Austin Trip, Day 2: Christian Bionat (June 1, 2012)

We began our day at the French Legation museum. The house was built in 1841 as a private home for a French dignitary. The home’s original land mass extended roughly twenty-two acres of land that overlooked the Texas capitol. The style of the house or perhaps the ambient sense of the grounds reminded me of The Wynne Home, where I interned this past spring.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the house was the design.  The nine foot doors with openings on the opposite side of the house granted an ingenious method of air circulation while the high ceilings also helped reduce the heat inside the house during scorching summer days. My favorite parts of the house was the (1) wine cellar just below the stair case, where the temperature was at least 15 degrees cooler and (2) the front porch which, according to law, offers an unfettered view of the State Capitol. This historical home was a wonderful stop during our adventure.

Junior Fellows at the French Legation

Afterward, we traveled to the Capitol to meet with Rep. John Otto’s staff and to tour the Capitol. Legislative Aide Justin Coleman met with us. We took this opportunity to ask him a few questions about working at the capitol and his experiences. Justin discussed how he ended up at the state capitol and gave this piece of advice: You will never know who you will run into, so networking and being ready is important.

Justin Coleman and the Junior Fellows at the State Capitol

After our tour of the capitol we ate at Second Kitchen with Mr. Phillips, Will’s father, and Allen, Mr. Phillip’s summer clerk and a 3L at the University of Texas. The restaurant was run by the Food Network’s Iron Chef David Bull. I ordered a Second Kitchen Bar club sandwich and tobacco onions. Chef Bull created the club using bacon, chicken salad, and tomatoes. This meal was absolutely delicious and we got to learn about Mr. Phillips’ law practice as well as discuss the challenges of a young attorney with Allen.  It was a very rewarding experience, and we are grateful to Mr. Phillips for the opportunity.

The NPF Campaign Bootcamp kicked off around 2:00PM and began with introducing the boot camp’s mentors, Jessica Colon and Parag Mehta, both of whom are experienced in political campaigns. Over the course of the afternoon we listened to several seminars ranging from managing volunteers to the organizational methods of a campaign. The most interesting thing I learned today was from Mr. Mehta regarding volunteers: Assigning volunteers titles such as Director of Transportation engenders a feeling of ownership within the campaign and creates a sense belonging and obligation to carrying out the duties asked, and that’s how you win a campaign.

Emily Einsohn Introduces Students to the NPF

I am quite excited for what tomorrow holds for me and my newly assigned position within my team!

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