Legislative intern sets high political goals | NevadaAppeal.com

Legislative intern sets high political goals

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer
Carson High School Senior Matt McAlman, 18, works with Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, on Tuesday on the Senate floor. McAlman has spent the session working as the Senate Finance intern at the Legislature.

By the 2007 session of the Nevada Legislature, 18-year-old Matt McAlman plans to be a state senator.

“Until I’m 35,” he adds, “then I’ll be president of the United States.”

It’s a lofty ambition, but Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, has confidence in the Carson High School senior after working with him this session.

“He’s a wonderful young man,” she said. “He’s bright and articulate and has his goals lined out. I’m sure he’s going to be a leader someday.”

McAlman’s interest in politics sparked during last year’s elections and has continued to grow as he’s served as the Senate finance intern for nearly five months.

“It took the spark and lit it on fire,” he said. “The senators just took me in and showed me the ropes. They took me down on the floor, into meetings and explained everything to me.

“It’s been a blast.”

Cegavske said it is also interesting for legislators to spend time with the interns from Nevada high schools and colleges.

“These are the youth of Nevada,” she said. “They are our future. They’re going to be our future leaders.”

She said she enjoyed being kept up-to-date on McAlman’s plans for the prom. McAlman enjoyed being a part of their world, too.

“I’m hanging out with some pretty powerful people,” he said. “They treat me just like I’m a buddy of theirs. They’re very up front and they don’t condescend to me.”

He’s also seen how normal they are.

“They’re just regular people who have regular jobs,” he said. “They come together every two years for 120 days to make some major decisions. They’re every-day people who do outstanding stuff.”

McAlman said he “ate up” the information from his high school government classes and has had a feast as a legislative intern.

“I’ve seen stuff here the book doesn’t tell you about,” he said. “Stuff that some people never get to see.”

McAlman will graduate from Carson High School on Saturday. In the fall, he plans to attend Western Nevada Community College to pursue a degree in music education with a minor in political science.

After college, he plans to teach music and run for political office when he’s 21.