Dordt College News

Zach Mulder finds his place in politics

August 12, 2009

Zach Mulder and Senator John Thune

Zach Mulder describes his summer internship in the office of United States Senator John Thune of South Dakota as one of the best experiences in his life.

“I’ve always been interested in politics,” he says. A political studies major, he has aspirations of running for office someday. One of the things he enjoyed most was answering phone calls and talking to constituents. Most of the calls this summer were about legislation relating to hate crimes, cap and trade, and health care, he says, and most of them expressed support for the Republican position on these issues. Others contacted the office for assistance with a problem they hoped the senator’s office could help resolve.

“I was surprised by how many people contact the office,” Mulder says. It made him even more convinced of the importance of political involvement. But the experience also made him reflect more deeply on today’s political process.

“What amazes me the most is that there are so many people running our country who don’t get along. I know they have different worldviews, but for politics to work people need to listen to each other and find common ground.”

Mulder identifies himself as a Republican—a staunch Republican, he adds firmly. He respects Senator Thune and his fellow Republican constituents, and he appreciates people who feel passionately about what they believe in. But he also believes people need to listen to each other more—and better educate themselves.

He points to his experience this summer, noting that he began his internship with stereotypical and not always charitable views toward Native Americans. After spending a good deal of time doing research on the nine Native American tribes in South Dakota for Senator Thune, his views have changed.

“Things aren’t always what you think,” he says. He’s learned that it’s important to study history, learn how policies developed, and discover what the real situation is today. He also feels that it’s important to build relationships with people you disagree with. He rues the fact that too often within communities, those in the majority shun those who don’t agree with them.

Call it wishful thinking, youthful idealism, or whatever you wish, Mulder thinks young people like himself need to get involved and find ways to be open to and listen to one another so that things that need to be changed can be. He admits that the things he believes need to change, which mirror Republican causes and ideals, may be very different from what some others think, but he wants the conversation and the process of compromise to happen.

“I don’t think we can legislate morality anymore in today’s world,” he says. What people can do, he says, is find ways to promote good policies and practices.

Mulder expects to look for a position with a congressman or senator after he graduates in May—and then he’ll see where the Lord leads him.

High Praise

From the Congressional Record:

Mr. President, today I recognize Zach Mulder, an intern in my Sioux Falls, South Dakota, office, for all of the hard work he has done for me, my staff, and the State of South Dakota over the past several months.

Zach is a graduate of Western Christian High School in Hull, Iowa. Currently he is attending Dordt College, where he is majoring in political studies. He is a hard worker who has been dedicated to getting the most out of his internship experience.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to Zach for all of the fine work he has done and wish him continued success in the years to come.

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