The Minnesota Capitol Pathways program works to make our government truly representative of our communities, connecting young leaders of color with established policy leaders. Fresh Energy has hosted interns every legislative session since the program’s inception five years ago.
Aomie Washington is a proud North Dakotan and honorary Minnesotan pursuing a degree in English at Hamline University in Saint Paul. Aomie, who also goes by AJ, has been adapting to online classes and a virtual social life. For AJ, spending quality time with roommates is the most fulfilling part of the current unconventional college experience due to COVID-19.
AJ is from Grand Forks, a town on the North Dakota-Minnesota border. AJ feels a deep commitment to home and plans on returning to Grand Forks one day. Aomie recognizes that there is a need for rural representation in discussions revolving around climate, public health, and the environmental justice landscape.
“I plan to grow my English writing and journalism skills in college, whether I end up as a public health communicator, environmental advocate, or even a librarian, I know the skills I’m learning now are incredibly transferrable,” said AJ.
During AJ’s Capitol Pathways Internship, AJ will work closely with the Government Affairs team to do policy research, sit in on online committee hearings, track bills, and connect with legislators. Learning the ins and outs of the policy and legislative process will be a key skill, no matter where Aomie lands.
“I’m learning that it’s not the government’s job to save us. We have to save ourselves and taking in all I can about the legislative process, energy and climate policy, coalition-building, and journalism is how I can make a real difference when I go home to Grand Forks after college to start agitating for change that benefits all North Dakotans,” said AJ.
When not studying, reaching out to friends and family, or tuning in to virtual classes and hearings at the Minnesota Legislature, Miss Washington is prioritizing music, dancing, and creative writing.