The more time I spend in Washington, DC, the more I love it. There are just so many things to see and so many interesting people to meet! At the conference I have been attending I have heard from interesting people including: Dana Bash, Senior Congressional Correspondent for CNN; Special Agent David O'Connor of the United States Secret Service; Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel, USA Today Columnists; Brian Lamb, President of C-SPAN; Juan Williams of NPR; Bob Schieffer, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent and Moderator of Face the Nation; Ted Koppel, former host of ABC News Nightline; Dana Perino, White House Press Secretary; Clarence Page, columnist of the Chicago Tribune; His Excellency Ambassador Hussain Haqqani, Amassador of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan; and Sam Donaldson, ABC News. I have also visited the embassies of Canada and China. I can now say that I have officially been to two foreign countries!
If you have not been to Washington, DC I would suggest visiting sometime. Or, better yet, come multiple times! There is just so much history in the city and things to see. In no other place can you go see the original Constitution, walk down the street to the headquarters of the FBI, and then see where President Lincoln was assisinated. And that's all in about four or five blocks. Where ever you turn in Washington you will find something historical or interesting. There is absolutely no way you will be able to see everything in one trip. It is like the tour bus driver said: If you spend just thirty seconds looking at each item in every Smithsonian museum it will take 12 to 13 years to see everything. Oh, and the food is incredible here, too.
The city is slowly filling up as well. It is crazy to see the preparations going on in Washington, everything from the creation of stages and seating for inaugural events to signs posted at the entrances to subway stations warning that subway tickets should only be purchased from subway kiosks or authorized service centers. I even saw Barak Obama's motorcade speeding through downtown Washington! Seeing all the security that accompanies the President-elect's motorcade is a sight to behold.
On a personal note, I picked up my inaguration ticket and it is exquisite! I am very grateful and honored that Congressman Lloyd Doggett was able to give me a ticket. His Chief of Staff said that there were fifteen times more requests for tickets then actual tickets. It is a little surreal that I am getting all of these opportunities. It is really gratifying to know that hard work pays off!
I also had a chance to write some testimony for Congressman Doggett to use when he debates H.R. 386, a bill he introduced "to simplify higher education tax credits." The bill is called the College Learning, Access, Simplicity, and Savings (CLASS) Act. It would consolidate the Hope Scholarship Credit and the above-the-line deduction for educational expenses and expand the definition of eligible tuition and expenses to include textbooks among other things. It's a great bill and I was honored to be asked to help the Congressman. Hopefully, when I get back, I can write an article on the bill for Accent.