|When constituents call the office of Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) these days, they have a good chance of hearing a Scottish accent. The voice belongs to Jeremy Adams-Strump, 20, who came to Capitol Hill through an exchange program between the University of Leeds in England and Catholic University of America in Washington.|
“Once a day I have to explain over the phone why I’m here” to a curious caller, Adams-Strump said.
Not that he invites such curiosity. Crowley’s constituents are used to hearing New York accents over the phone, and “I try to make the best impression,” Adams-Strump said.
The size of Congress amazes him. “A member of Congress has anywhere from seven to nine staffers, while a member of Parliament has four to five,” he said.
Not only does Adams-Strump answer phones, but he also attends International Relations Committee hearings because Crowley is a member of that panel.
Adams-Strump doubts he will ever work as a congressional aide. “I’m not used to 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, “ he admitted, although he said he’s impressed by Crowley’s work ethic.
“And then to have to go back home to constituents on weekends!” he commented. The roles of lobbyists and scholars at think tanks are more appealing to Adams-Strump, who said he likes to see “how the outside influences” Congress.
During his time in Washington, Adams-Strump plans to visit other cities on the East Coast. He has already toured Philadelphia, where he saw the Liberty Bell, and will soon make his way up to New York City. In D.C., he said, he visited all the monuments the first week he arrived.
When he isn’t taking advantage of the free food at receptions in the Cannon Caucus Room, Adams-Strump and the other interns he lives with eat half-price burgers at Union Pub’s happy hour or enjoy Japanese cuisine at Kyoto Sushi. He also has tried Ethiopian food.
“It’s very garlicky but milder than Indian food,” he said.
Adams-Strump likes to spend his downtime with fellow Crowley staffers at Hawk ’n’ Dove, which he calls a “pub” rather than a tavern, even though the intern orders nonalcoholic drinks while his co-workers drink beer. In England he is of legal drinking age, but in the United States he has to settle for milk; he has to wait until his next birthday before he can imbibe.