In the spring of 1984, when I was a senior at Boulder High School, I interned for a short while at the Westminster, Colorado district office of then-Congressman Timothy E. Wirth. I still have a letter from July 2nd of that year—on Congress of the United States stationery (recycled paper, no less)—thanking me for “being so much help to Jickie and my staff.”
I did not meet the congressman and the work was not very memorable, but I am still happy to have had the opportunity. I did some routine office stuff; played with the signature stamp; saw my first fax machine (a manually crank-turned canister into which you placed a document to send it from Colorado to Washington); read the congressman’s biography and policy materials; experimented on a dedicated word-processor machine; and listened to the staff talk about Wirth.
I remember hearing in glowing terms from the staff about the Congressman’s height (about 6’5”), his looks, his brains (Harvard undergrad, Harvard graduate school in Education, Stanford doctorate, White House Fellow), and his seriousness about policy matters (a Democrat interested in high-technology investments and growth). He sounded upwardly mobile, a leader from central casting, and to the eighteen-year-old me, larger than life and almost unreal.
Because of that experience, and because he was my hometown Congressman, I have followed his career from afar. I have felt pride when he won the U.S. Senate seat in Colorado in 1986; when he became Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs under Clinton; and when he became president of the United Nations Foundation (Ted Turner-billion-dollar-bequest funded U.N. enterprise). Pretty good career, I would say, and only half of a power couple—he is married to Wren Wirth, the President of the Winslow Foundation.And, thanks to that brief stint in 1984, I can say I used to work for him.