Intern of the week: ‘A’ is for ‘able,’ ‘I’ is for ‘indefatigable’

If Capitol Hill interns are looking for one of their own to champion their cause, then 24-year-old Joe Millado in Rep. Cliff Stearns’s (R-Fla.) office is their Malcolm X.

“I like wearing my [intern] badge up here [on my chest],” Millado said. “For me, it’s kind of like a little scarlet letter, right? And a lot of interns I know are really ashamed of that. They always hide it away or tuck it away somewhere. … But mine’s loud and proud. I’m proud of being an intern.”

A Jacksonville, Fla., native, Millado earned a degree in criminology from Florida State University. During his last semester, he discovered a passion for politics while interning for Gov. Charlie Crist (R-Fla.). He decided to continue his political education as an intern on the Hill.

Before Millado reported for duty in D.C., he recalled that staff assistant Lindsey Parker mentioned in an e-mail that he should bring 14 toothpicks, a bottle of mustard and two glue sticks. Millado was confused but complied, going out of his way to buy the unusual items. At the close of his first day, he asked Parker what he should do with them, and she laughed. It was, of course, a gag.

“My first day, I’m already in the hole six bucks,” Millado said. “[My parents] were like, ‘I don’t get it.’ And I said, ‘Neither do I.’ ”

Parker nominated Millado for Intern of the Week with a tongue-in-cheek recommendation that highlighted his unique qualifications: “Intern Joe is consistent. He always shows up a good five minutes late due to his long Metro commute, but you hear him sprinting down the hall until he is just outside the door. He stops, composes himself, and enters the room in a charming fashion that makes it impossible to notice the slight tardiness.”

In his defense, Millado said, the day before he started work he clocked his commute time at 38 minutes and 33 seconds. He now gives himself 45 minutes to get to work, but something always gets in his way. From clogged escalators to delayed trains, Millado said he always has a valid excuse for Parker.

“She never believes me,” he said.

Millado’s future is wide open. His parents made sure he was born in the Philippines so he could one day be president there. He still plans to do so, but not anytime soon.

“Apparently [politicians] get assassinated a lot over there,” Millado said, “so I might just stay here and kick it for a little bit.”