Intern of the Week: First Metro ride ever for Texan aide

Before arriving in Washington, Pedro Ramos had never seen a subway car. He had never been to the East Coast. The 19-year-old hails from the Texas panhandle town of Friona, which, he can tell you, has 3,654 residents. And two streetlights.

Now he’s here in D.C., interning in Rep. Rubén Hinojosa’s (D-Texas) office. The fast pace of city life was a shock to Ramos — especially the Metro.

“The first time I got here, I said, ‘What the heck is that?’” he recalled with wide eyes.

Now he is entirely at ease in his new surroundings. Conducting tours, he said, gives him a thrill.

Unlike many summer interns, he recognizes the faces of lawmakers across the Hill: Ramos had always been an avid C-SPAN watcher.

“I thought that Congressman [Henry] Waxman (D-Calif.) was a bigger guy,” Ramos said. “I guess TV does that to you.”

He also heard that people in the city were rude, D.C. being so close to New York. But he finds most Washingtonians friendly.

Though he has nothing but good things to say about his current situation, he admitted to missing his parents and three siblings in Texas.

“And Mexican food,” he added.

Ramos was born in Mexico, near Mexico City. When he was four, his mother, now a custodian, crossed the border at Tijuana to reunite the family with his father, who was working in the States. They lived in Los Angeles as illegal immigrants, then moved to a ranch town in Texas where Ramos’s father had been offered a job as a farmhand.

There Ramos attended what he called “a school for cowboy kids,” where he was the only Hispanic. Now, as a pre-law student at West Texas A&M University, he is the first from either side of his family to graduate from high school. The sophomore will be the first to graduate from college as well. He plans to focus on immigration law.

About the immigration debate, he said, “We have to be patient.”

A summer in the political heart of the country has Ramos captivated. Still, from the way Ramos beams when talking about his family, it’s evident that a piece of his own heart is back in Texas.

“My mom was calling my uncles and aunts and telling them that I was going to Washington,” he said with a laugh. “I guess you have to separate yourself from the chicken coop.”