A Tiffin native has gotten a chance to serve as an intern for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Joseph Reino was selected to serve as a legislative intern for Brown in his Capitol Hill office in Washington, D.C.
Brown said in a release, "Ohio students - like Joseph - exemplify how strong families, teachers, and Ohio communities continue to produce the next generation of world-class leaders."
"An internship allows students from either Ohio schools or Ohio communities to serve their state while gaining invaluable experience by working on a wide range of projects," Brown said.
Interns work with staff members to address constituent requests and concerns. In Washington, a typical day could include speaking with constituents on the phone, greeting visitors to the office, organizing incoming correspondence, attending Senate committee hearings and briefings, and leading tours of the U.S. Capitol.
"I am from Tiffin and I have very strong ties to my community. I have spent most of my adult life working for my family's restaurant, Reino's Pizza and Pasta, where I have worked as a manager and bartender," Reino said.Reino graduated from Tiffin Columbian High School. He was a member of the debate club, student council and concert choir.
"I also worked as a student advocate for drug-free youth in groups like SADD, Ohio Teen Institute, and Teen Pride," Reino said.
He is working on a political science degree at Kent State University.
"I was the kid growing up that watched 'Meet the Press' on Sunday afternoons instead of football," Reino said. "I have always had a passion for the political process."
At first, Reino wanted to pursue a business degree.
"I knew my passion was in politics and government," he said. "I have had so many exciting opportunities as a result of my decision, I can't imagine what life would be like if I chose a degree in business."
Reino is part of Washington Program on International Issues at Kent State. The program gives him the opportunity to finance the living and travel expenses associated with interning at Brown's office.
"I had to undergo a very competitive and extensive application process," Reino said. "Every year thousands of people apply for internships on Capitol Hill and only the most qualified are accepted."
"The reason why I am interning at Sen. Brown's office is because he is a fighter for the middle class," Reino said. "He understands the concerns people from towns like Tiffin have, and he is working hard to make our country a better place for everyone and not just the few."
Life for Reino hasn't changed much.
"I don't see my family every day, but I'm still the same person," he said. "I like to do the same things and I hope I can find more people out here in Washington that can accept a small town guy living in a big city."
"I have always been very close with my family and when I'm in Tiffin I like to spend most of my free time with the people I love," he said.
Reino plans to get more experience in Washington, either legislatively or in the bureaucracy, and hopes to attend graduate school sometime in the near future.
So far, he has learned about protocol and procedures of the U.S. Senate.
"I hope to gain the experience and knowledge that is required in order to help shape public policy so it benefits all Americans," Reino said.
"The moment I was introduced to Sen. Brown as his new intern was a great moment for me. I am honored to intern in the United States Senate, and I am proud to be working in Sen. Sherrod Brown's office."
"This is the best experience of my entire life and I wish it would never end," Reino said.