent a large portion of my summers traveling between Bay City and Detroit to cheer for the Detroit Tigers with my dad. I saw the city when its economy was steady and automotive jobs were readily available. After the recession I watched Detroit, a city I grew to love, spiral into a rapid downfall. The city’s great buildings were suddenly abandoned and tourism declined because of the increasing violence in the city. Recently, the city of Detroit became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy. This was a bittersweet day for me. Detroit could have a fresh start now but there are also economic consequences to this decision.

Working with the Columbans made me realize that in order to bring about political change one must make the human connection to what is happening on the ground. A story strengthens statistics. This experience is invaluable to me. I have learned about public policy and the political process by true firsthand experience. I can’t think of a better way to prepare for a career serving the people of Michigan.