It was something of an ironic twist of fate for Lake County OSU Extension Agent Jaime Davis. Her recent travels to Washington D.C. wound up with only one meeting getting shut down… by the shut down.
Davis traveled to the capitol through OSU’s Study Leave program, which allows up to three weeks for a professional developed-related project.
In late September, she headed back east for a research project involving the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) under the USDA.
The focus of the research centered around researching positive youth development, Davis said, with a goal of bringing youth organizations together for a two-day meeting in D.C.
Davis said she arrived on Monday, Sept. 23, and had been in town for a week when the government loggerhead came to a boil.
“It didn’t even hit my radar until the first day at NIFA that the government had shut down,” she said.
Rumors ran rampant of a potential shut down upon her arrival, but Davis said this is a common thread in the politically-charged arena of Washington D.C. and its inherent bureaucratic boiler room atmosphere.
But come Sept. 30, it became apparent that it was no joke.
Davis described the overall atmosphere as tentative during her stay.
“There was definitely a feeling of uncertainty of when people would go back to work and collect a paycheck,” she said.
Local businesses opted to “seize the moment,” Davis said, offering furlough specials in light of the rare government shutdown underway.
Restaurants, in particular, capitalized on the occurrence.
Davis also witnessed a protest organized by a group known as Truckers Ride for the Constitution, which voiced opposition to policies of the current administration and beyond.
The event intended to raise awareness to the coordinators’ cause with its rolling beltway protest, though it did not draw the numbers hoped for by organizers. Still, there were enough truckers participating for Davis to take notice during her stay.
“That was something that was particularly interesting to experience,” she said. “They definitely made an impression.”
During this time, she delved into 20 years of positive youth development research.
Davis said that the goal remains to reschedule the cancelled meeting for another time, but no dates have surfaced yet.
The hope is to reconvene sometime between December and February, she said.
In light of the first federal shut down since 1995, Davis said it was a trip to remember.
“It was definitely an interesting time,” she said.