From West to East – Che Che Turrubiartez

OUT ON THE HILL is the official blog of the Victory Congressional Interns. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of LGBTQ Victory Institute. 

My name is José Turrubiartez, I am a gay Latino man and currently study at the University of San Diego in California with a major in politics. Originally from Chicago, I was recently looking for an internship and found the Victory Institute Congressional Internship which had a broad appeal to me. For starters I was instantly draw in by the advances the Victory Institute which is part of the Victory Fund, an organization that has focused on getting LGBTQ candidates into office, furthermore their summer program that placed interns on capitol hill was very exciting. After being interviewed I earned a spot as one of the twelve 2018 Victory Congressional Interns (VCI). My experience so far has been amazing and extremely rewarding.

The first week of interning at the Capitol has been very exciting. My placement is with the office of Senator Bob Menéndez from the state of New Jersey in the Hart Senate Office building. My assignments are with the Foreign Policy staffer, Rosanna Hernandez, and the Veterans Affairs staffer, John Butchko. The amount of information that was handed out was immense and addressed the way to dress while the Senate was in session to how to properly staple documents. The first week consisted of transcribing a discussion on North Korea’s Smile Diplomacy, followed by a presentation on Guatemala and the violence in the country, I ended the week by creating a report on the Veterans Affairs Intimate Partner Violence program.

During the second week The Capital Visitor’s Center conducted a tour training for new interns, in which they walked us through the halls of the capitol building and gave us a in depth lecture of the history and the architecture of the Capital. In addition to the tour training, we also got information on how to properly evacuate and respond in the case of an emergency. As part of the internship one of the jobs is to provide tours for constituents and guest of the Senator.

One of the biggest takeaways from the week was being able to research and talk in depth about subjects I know little to nothing about. Most people my age like to focus on issues that are popular, however it is extremely important to diversify and explore issues which aren’t so popular such as foreign policy.

It really is incredible to be here, individuals such as myself often are not given the opportunity to intern for the U.S. Senate. The Victory Institute has taken on the task of creating a path, so that individuals such as myself who are gay, Mexican-American, and brown have the chance to engage in our government and be the change we want to see in our community and country’s future.