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Where do you go, after being a contributor here?

November 10, 2008

I mean, what could be better than writing on this blog? Alas, though, after one or two years we must move on. What’s life like after being an FCNL intern? Over the next few days and months we hope to show you that here on the blog. Some of our past interns have agreed to write guest blog posts for us. The first, from Larry Newlin (intern class ’75) describes making the jump from FCNL to the federal government:

I worked as an intern during 1975-76 and worked with three giants — directly with lobbyist, Frances Neely, with Ed Snyder as executive secretary, and occasionally assisted executive secretary emeritus Raymond Wilson when he was in the office looking to generate a quick and pithy report for a talk he was to deliver. It was an exciting year and led to five additional years in Washington in the policy arena culminating with a year as Staff Assistant to President Carter.

Although this is supposed to be nonpartisan, I want to highlight the good-natured ribbing I got from Ed for being a Carter partisan during my intern year. My wife, Lee, and I accompanied Bonnie and Ed to a Jerry Brown rally at the University of Maryland, and he came on like a rock star with a pitch that was filled with vacuous rambling. I pointed out to Ed what a hollow fellow Brown was and how much more substance Carter had — he replied that electing Carter would be a pig in a poke.

A friend from college gave us tickets to attend the Democratic celebration at one of the downtown hotels on Election Day, and this past week as our twenty something daughters watched with excitement and electricity the returns coming in — it was reminiscent of being young and idealistic in our early twenties with the promise of a new leader.

I followed my year at FCNL working for the National Rural Center, a new policy research center funded primarily by the estate of the late governor of Arkansas, Winthrop Rockefeller. The executive director, Jack Cornman, had been an aide to the late Phil Hart — the office building towering over our own office is named after him — and Jack fed names to the transition team with a well – placed former Hart aide asking for more. It turned out that five Board members were tapped for the new Administration — two Cabinet secretaries and three assistant secretaries. Three years later after President Carter announced a Small Community and Rural Development Policy, I was asked to come aboard to help implement the policy. I had to step down from serving on FCNL’s Policy Committee, but I felt a strong congruency in serving in the public arena and having served FCNL. During a period of major budget constraints, we were able to undertake some important policy initiatives which benefited the lives of hundreds of thousands of rural citizens, many of them at or near the poverty level.

Best wishes to all former interns — I hope that you are continuing to support the great work of the FCNL and living in the Light of those who came before us — thinking of Frances and Raymond in particular.

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