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.
- 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.
- 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.
The view from Rep. Dunnigan's Office
The session is over and now it's back to school, work at the beloved Copy Center, and skiing while the snow lasts!