Mancini tries hand at politics

Mark Mancini poses for a picture with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

For any political junkie, Mark Mancini is living the life this summer.

He is working in Ottawa, through the Conservative Internship program, inside Minister Tony Clement’s office.

Mancini’s job involves assisting the Director of Parliamentary Affairs and FedNor for the minister, and the minister himself. Mancini said his job typically involves a lot of meetings, reading, writing, and phone calls.

Mancini had wanted the chance to try the internship program for quite awhile but was too young to apply (it’s open to post-secondary students).

“Having just finished my first year, I thought it was a great time to apply,” Mancini said. “I had to fill out an application form, and then went through a series of interviews until I was offered a job in Minister Clement’s office.”

When the job was offered, Mancini said it was a no-brainer to accept.

“There wasn’t a lot of hesitation for me to accept the job. Minister Clement was always my choice to work for. I’m quite passionate about Northern Ontario, and what we need to do to ensure the sustainability of jobs and the industries they’re associated with in the North.

For Mancini, it wasn’t just his love of politics and the North that made him want to try to the program, it was a chance to prove at some points. In the end, you have to swallow the homesickness and go to work each day.”

With his work though, Mancini carries the philosophy that it’s bigger than himself and more important.

“My job is much bigger than just me. It involves a passion for Canada, and for what we need to do as a country to continue moving forward. It involves a belief in an agenda and a plan to keep our economy on track. That’s why I wanted to do this, and what kept me going everyday.”

Another benefit of the job is what he can take away from it to help him in his line of work as an LU senator, Mancini said.

“I believe my job this summer will help me as an LU Senator. A large part of my job was dealing with Northern Ontario issues, and this will help me in the larger context of the drastic issues facing post-secondary education in the North. My job as LU Senator also involves a lot of people skills, and if anything, I feel I developed those over the summer.

At the end of the day, his work as a senator is about the SGA students and serving them, Mancini said.

“I want to be able to apply what I learned to better serve the students of the SGA in this very important year, where we see a number of funding and education service challenges on something.

“I was certainly nervous aboutstarting a new job in the political firebed that is Ottawa, but it was a time to step up to the plate and prove that a guy from Sudbury can survive in what is nothing short of an iron jungle.”

While spending time in Ottawa, in the minister’s office, Mancini has had a chance to meet several high-profile Conservative politicians, including John Baird and Stockwell Day, and of course, the Prime Minister.

Mancini also got a chance to meet someone who is “probably my political hero,” Peter MacKay.

“Overall, living in Ottawa is a great networking opportunity, politically. “Mancini has enjoyed the learning experience of being in Ottawa, and says the job quickly destroys pre-conceptions some may have about the world of politics.

All politicians and their staff work very hard, and work long hours on behalf oftheir constituents. It’s a selfless profession, as odd as that may sound. As a political junkie, I’ve learned how government actually works, and what skills are truly necessary to succeed in that tough world.”

Possibly the hardest part of the summer for Mancini has been being away from Sudbury.

“I would say being away from my family, friends, and my girlfriend was certainly difficult for me. I’m a bit of a homebody at heart, and that was really toughthe horizon.”