From the State Capitol to the Nation’s Capital

Andre Foltz posing in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
Andre Foltz outside of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Photo provided by Andre Foltz.

For Andre Foltz, democracy isn’t just a term in a textbook. From the steps of the Colorado State Capitol Building to the heart of Washington D.C., Foltz is living and breathing American politics.

Foltz, a recent Colorado State University political science graduate, credits the legislative internship program and Professor John Straayer for preparing him for a dynamic career in politics – starting with positions as a campaign field organizer in Virginia and a press intern on Capitol Hill shortly after graduation.

During his time at CSU, Foltz took advantage of all the experiential learning opportunities offered through the Department of Political Science. The summer after his freshman year, he completed a constituent services internship in the Office of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

It was his junior year that Foltz encountered the catalyst for his educational and professional passion. Foltz spent his spring semester commuting to the state capitol in Denver as a legislative intern through the CSU Legislative Internship Program led by political science professor, John Straayer. Foltz’s time in State Senator John Kefalas’ office provided him with the experience and knowledge to thrive as a professional in Washington, D.C. after graduation.

“This [legislative internship] program is an excellent way for students to further their passion for politics by submerging themselves in the legislative process and getting a firsthand account of how the Colorado General Assembly operates,” said Foltz. “Professor John Straayer’s internship experience is the only program of its kind at the capitol. The knowledge students’ gain from it is truly invaluable.”

After Foltz’s experience with the legislative internship program, he was hooked. He knew where he needed to be. During his senior year, he was offered a paid internship at Woodward Inc. as the government affairs and business communications intern, where he gained more insight into how the private sector is impacted by politics. After graduating in the spring of 2016, Foltz moved to Virginia to be closer to Washington D.C. He began his career as a field organizer with the Democratic Party of Virginia. The coordinated campaign aimed to elect Hillary Clinton and Virginia Congressman Don Beyer.

Andre Foltz with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
Andre Foltz with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo provided by Andre Foltz.

Once the campaign wrapped up, he looked for opportunities on Capitol Hill and accepted a press internship with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia at the beginning of the spring 2017 legislative session. Shortly after Senator Manchin’s press internship began, he was offered a press internship at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office.

Foltz’s experience as a press intern for Senator Schumer has already led him to his next adventure in public service.

Foltz is now the Program Assistant for Council for a Strong America, where he works with their ReadyNation unit. ReadyNation partners with CEOs and business leaders to build a skilled workforce by promoting public policy solutions that prepare children to succeed in education, work, and life.

Foltz’s work ethic, passion, and experiences enable him to flourish in his new role on Capitol Hill. However, no matter where his political career takes him, Foltz will always remember who ignited his spark for public service.

“There are very few people that I’ve met who care about their students and the quality of their education as much as Professor Straayer,” said Foltz. “This becomes fairly clear to anyone who doesn’t know him once you learn that Professor Straayer has taken it upon himself to drive a van full of college students, with varying political views, roughly an hour-and-a-half to and from Denver every week, multiple times a week, for nearly four decades now.”

This fall, the Department of Political Science has launched the Straayer Center for Public Service Leadership, which expands upon the legislative internship program to include additional internship, mentorship, and experiential learning opportunities for our CSU students. These new opportunities will provide even more support for students who, like Andre, want put their passion for public service into practice while at CSU.

Learn more about the Straayer Center here.

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