I believe that the best way for somebody to convince someone else to care about an issue is to hear about it from the people who are affected. That is why I am double-majoring in agricultural communication and public affairs at the Ohio State University. I grew up in a farming community in Northwestern Ohio and have always been passionate about telling people of the issues that affect my community, which is what drew me to interning with Growth Energy in Washington, D.C., this summer.
I started the first week of my internship with Growth Energy by participating in our May fly-in on May 9 and 10. I went with three members from Illinois that were involved in the ethanol industry in numerous different parts of the industry.
We met with staff members of 14 congressmen and the staff of both Illinois senators. We discussed with each staff member – and the occasional member of Congress – the importance of getting the RVP waiver through and how they could continue their support. We also discussed the details from the White House meeting that happened on May 10, on why putting RINs on exports could be devastating to the ethanol industry. The other main issue we talked about was how the possibility of a high-octane fuel standard would not be a strong equivalent of the RFS.
I used my time on the Hill to listen to what each member of our team had to contribute and why that affected them. It was interesting to see and hear how each of these issues influenced the livelihoods of these men and the people they represent. It demonstrated to me the scope of these issues.
I know I learned more from listening to each of my teammates talking about what they needed from their congressmen to help the industry they have invested so much time and energy into than I could have from a week of reading about it. My participation in the fly-in and my first week here in Washington, D.C., was invaluable to my continued learning about the ethanol industry and helped me grow my passion for biofuels.