For my internship, I am interning at the Texas State Capitol for the office of State Representative Ryan Guillen.
As a legislative intern I have a variety of day to day tasks. I start the day by performing everyday tasks that allow the office to function properly, I then follow this by checking and updating our offices social media outreach program. Another important part of what I do is talking to constituents, recording their information and concerns, and logging them into our constituent management service. After that I complete any current casework assignments and then ask for additional casework and begin on that. In addition to these daily tasks I may also have to prepare physical mail to be sent out.
As with my other internship in the legislature, this experience has been extremely interesting. However, this is especially true because I am now serving a different district. Before this I worked for a representative that served the Austin area, but the office I work in now is closer to the US-Mexico border. So now, not only do I get to learn the procedures of another office but I also get to learn about the needs of people in another part of the state and how to best serve them. Learning these new concerns has opened my eyes to a whole new set of problems that are affecting people in the state of Texas. And these issues aren’t necessarily what you might think. For instance, since the district is close to the border and has a large Hispanic population, people might think that the largest issue concerning its inhabitants is immigration. However, while this is a concern, the people of the district are also concerned about property taxes, internet connection and reliability, and consumer protection issues.
The different issues concerning the people we serve aren’t the only surprise that I have come across. Another thing that I have had to readjust to is the workload. During my past internship the legislative session was fast approaching and there were many calls and concerns about upcoming legislation and everything was very fast paced. However, the legislative session is currently far off and therefore there aren’t as many calls about bills or policy positions. Instead, most of the calls we are getting are from constituents that need help with everyday issues that would fall under the category of casework. This means helping people on a more individual level rather than on the level of wide scale policy changes.
In addition to the type of work that I do being different, the amount of work is different too. Because the session isn’t approaching there isn’t such an abundance of work to be done and therefore the flow of work is slightly more relaxed. This allows staff and interns to converse more freely and talk about the news, events, and procedures of the state legislature. This creates a more open and friendly learning environment and greatly benefits the interns.