I spent my Spring 2010 semester working as in intern for the 2010 legislative session with the Indiana Republican Representatives.
A typical day included arriving at 8:30. At 9am, I would go to the House Chambers and organize the desks of all 4 Representatives on my case load. I got to know each member personally and got unique insight into their personal views on issues. After organizing the desks, I would go over daily schedules with the Reps and run any last minute errands for them (making copies, sending messages, placing phone calls). At 10, I would return to my desk to organize a weekly calendar for each of my Reps. At 11, I would begin to update the constituent log, which was a record of every e-mail sent from the 4 legislative districts. I was responsible for responding to many of these e-mails, and had to keep running totals of top issues so that at the end of every week, we could report to the Reps.
At noon, I would take a lunch hour. By 1:00, I would begin research on legislation in progress. (The most frequent constituent comments were those in either opposition or support of legislation). I would then draft letters explaining the progress of bills on their way through the legislative process, and explaining how each Rep planned on voting for that bill.
Throughout the afternoon, I would answer phone calls from constituents in all 4 legislative districts on my caseload. Many people would call in looking for help with food stamps, or unemployment. For every case, I would contact legislative liaisons from state agencies in order to sort out a particular constituent’s case. To help solve one man’s case, I got to speak with Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the State Police Department, and the Department of Transportation, all in one afternoon!
I was also able to attend committee meetings, work with school-aged pages, and sit in on the House Floor during debates.
On a daily basis, I was able to utilize my language skills in order to help real people understand the legislative process, and cut through red tape to work with state agencies.
Written by Whittley Lewis, English major