Student gets firsthand look at inner workings of government at Georgia State Capitol 

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two men in suits stand next to each other in front of a large wooden desk with the Georgia state seal hanging behind them
Mercer University junior Grant Folsom, left, is pictured with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Photo courtesy Grant Folsom

A Mercer University junior is getting an inside look at state government as an aide in the Georgia State Senate. 

Grant Folsom, a political science major from Adel, is assigned to the Senate Government Oversight Committee for the legislative session. In this role, he helps manage the day-to-day operations of the committee and assists its chair, Sen. Marty Harbin. He also gets to work with Sen. Sam Watson, who represents Folsom’s hometown. 

“It’s a really good experience to be able to make an impact on Georgians and be able to serve those that need help,” he said. “Plus, it’s really good for networking and being able to get a better understanding of how the legislative process works in Georgia.” 

As a Senate aide, he got a firsthand look at Crossover Day, one of the busiest days of Georgia’s legislative session. If a bill does not move from one chamber to the other by Crossover Day, it is considered dead for that session.

headshot of Grant Folsom wearing a blue suit and a maroon bow tie
Grant Folsom

“Everyone’s rushing around, and it was just super busy. It was just really interesting to sit back and watch all of the gears spinning,” he said. “It was really nice to kind of be a part of it rather than just watching it from the outside.” 

Folsom said he became interested in government after taking American government classes in high school. He participated in Youth Assembly, a workshop for high school students that introduces them to state government and gives them the opportunity to discuss state issues with administrators and elected officials. 

“Now, being at Mercer for the last almost three years, it kind of pushed me even more to continue my involvement in government,” he said. I’ve always wanted to serve the people closest to me. So, if I can serve the people in my home state, then that is accomplishing the goal.” 

He said being a Senate aide has given him a deeper understanding of the intricacies of government and the needs of the state. He said he also has come out of his shell and feels confident talking to lawmakers. 

“Now if I see the governor in the hallway, I’ll walk up and shake his hand. I would not have done that a couple years ago,” he said. 

Folsom said he hopes to return to the state Capitol as a lobbyist after graduation. He is earning course credit as a Senate aide, allowing him to continue his education outside the classroom. 

“Learning about government in the classroom is one thing, but being able to be a part of the process and really see it in person is just a completely different thing,” he said. 

 

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