Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2010 Utah State Legislature Internship

Back in August I applied to participate in an internship offered by BYU. I was accepted and after taking a prep. course during fall semester, I started my internship at the Utah State Capitol.

Brief facts about the Utah State Legislature:
  • The Legislative Session runs for 45 days (every state is different, for example, California's Legislative session is ongoing!). It generally starts the third week in January and adjourns the second week in March.
  • The House of Representatives is composed of 75 members, each representing the district in which they live.
  • The Senate is composed of 29 members, each representing the county in which they live.
  • Each representative and senator is part of two or more committees. Bills must pass committee hearings in order to be voted upon in the Senate or the House.
Facts about my internship experience:
  • I was randomly assigned to work with Representative Jim Dunnigan and Representative Jim Bird.
  • I woke up between 6:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. to catch my carpool up to the capitol five days a week.
  • Grant woke up with me to make sure I had breakfast and a lunch to take. He also made dinner about 3 times a week. 500 gold stars to you, babe!
  • I arrived in Salt Lake everyday at 8:00 a.m.
  • My day consisted of attending committee meetings, tracking my representatives bills, preparing committee binders, responding to emails, tabulating survey data, sending out weekly legislative highlights, setting up appointments, and anything else they wanted me to do. I was their right hand woman.
  • I got home everyday around 6:30 p.m. Long day.
A few things I learned:
  • Not all politicians are dishonest, un-ethical (bold statement when the stories of Killpack and Garn are taken into consideration, I know), power hungry, insert other descriptions of politicians here.
  • Utah is very Republican. Wait, I already knew that.
  • Utah Democrats don't stand a chance here, even though they have sound arguments. Wait, already knew that too.
  • The process of a bill becoming law can take TONS of time and LOTS of work.
  • There are more less informed citizens than informed citizens when it comes to state issues.
  • It is possible to be involved and to make a difference in the world of politics.
It was a very rewarding internship, one that I will always remember and be grateful for.

The view from Rep. Dunnigan's Office

The corridor I passed many times a day

Outside the House Chambers. Rep. Dunnigan is in the back (tall, dark hair/suit coat).

Rep. Dunnigan speaking to a group of junior high kids.

A common sight. A rally in the rotunda.

The House Floor

A visit from Grant!

The session is over and now it's back to school, work at the beloved Copy Center, and skiing while the snow lasts!


Jenn said...

I should let my dad read this, he would be so proud of you. :) what a neat experience, i bet you learned a ton.

nick and camie said...

what a cool experience. way to stick it out. what do you want to be when you grow up?

Soler said...

That is the best Technology we all have now.