Will Rampe

Hamilton College rising sophomore Will Rampe is interning this summer with U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP >> Amidst the empty, repetitive days of COVID-19 quarantine, New Hope resident and Hamilton College rising sophomore Will Rampe embraced the opportunity to look into a potential career path.

"I got more into learning about contemporary political issues, but also about political theories and broader phenomena," he said. "I decided I'd be interested in seeing what the profession is all about."

This summer, Rampe is doing just that by interning at the district office of Pennsylvania Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. The office he's working at deals mostly with constituent matters - in other words, making sure the congressman is accessible to the people in his district. Rampe helps with whatever tasks might need to be done that day. Among other things, he said that "we sent out celebratory letters, like if someone graduates or wins an award and it's in the newspaper we write a letter from the congressman saying congratulations."

A big part of the job, he added, is answering phone calls from Fitzpatrick's constituents in order to log their opinions, help with simple problems, and refer them to appropriate caseworkers as needed.

At the moment, Rampe said, "there are three main issues that people care about. They call about the January 6 Commission, they call about the new infrastructure bill, and some people want to know about his vote for Liz Cheney." It can sometimes be challenging to address every caller, Rampe said - but the most important thing is to listen. "I really hear what they have to say if they ask questions," he said. "I try my best."

Callers to the office tend to be scattered across the political spectrum. And due to Fitzpatrick's frequently moderate and bi-partisan positions, Rampe said, the congressman often attracts criticism from both Republican and Democratic constituents. It's either that "he's not to the right enough, he's not to the left enough," he explained. But for most of the calls Rampe fields, political ideology is of little significance. "People have issues with their stimulus checks, their passports, other broad questions like that," he said.

Rampe appreciates that this internship is exposing him to the more interpersonal side of politics, something that he didn't necessarily expect to learn going in. "What people read in the news, like legislative stuff, seems really interesting. But learning about how people who work for offices deal with constituents is super interesting," he said. "I'm not sure that I will go into politics, but I'm definitely interested in the career."

Rampe is a graduate of George School.

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