Connecticut College Magazine · Winter 2009

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Cover:
Tri-captain Thomas Giblin ´10 elevates for a header in a Fall Weekend win against Colby on the Artificial Turf at Silfen Field, while Nick Maghenzani ´13 closes in on the play. Head coach Kenny Murphy´s Camels finished 8-6-1 in the program´s best record in more than a decade.

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First Person

First Person
Adam Robbins ´07, left, with Carol Shea-Porter, D, N.H.

Reforming America´s health care system

By Adam Robbins ´07


I took an active role in the most historic election in our nation´s history, but I never imagined I would be involved with the most ambitious legislative proposal of our time: health care reform.

After graduating with a degree in government, I knew I wanted to be involved in the 2008 political election season. Thanks to the advice, mentoring and direction of Professors Borrelli and James and Cheryl Banker ´06, my adviser in the Office of Career Enhancing Life Skills, I landed a job with the New Hampshire Democratic Party. I began as a field organizer for the campaign of U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Since New Hampshire was a swing state and home of the “first-in-the-nation primary,” I knew daily life there would be exciting and fast-paced. Listening to presidential candidates speak in living rooms, at town fairs and in debates, it was a political junkie´s dream come true.

Later in the campaign cycle, I moved over to Rep. Carol Shea-Porter´s campaign as the “tracker.” With a video camera, I followed each and every move of our opponents. When Shea-Porter won the election, I had the opportunity to move to Washington, D.C., and work in the congresswoman´s office as a press and legislative assistant.

Our legislative director assigned health care as one of my issue areas, simply because everybody else had an already comprehensive workload. Little did I know that health care would become the central focus of the new administration and Congress. I had to learn everything about our health care system as fast as was humanly possible.

I was two years out of college and thrown into the fire of an issue that affects every single one of us. I met with constituency groups ranging from the American Cancer Society to the American Hospital Association. I sat through countless committee mark-ups and attended many briefings, soaking in all the information and insights. I advised a member of Congress on a 1,100-page bill and suggested enhancements to improve the bill.

I often ask myself, “How did it really all begin?” With my CELS stipend, I lived for a summer in D.C., interning at a political action committee for U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. I saw the inner workings of a campaign firsthand and witnessed how people get elected to public office. CELS allowed me to accept an unpaid internship in an expensive city, and to experience politics and decide whether it was a career field I wanted to explore. And it certainly was. I constantly remind myself that it is the people and the resources at Conn that allowed me to be where I am today.

And as far as what a final health care bill will look like, only time will tell — and quickly, I hope.

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