Clay Cooper says his recent internship with U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Genoa Township) increased his knowledge of the legislative process and of the country's tax system.
The 21-year-old New Albany High School alumnus said that experience will be important when he graduates next year with a double major in economics and Asian studies from St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
"It does (apply to my majors) a little bit, especially regarding taxes and tax reform," Cooper said. "The tax code has a big bearing on business and economics and I eventually might want to go into something like my dad does.
"His business is completely based on tax credits that opened up an entirely new market to low-income housing projects."
His father, David Cooper, works with the Woda group of Westerville, which employs "experienced developers, general contractors and property managers specializing in the design, construction and management of affordable multifamily apartments, senior communities and single-family homes," according to the business' website.
Cooper said the Woda Group uses tax credits that were part of the tax reforms from President Ronald Reagan's administration in 1986. The credits allow the company to offer housing options at prices lower than industry standards.
Congress once again is considering tax reforms, and Cooper said he sat in on meetings with Tiberi and his constituents.
"It was an interesting time to intern because Congress is talking about doing an overhaul of taxes and a lot of special-interest groups were coming in and talking about retaining tax credits," he said.
Cooper said he interned with Tiberi for six weeks. His last day was July 19.
"Clay's hard work has made him a wonderful addition to the office," Tiberi said in a press release. "We certainly appreciate his dedication and wish him the best of luck in the future."
Tiberi represents Ohio's 12th Congressional District, which includes New Albany.
Cooper said the past few summers he worked as a bank teller and wanted to do something different this year.
He said the internship earned him one credit toward graduation at St. Olaf.
Cooper attended elementary school in Upper Arlington and his family moved to New Albany when he was 12.
He attended Columbus Academy in grades six to nine and then transferred to New Albany High School. He graduated in 2010.
Cooper said he played baseball at New Albany. He also played junior varsity soccer his sophomore year and ran cross country his senior.