Dear Mama

Document Sample
Dear Mama Powered By Docstoc

       I really do not know how to start this off about my internship because I really am not a

“talker” when it comes to me. My life and career is in helping others and as a REALTOR®

whatever is going on around me is never about me but about the client or customer I service. So,

speaking about me, or fancy opening lines, unless it is contractually related to real estate and

taxes is really not my thing. So please bear with me.

       I have been a REALTOR® for over 15 years now and I believe I am somewhat

successful at it. Put it this way, I am still able to have a closing and earn a paycheck for my

efforts, which means there is hope for this horrible real estate market on the horizon yet. I must

admit, the closings have been once every three months instead of once a month. Real estate is

100% commission so if I do not sell I do not eat; this is no exaggeration by any means. I love

real estate and all that it entails because the feeling of helping a person successfully and legally

have a home, especially if they are first-time home buyers is exhilarating! I can honestly say “I

helped” with that.

       Needless to say, my advocacy for families and the underrepresented caught the eyes of

my peers and in 2005 I was appointed as one of four Indiana Association of REALTORS® State

Directors. This December 2009, my term is complete and I will not be running for that office to

hold a second term. Later that same year, my negotiation skills and my impartial listening and

communication skills earned me the position of Local, State Board, and National Mediator with

the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS®. It has been a good “last 5 years”

in real estate. I advocate for my clients in foreclosure prevention, credit repair, tax lien and tax
sales, not to mention loan modifications and tax settlements. In addition to my real estate savvy

I am also a registered tax preparer and have been doing tax returns professionally since I was 18-

years-old. I love taxes and the science behind them. Everything with taxes is an “IF, THEN”

situation and I think it is fascinating. Over the years I have become an advocate for people and I

have also assisted senior citizens in their tax preparation for free. I enjoy the tax business so

much that I have been an owner of a very successful tax franchise for over 10 years and cannot

see myself ever going a year without preparing taxes. The tax laws and Internal Revenue

Service Rules are some of my all-time favorite transactions. I believe everyone should attempt

to learn how to prepare a tax return at least once in their lifetime. It is an assets and a skill. If

more people can understand the dynamic and the necessity of taxes, then there would be a lot

more people in the world who would understand paying taxes is a necessary evil in order to

maintain the order of our “social contract.” Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” is what

we pay taxes for. This is a whole other theory I have in itself and this is not going to be a

dissertation on taxation. It is a statement that is full of meaning and truth, and something I

believe is worth mentioning.

        My specialty now is personal and property taxation and settlement. My reputation has

kept me in the highest of rankings amongst my peers in every aspect of real estate due diligence

and negotiations as well as taxation. I feel like I am complete as a REALTOR® and as a

registered tax preparer and proprietor, further; I am in the career I have always wanted with the

freedom I have always desired. Real Estate and taxation was the best education and career

choice I have ever made besides my first love of personal and business taxes. I was also an avid,

heartfelt fan of the City of Gary and my advocacy is to make it a nice place to live again. I have

always wanted to be the Mayor of the City of Gary every since I was a little girl. I plan to make

that dream a reality hopefully by the next election term. My respect level is noticeable with

community development and housing initiatives to underprivileged people in MY CITY. I was

proud and I was happy…finally…until an opportunity presented itself as an obligation more so

than a real opportunity…school graduation requirements.

       I am currently a student at Purdue University majoring in Political Science. I find my

major just as exciting as my real estate and tax careers. For the longest time, until completing

my internship at the Indiana House of Representatives, I was under the impression “How could

this be a legitimate course of study and a major.” I know that is a terrible comment because

many political scientists or attorneys for that matter have made this science their whole lives, but

as I said I did not realize the validity of this major until I completed my internship. I aspire to be

an attorney, specializing in real estate and tax law. My desire to be an attorney is the only reason

I am even in school this late in the game. I am 35 years old now. I have been working for a long

time now as an established professional in both field of real estate and taxes. I am not sure what

I was thinking when I accepted my internship, but it was a necessary eye opening experience for

me that I would not trade in for the world.

At the end of the Fall Semester of my junior year at school, I received an interview package from

the Indiana House of Representatives Democrats. I was informed, I was highly and

anonymously recommended to be selected as an intern for Spring 2009. I was not so elated

about that because I really did not want to be in a room with people just over half my age on a

time schedule. I have been a REALTOR® for way too long and having to dedicate eight hours

in a solitary location five days a week was way too much for my taste. I love the flexibility of

my schedule and shudder to think I am going to be tied down to such a commitment, especially

in one location, in a building for eight full hours…with no compensation for my time (that part

was a lot like real estate in 2009 sadly)…I felt like I was actually being fitted for a leash.

       Anyway, the opportunity presented itself three times before I said yes. The only reason I

did say yes is because I was informed by my absolutely wonderful academic advisor an

internship was a requirement for graduation in Political Science (I really do mean wonderful,

because he takes care in his advice and suggestions to his students, especially when he can see

from experience they are not thinking clearly). So, I decided to check out the interview process

in Indianapolis at the State House.

       I went to my preliminary meeting with the internship directors for the Indiana House

Democrats. I was hoping to make them so sick of me in that interview; practicing all the way the

rude and not so pleasant rumors and facts about snobby REALTORS® and incompetent state

house representation. I wanted them to say that I was not really what they were looking for, and

that they appreciated my time and that I was no longer being considered. I wanted them to look

at one another and say “close call” because that is exactly how I was feeling. Instead, the

opposite happened. Matt and Mike, the internship directors were very energetic and nice and

just wonderful people to have a conversation with. They spoke so eloquently and clear and gave

examples of their thoughts and understanding in a way I was accustomed to hearing


       They mesmerized me with their appreciation for real estate professionals and their love

for “PURDUE UNIVERSITY CALUMET.” They stated some of the best interns they have ever

had the pleasure of working with came from PUC…WOW…is all I could say to myself. They

respected my views as a REALTOR® and tax professional so much so that they took notes on

the suggestions I had with respect to possible remedies for exorbitant taxation. They were

listening to my every word (not that I do not get that kind of respect all of the time; but because

they were genuinely and intently listening TO EVERY WORD). I loved the conversation we

and the exchange of ideas we had regarding the property tax situation so unique to Northwest

Indiana in comparison with the rest of the state. They also, with their empathy and gestures,

truly “felt” for the residents of Northwest Indiana. They were even more so concerned with the

City of Gary, for the first time ever; I heard representatives of people in the public eye state

something positive about my beloved city; Gary, Indiana. When I mentioned using home sales

as the basis of valuation for property taxes there and in the rest of depressed areas in the state

they agreed with my contention and I feel in love with the conversation we were having. We

collectively, in that interview meeting came up with scenarios they were facing or being

bombarded with by constituents and I was able to give them a REALTORS® perspective on

remedies and requirements that could make a difference in getting constituents to understand

what is involved in responding to a real property tax concern. Before I could catch myself, I

mentally owned this internship. I do that…mentally own something…when I believe in a cause

or when I have to have something that I feel I would provide a valuable service being a part of. I

was in awe of this entire interview and wanted more stimulating and reciprocal conversation.

Before they knew it, the stated no second interview required and I was now committed to 12

weeks of “service.”

Well, everything was wonderful until the first day of this internship. I was in a room with college

seniors and some recent college graduates. They mentioned 25 students in the interview;

however, no intern in the room was older than 22 years of age. EXCEPT ME!!! I was 35, did I

mention that before?

So now it’s the first day of the internship. We had to be there at 7:00 a.m. I do not have a

problem with that and surprisingly neither did they. They all, every last one of them came in to

work with “Monster Energy Drinks.” I came in with a “Red Eye” from Starbucks, you know

extra strong coffee with a shot of espresso and cream, just like a normal, caffeine addicted, 35-

year-old intern would. It was sad because only the over 40 crowd actually drank coffee instead

of “energy drinks.” I kept thinking what the hell would make them that tired to “drink speed?’

       Anyway, we were scheduled for a meet and greet in the “interesting” intern room. A

huge room where all the interns had to sit in desks formed into a “U” shape known as the “U”

room. The girls were dressed in a type of business attire I was not accustomed. They were

business suits without jackets and low cut three-quarter sleeve tops; and only ties for the males.

They all were heavy into colognes and perfumes and I was heavy into Kleenex for the next 12

weeks. I have never seen so much lip gloss, blonde hair and bald heads in one room in all my

life. I was representing for brunettes that were not smart enough to kill their interview just (like

me). Even by the guys wore lip gloss!!! This was definitely a generational thing. I was so

regretting what I had committed to that I almost burst into tears. That could be pre-menopause

but I would rather admit it was my realization that I was in the midst of regret, regret, regret. I

felt “duped” by the intern directors. For any of you youngsters reading this, duped mean “taken

advantage of, or didn’t see the spin coming.” The spin is also another word that describes being

misled by conversation, which is how I totally felt. Shame on me I repeated to myself over and

over again.

       The intern room was cramped and stuffy and everyone’s attitude was so snobby at first

especially when assignments were handed out. Each younger intern was trying to “one up” the

other. I was amazed because I was watching a real event…brown nosing up close and personal.

In real estate it’s illegal to schmooze…it is actually a criminal offense called “puffing” where

you can lose your license to practice real estate and be fined $25,000 for each offense because

you are kissing butt into oblivion just to appease the seller of the home and entice the buyer to

choose you as their representation. I was having a stroke watching this I thought. No stroke, just

young, magnificent and calculating minds in action. These interns were viciously competitive.

They would assault and belittle each other just to be the first intern with information just to get a

positive acknowledgement from the representatives.

   The internship directors stated clearly the following rules:

       1.) Do Not Talk Back to a Representative.

       2.) Do not hang up on a Constituent.

       3.) Do not write a request for legislation and expect to be cited as an author. It is a

           Conflict of Interest.

The rules were basic. No problem. They were very self explanatory. Not so for the 22s (my

nick name for them). The questions that followed petitioning clarity to these three simple rules

were outrageous. For example, one intern actually wanted to know if a Constituent hung up on

them, would it be appropriate to call them back and hang up on them. I thought “Are You

Serious?” Sadly, just as I was thinking that very thought, the internship director said; “That is

the dumbest question I ever heard.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I thought that is bold. The

intern did not even take offense to that statement. He just laughed and said “is there anything

else I should know?” I thought that was very mature.

       Our assignments came in and the intern directors asked for a briefing on statistics

regarding property taxes. I thought this would be the thing for me so I put my hand and asked if

I may be assigned to that task. They started laughing and said I was brave and that they would

give me two weeks to submit my findings. I thought I could get it done in twenty, which I did

and they could not believe it. It was just like to doing a home listing Comparative market

Analysis. The information was all right there and all I had to do was basically translate the

significance and impact of the numbers financially with an analysis of my findings in my own

words. They were so impressed that I was permanently assigned to the House Ways and Means

Committee. This is the second most important function in State House politics next to the House

Speaker. I felt great.

       Before I knew it or even before they knew it I was a sensation and they offered me the

intern seat in the House Ways and Means office as a staffer. (Ways and Means is where all the

budget hearings happen and where all proposals by entities requesting money have to go before

anything gets appropriated). I accepted and they said welcome aboard.

       They asked me to get my findings over to the Chairman immediately because he was

waiting on the information. I went to go walk it over until the interns said MMS it over. What

was that I thought to myself? The one intern said he would show me in the morning how to

properly use my cell phone as a messing device. As I walked to my car that night after the first

day, I convinced myself this was going to be great and that this was a necessary part of my

education. I was psyching myself up to believe that this was a “wonderful” thing I was getting

involved in.

       I was not intimidated by learning messaging by this young intern nor did I have a

complex of or about younger people. Every day for the next 12 weeks I learned something new

and taught a youngster a new way of approaching a difficult situation verbally and with pen and

paper. I mean my goodness, I am a Generation X-err myself. How different could these

Generation Y’s be from me? To put it in their (Gen Y) lingo: “OMG!! Way different!!!” I hate

abbreviations like OMG and BFF and such because they represent laziness to me when it comes

to writing. Every day for 12 weeks straight all I heard was OMG and WTF and LOL smiley face

and such. I would plan my escape every lunch hour from 11am to 11:30 am. I thought if I could

choke on this peanut butter and jelly sandwich concoction called an “intern cafeteria special” that

came with a frozen fruit juice and an apple for $1.00 I could end my suffering. I thought I could

maybe go to my dorm early and no one would bother me and it would be perfume free. No such

luck and I really am not into self-inflicting disasters. So I ate my crappy lunch and prayed for a

miracle as I thought how I would get briefings in to the committee room via my cell phone like

the young intern was trying to show me.

       Everything was by computer and cell phone transmission. If we could have eaten that

way we would have. However, these youngsters were technology sophisticated and did not write

anything down on traditional paper by pen, but rather they are text-aholics. Actually, I am a text-

a-holic myself, but in a good, business productive I thought. They texted everything

right down to briefings and lunch orders. They recorded everything and texted the recording of

hearings and briefings in voice MMS (Multi Media Send) attachments; video attachments;

speech to text attachments; and the list goes on and on. They would electronically format

everything to the legislative assistants of every representative. This was acceptable sending and

receiving of information because all of the LA’s were in the same age bracket as the interns and

preferred not to get out of their chairs to deliver message citing this way of communicating can

be documented electronically as receipt of communication. Convenient? Yes! Appropriate? Not

quite feeling that yet.

        I never claimed to be better at technology than anyone, but some things are better said

with an actual letter or a hand written card, or personal delivery and a big smile; even if it is

being written by the intern to the constituent on behalf of the representative. Because I

communicated that way with the older constituents, or statehouse staff and workers; I got the

nick name “Old Fashioned.” How rude I thought, but then again it was kind of me. These Gen

Y’s though really did teach me the “You-Tube” and Facebook phenomenon of social

networking, advertising and top of the page viewing on the internet, which has been very

beneficial to my real estate business as far as getting exposure to properties I have listed for sale

and attracting potential buyers. I never knew this world was so easy to maneuver without ever

having to leave a computer. I still prefer however doing business face-to face with the people I

know over electronic communication.

I delivered my message weeks ago and a piece of that message was so highly regarded that an

explanation by me was requested six weeks later. I went to make my explanation, which was

very simple…Taxation should be determined by the home sales price as a basis rather than

valuation of an arbitrary replacement cost especially if the area in question is economically

depressed. Every REALTOR® knew this; however the look of enlightenment on some faces I

saw was beyond my ability to comprehend how something so simple could not be understood by

any one person before my proposal. Needless to say it was and the tidbit of information was

introduced on the floor, but I was not the author due Intern Rule Number 3. I was fine with that

because anyone who knows me knows I am the only person who advocates in the way of the

wording of that little inclusion. Every intern that had a significant view point introduction on the

state house received an honorable mention in a house reading and introduction on the state house

floor on May 01, 2009(Enclosed is a copy of what that house bill looked like on the day of the

reading). I was mentioned and I was proud because although the process was ridiculous, the

appreciation by the 116th Indiana General Assembly for my intern class was completely sincere

and undeniable.

       After it was all said and done, I realized kicked and screamed all the way through this

process, but I came to realize our representatives are just regular everyday people, elected into

their positions not because they have the expertise of remedy for a situation, but a passion just to

get their foot in the door and try to do their best for their constituency. Although many of our

representatives are questionable, I did appreciate the opportunity to be a part of something with

substance at the statehouse and I acknowledged my disenchantment with statehouse politics. It is

a beautiful thing when generations come together to teach and learn from one another. This is

the concept by which statehouse politics is executed everyday…so simple yet remarkably and

inadvertently complex.

                                                   Introduced Version


            RESOLUTION No. ___

       Introduced by: Grubb, Richardson


  A HOUSE RESOLUTION honoring those who have served as legislative interns for the
Indiana House of Representatives during the First Regular Session of the 116th Indiana General

   Whereas, the following have served as legislative interns for the Democrat Caucus of the
Indiana House of Representatives during the First Regular Session of the 116 th Indiana General
Assembly: Ian Bensberg, Madalyn Blackburn, Josh Board, Daniel Briles, Tonya Collier, Shauna
Croarkin, Julia Donhardt, Kristen Dowlut, Elaina Gemelas, Aaron Hamlin, Ryan Hehner, M.
Alayna Herr, Carlisia Hill, Devin Hillsdon-Smith, Ashley Holmes, Judy Holt, Michael Karafin,
John Kennedy, Ashley Kincaid, Katelyn McFall, Kevin Mealy, Abigail Miller, Saba Mohammed,
William Ndama, Allison Nimtz, Matthew Straw, and Kanika Warren, and
Whereas, the following have served as legislative interns

for the Republican Caucus of the Indiana House of Representatives during the First Regular
Session of the 116 th Indiana General Assembly: Eric Augustus, Benjamin Begines, Elizabeth
Birchmeier, Katherine Bonenberger, Daniel Cope, Adam Doerr, Andrew Ellis, Alexander Fay,
Ashley Fry, Jordan Harvey, Donald Kelly, Cassie Riecke, Alexandra Ritter, Victoria Sahm,
Clinton Smith, Kyle Tieken, Abby Weingardt, Christopher Weintraut, and Sara Young, and
Whereas, the work of the interns is vital to the success of each session of the Indiana General
Whereas, the members of the Indiana House of Representatives wish to express their gratitude to
this group of individuals who consider public service a calling; and
Whereas, the legislative interns serving in 2009 represent the diversity and dedication that
promotes compassionate service to each member's constituency and to the entire legislative
process: Therefore,

                     Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the

                           General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SECTION 1.That the Indiana House of Representatives recognizes the important contributions of
the individuals who are serving as legislative interns with the Indiana House of Representatives
during the First Regular Session of the 116 th Indiana General Assembly.
SECTION 2. That the Principal Clerk of the House of Representatives transmit a copy of this
resolution to each legislative intern.

DR 4834/DI jk



       Graphic file number 0 named seal1001.pcx with height 58 p and width 72 p Left aligned


Shared By: