Republican Congressman Bob Gibbs, representative for Ohio’s 7th district, has created an internship position on his staff for an Ashbrook Scholar. “An internship is a great way to experience firsthand public policy issues and the workings of Congress up close,” said Gibbs. “Joining forces with the Ashbrook Center will provide us with a highly skilled group of young adults. This experience will provide those students with a chance to work toward representing Ashland through our office.”
Cory Odenkirk, a rising senior from West Salem, Ohio, is the first Scholar to benefit from this opportunity. He spent two months in Washington, DC this summer, handling constituent affairs and providing administrative assistance to the Congressman’s scheduler and legislative aides.
“If Cory is any indication of the caliber of students who will be interning in our office, Ohio’s 7th District is very lucky to have this relationship,” Congressman Gibbs commented.
Cory helped shepherd a bill to make a commemorative coin for the Football Hall of Fame—a project of both Gibbs and Representative Jim Renacci, of the 16th Ohio District. The Hall of Fame is located in Canton, and representation for its metropolitan area is divided between the 7th and 16th Districts. Odenkirk worked part-time last summer in the district office of Rep. Renacci in Wadsworth.
During his summer in Washington, Odenkirk was also allowed time to observe the Congressman’s policy work, attending meetings of two committees on which Gibbs serves, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Agriculture Committee of the House. “The work of the committees is very complicated, with a lot more overlap between various policy areas than I ever thought,” Odenkirk observed. As an example, he described sessions of the Agriculture Committee that heard testimony from businesses struggling to comply with ambiguously defined provisions of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
Another opportunity that Odenkirk particularly enjoyed was an intern lecture series with daily events, featuring an impressive array of speakers, from Congressional leaders, to nationally-known journalists, to such prominent figures as General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Each lecture included a lengthy and off-the-record question-and-answer period, not unlike Ashbrook Scholar sessions with visiting speakers.
Odenkirk thanked Representative Gibbs and his “compassionate, knowledgeable, and hard-working staff” for the opportunity to spend a summer with them. “They really made me feel welcomed as a part of the office. They were always willing to answer my questions and help me out in any way, while providing me with learning opportunities not always afforded to interns,” he said.
This fall, Representative Gibbs welcomes another Ashbrook Scholar, Kate Brickner, as an intern in his district office, which is located in Ashland.