Austin Trip, Day 2: Melva Gomez (June 1, 2012)

Pop quiz: what Austin building is one of America’s most significant examples of public architecture?  Hint: it was registered in 1970 as a National Historical location and recognized as a “significant contribution to American history.”  It is, of course, the State of Texas’s Capitol Building.

Our tour guide, Zach, offered a detailed history of the building, highlighting some of the more interesting stories.  We were happy to have Mr. Justin Coleman on the tour with us.  Mr. Coleman is the Legislative Assistant for Representative John Otto, and he (along with Chief of Staff Nikki Cobb) helped set up the tour for us.

One of the more interesting aspects of the tour was learning about Miriam Amanda Wallace Ferguson.  “Ma” was the first female Governor of Texas, taking office in 1925 and serving through 1927 and winning election again in 1933 for another term.

Rumor has it that her husband (who had been previously elected as Governor and was impeached) pretty much ran things while “Ma” was officially governor, but Mrs. Ferguson was nonetheless a trailblazer for women.

After the awesome Capitol Tour, we joined one of our teammates (Will Phillips) and his father (Steve Phillips) at Second Kitchen.  The chef at Second Kitchen was featured on the television show Chef Master, and after tasting the food, we can see why television would want to showcase his talents.

Mr. Allen Kirk, a 3L clerk at Mr. Phillips’ law firm, was also at our lunch, and we learned much from him.  He kindly shared his knowledge of law school with us, and highlighted specific issues we need to consider before deciding on a law school.

The lunch was phenomenal, and we are grateful for Mr. Phillips’ kindness.

Following lunch we headed to the “Campaign Bootcamp,” where one of our mentors started with the question: “Why do we want to be involved with politics and what is one thing we would change about the world?”  As you would expect from a group of Democrats and Republicans, there were a variety of answers, some of them contradictory.

Tanya Tarr Discussing Campaign Volunteers

I am with the Republican “campaign” in the boot camp, and our mentor is Jessica Colon.  She has fifteen years of experience in the political realm, and runs campaigns in the Houston area.

I’m excited to work with her and my campaign mates, and I am looking forward to the upcoming days!



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