By Arie Dekker - 11/20/07 07:29 PM EST
Terrance Laney is in love, and he’s not afraid to show it. In his second internship in Rep. David Scott’s (D-Ga.) office, Laney is ready for a long-term commitment with Capitol Hill.
“The second time around, it’s like the third date, basically — where I really got in, and I really got to see what was going on, and I really got to contribute a lot more to the office,” Laney said. “I’m ready for a marriage proposal in January, definitely — ready to get hitched to the Hill.”
Originally from McDonough, Ga., the 23-year-old intern admired politics from an early age, first getting emotionally involved in the 1992 presidential election. In an “impassioned speech” to his fifth-grade class, Laney sought to defeat Ross Perot.
“I was terrified in 1992: I was 11 years old, [and] I thought that Ross Perot was going to become president,” he said.
“I just remember seeing caricatures of him on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and seeing how scary he was. And I really, really was, like, terrified.”
Laney graduated from Georgia Southern University with a political science degree before his first internship with Scott’s office last summer. After going home and thinking about it, he returned to the Hill for a second rendezvous.
He tentatively plans to eventually attend law school in D.C.
However, Laney’s relationship with the Hill is more expensive than he anticipated. He frequently reminds himself that money is not important, an affirmation that is particularly meaningful to him at the grocery store, the mall, in bars and late at night when he would rather take a cab home than the Metro.
“Those are critical moments to boost your self-esteem about your salary — or your lack of salary,” Laney said. “As an intern, you have to wake up every day and tell yourself, There’s more important things than money. You have to. If you don’t, this will be the worst thing that ever happened to you.”
Laney said he is sort of like a legislative assistant, only without the salary. In addition to giving tours and helping with odd jobs, he focuses primarily on foreign affairs issues. Patient staffers have helped him learn skills such as improving his grammar — after all, good communication is crucial to a successful relationship.
“Making sure that every sentence is grammatically correct is the most difficult part of this job,” he said. “Spell-check doesn’t catch every error, and my generation grew up thinking that Microsoft solves all those types of problems.”