Etcetera - 12/24/10

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From an early age, Walla Wallan Amanda Fleming has embraced current events with a passion. She was surrounded by political discussions at home and she watched the news on television to stay informed while in elementary school.

"Keeping up with local issues seemed like the responsible thing to do," Amanda said in an article by Betsy Fradd, Washington State University Extension 4-H, in Forever Green, the Washington State 4-H quarterly magazine. Her patriotism and sense of involvement sprang from a trip in 2009 to Washington, D.C., which ignited a deep interest in politics. That year she graduated from high school and earned a two-year degree from Walla Walla Community College.

"When I saw all the legislative buildings I was like a kid in a candy shop. I knew I had to live here and serve my country in a congressional office," she said.

She jumped into the political arena through a summer internship at Fifth District Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers' local office.

"Working with constituents and learning more about issues relevant to Walla Walla residents fueled her drive to experience the political process in D.C.," the article noted.

She gained more exposure to the innerworkings in Congress through a subsequent three-month internship at McMorris Rodgers' office in the nation's capital. "I'm extremely intrigued by the legislative process. Watching a bill go through committee to the two chambers is great. I could watch CSPAN for hours."

While in Washington, D.C., she worked on constituent issues with legislative aides, answered e-mails and phone calls, and met with others on Capitol Hill, which helped her learn how to accomplish tasks to benefit people in her home district.

She said much of her interest in politics comes from 4-H. During her membership in Dry Creek 4-H Club, she held several leadership positions and for two years was a county teen representative.

She had more experience with legislative issues and lawmakers through state 4-H Know Your Government conferences in Olympia. "Know Your Government helped me learn the basics of our government and put into perspective how I could create positive change," she said.

Amanda currently works full time in McMorris Rodgers' Walla Walla office. "I love my job. People want to be heard and I'm a conduit between them and the congresswoman." In addition to meeting with local residents and dealing with their concerns Amanda is now learning immigration case work.

She wants to continue working in the district office for a couple years and then see what's next. "I want to always make a difference in my community."

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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