• Marriage in Maine

Guest Post: Nick Pfost, Legislative & Public Policy Graduate Intern

John McKenna's picture
Written by John McKenna
May 30, 2014 - 10:43am

Guest post from Nick Pfost (the P is silent, but I am not)

I was the nerdy high school student who watched CSPAN after classes while eating my macaroni and cheese – I was so fascinated by the policy process and what was happening across the nation (and in the British Parliament, strangely) that I could barely keep the macaroni in my mouth.  It was the time when I literally flung my bowl across the room during a lively session of Parliament that I knew what I had to do with my life.  I’ve since learned to better contain my enthusiasm, but my deep passion and interest has remained.  I sought undergraduate and graduate programs with specific focuses on US domestic policy and international relations – I wanted to expand my understanding of the roles of policy, how it can be used, and how we can improve it.

I am a lifelong resident and super-fan of the Mitten State (I mean Michigan, not Wisconsin for those of you who have seen their misleading Mitten campaign - see coverage here) and, as a Michigander, I recognize that I was an unlikely candidate for an internship with EqualityMaine.  But at 24, with a decade of student leadership experience on LGBT issues under my belt, I wanted to take the next step in integrating my policy expertise with issue-based advocacy and public education.  

I also knew that I wanted to do this outside of my home state to broaden my understanding of the patchwork of legislation that governs the lives of LGBT people across the nation.  Naturally, as part of my search, I identified a raft of organizations and agencies - but what attracted me to EqualityMaine was the staff’s exceptional passion, diversity of experience, and desire to play an active role in further developing my personal and professional skillsets.  As a life-long student, I saw EqualityMaine as a place where my continued learning would be well supported.

I am currently a rising 2nd year Master of Public Policy degree candidate at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.  There, my primary policy interests have centered on state and local government, as well as the intersections of identity and policy.  Having previously attended Michigan State University’s James Madison College of Public Affairs, my collegiate loyalties have been put to the test.  The rivalry between U-M and MSU is significant in the Big Ten Conference – in fact, the trophy that goes to the winner of their football game is a likeness of Paul Bunyan similar to its 37 foot counterpart in Bangor.

Moving forward, I am excited to have many opportunities to engage with our stakeholders across Maine, to advance the work being done to implement LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying legislation, and to support the vital first steps of securing fair health care coverage for transgender Mainers.  After only a week, I have already traveled to our office in Brewer, toured Bangor, enjoyed a giant bowl of nachos with EqualityMaine’s legislative and legal counsel at the Great Lost Bear, run along the Atlantic on Portland’s Eastern Promenade Trail, and devoured plates of delicious homemade food at a Memorial Day weekend BBQ in Kennebunkport.  My time here is shaping up to be both valuable and life-changing, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store.

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