We glided down the maze of corridors beneath the Capitol Building, getting lost at every corner it seemed. We roamed places only Capitol Hill workers roamed, in search for our highly anticipated interview with Congressman Steny Hoyer. Finally we arrived at room 144. Inside, the walls and ceiling had beautiful murals and portraits of different Marylanders that had signed the constitution. They gazed down at us, instilling confidence. While stuck in a haze of awe as we viewed the art, a sharply dressed man, with a true smile, interrupted our wonder. He immediately proceeded to walk around the table and shake every single one of our hands, leaving no one behind. He seemed to have everything that people look for in a politician.
We knew Congressman Hoyer had a very tight schedule so any time we got to spend with him was an honor to me. Congressman Hoyer talked about how John F. Kennedy was a huge influence on his choosing a career in politics. I loved hearing about the fact that not only did he follow what he found passion in, it took someone as influential as JFK to help him realize what he wanted to do with his life. This is comforting for me because at the moment I cannot pinpoint what passion or passions I want to influence my life. Now I know that there is still time for me to find this passion.
We only had time for three questions, but I was just as amazed by this interview as all the other ones. Congressman Hoyer did everything he could to make our interview with him great. He even called in his staff member named Alexis to meet our very own Alexis. I could tell that this was a genuine part of his personality, and one of his best gifts. He stayed until his time manager was practically jumping up and down, out of sheer nervousness. Despite our short amount of allotted time, I still managed to gather loads of useful advice from this densely packed interview.
As we rushed through the tunnels beneath the Capitol Building, twisting and turning our way down countless staircases and through security lines, a feeling of tremendous excitement overcame me. We were on our way to meet Congressman Hoyer, the House Democratic Whip, and arguably one of the most prominent figures on our list of interviewees. In our haste to make it to the interview on time, I could barely take in our surroundings, the vaulted ceilings and painted walls displaying scenes from our nation’s history. It was a majestic setting that matched the importance of the man we were about to meet.
When Congressman Hoyer walked into the room, the first thing I noticed was his smile and bright blue eyes. He went around and shook each of our hands, and throughout the interview made an effort to refer to each of us by our name. Congressman Hoyer is unique in how he manages to convey a deep sense of caring for everyone he meets. When we asked our questions, he responded with humor and questions of his own. What struck me the most about Congressman Hoyer was the truth behind his passion. Congressman Hoyer told us that he was far from a star student in high school, and almost failed out of college his first semester. However, after hearing John F. Kennedy speak in 1959, Mr. Hoyer realized his desire to make a change in the world, and developed a sense of purpose that was completely new to him. Today, one would never guess that Congressman Hoyer was ever a man without a driving force. He is precise in his words and clear in his meanings, filled with a fire that shows how much he believes in the cause he is working towards.
Although we only had about twenty minutes with him, Congressman Hoyer’s spirit made it seem like we had known him for years. In his concluding advice he said to us, “Bring energy, faith, and focus into what you are doing, and you will make a difference.” Congressman Hoyer is an example of a person who has taken his passion and used it to make the world a better place. Our conversation with him is one that will stay with me for many years to come.