When Dylan Goldberg was 10, a well-known politician gave him some advice that still guides him today: "Stand tall, help others and seek justice for all."
The advice came from former U.S. Attorney Janet Reno in a note she wrote to Goldberg at a fundraiser when she was running for governor of Florida, where he was living at the time. Goldberg, now 21 and living in Columbia, said he looks at the note every morning when he wakes up, reminding him to try to help someone throughout the day.
In his new job as assistant to the Howard County Delegation, which he started on Dec. 12, Goldberg will have that opportunity to help others, both directly and indirectly.
"There's going to be a lot of big bills on the table and I look forward to meeting people and doing some good," he said.
The job is a three-days-a-week position and the duties are largely administrative. But for Goldberg, a junior at the University of Maryland majoring in government and politics, it's an opportunity he hopes will steer him down a future career in politics and community service.
"It's an awesome networking opportunity," Goldberg said. "By the day, I can feel myself opening up door after door for myself. … This is the beginning of a very long career in Howard County politics."
Goldberg has a history of opening doors for himself.
In July of 2010, he was working at the East Columbia Branch Library with County Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty's daughter, who told him if he was interested in government and politics, he should volunteer for her mother's campaign.
Goldberg decided to give it a shot. He helped Sigaty, a Columbia Democrat, with door knocking and her other campaign outreach efforts.
After Sigaty won her primary race in September, Goldberg reached out to help other local and state politicians in their campaigns. His efforts helped him earn the 2010 Democratic Party's James W. Rouse Community Service Award.
Once the elections were over, Goldberg was itching to do more for the community. In January, he started interning in Sigaty's council office, where he helped answer phones and worked on constituent issues. It was there that Goldberg and then-Wilde Lake High School senior Rodrigo Futema started a food drive called Food for Tomorrow.
"We started collecting back in March and we've raised close to $16,000 and over 3.5 tons of food," Goldberg said.
Sigaty said Goldberg did a lot of great work during his time as her intern, and while she will miss him, she is excited for him to move onto new opportunities.
"I'm happy that he developed his skills working here and was able to demonstrate talent, aptitude and desire for the (delegation) position," she said. "I think people will enjoy interacting with him. … He's very friendly, helpful. He listens well."
Those qualities are what attracted delegation co-chairman Guy Guzzone to hire Goldberg when Courtney Samuels left the position with the delegation to take a job with U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
"We needed somebody who we thought could jump into the position quickly, who was sharp and able to pick up things fast," Guzzone said. "And Dylan, he's been a known entity in the community for a number of years now."
Guzzone, who let Goldberg shadow him during the October special session, said Goldberg has an "enthusiasm for making government work well," but when it came down to hiring him it was his willingness to help others that made him the top candidate.
"He's a good person who has an enormous amount of energy, and he wants to do good," Guzzone said. "You can't ask for much more than that."