(WNY News Now) – A SUNY Plattsburgh senior interning in the Washington, D.C., office of Congressman Brian Higgins, representing New York’s 26th district, played a firsthand role in witnessing the unprecedented removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a no-confidence vote earlier this fall.
Washington D.C. – Mary Stockman, a double major in criminal justice and law and justice from Hamburg, N.Y., seized a unique opportunity to observe history in the making as events unfolded following Rep. Matt Gaetz’s motion to vacate the chair of the House of Representatives on October 2.
Stockman, alongside a fellow intern, was sent to the House chamber gallery on October 3 by her internship supervisor. The motion, a rare occurrence, triggered speculation among staffers that McCarthy’s removal could be a reality.
In an unexpected turn of events, a small group of House Republicans joined forces with 208 Democrats, marking the first time in American history that a House Speaker was ousted through a no-confidence vote. The ensuing three weeks were marked by political turmoil as Republicans grappled with electing a new speaker, threatening the specter of another government shutdown.
Concerned about the potential impact on her internship, Stockman, not classified as an essential employee, feared an early end to her service. However, a new Speaker, Mike Johnson, spearheaded a continuing resolution that passed on November 15, ensuring the continuity of Stockman’s internship and averting a government shutdown.
Expressing gratitude for the opportunity, Stockman credited SUNY Plattsburgh faculty, particularly Dr. John McMahon, associate professor of political science, for informing her about the SUNY Washington Internship Program. The program’s unique feature of allowing her to pay in-state tuition while residing in Washington, D.C., coupled with lodging provided near the Supreme Court, made the internship financially viable.
Stockman’s responsibilities span answering constituent calls, attending Congressional committee hearings, and monitoring media for mentions of Congressman Brian Higgins. Her schedule comprises office duties from Monday to Thursday, with Fridays dedicated to a seminar class and exploring government attractions in D.C. with fellow interns.
Beyond her legislative work, Stockman has had the opportunity to visit iconic institutions such as the Library of Congress, Supreme Court, State Department, Pentagon, NASA, the White House gardens, and various Smithsonian museums.
Looking ahead, Stockman, set to graduate in spring 2024, envisions joining the U.S. Navy with aspirations to work in intelligence. While contemplating a potential run for office in the future, she remains focused on planning the next five years of her career.