Texas House of Representatives, Rep. Todd Hunter
Spring 2013 Site Review
Position: Legislative Intern
Student: Rhetoric & Writing Junior
In a typical day at a legislator’s office during session, there are many duties to be completed and shoes to be filled. The chief of staff and his or her legislative aids typically handle the heavy lifting of constituent casework and communicating/negotiating with the other offices about bills. However, the volume of casework and paperwork can quickly become overwhelming, which is where you, the intern, come in.
The intern more or less seems present to help facilitate the process of keeping in contact with constituents, representing the legislator at events, and preparing legislation to be sent off to their proper committees. This includes, but is not limited to: preparing bill packets, attending committee hearings and meetings, responding to constituent casework, communicating with lobbyists, writing recommendation letters, making copies, filing paperwork, and general office organization.
These are the basic tasks typically asked of an intern – but in order to successfully do this, we must have familiarity with the legislative process, understand the sectors of the legislature and how it all works together, getting to know all the faces of representatives and senators, familiarizing yourself with the most important bills, and being familiar with the organizations and officials that work most closely with your particular legislator. The intern can do this by building relationships with those who frequent the office, attending Capitol social events, and following legislative news from sources like The Texas Tribune – very helpful indeed.
Spring 2011 Site Review
Position: Legislative Intern
Student: History Sophomore
As a legislative intern in Representative Todd Hunter’s office, I learned the interworking of the state law making process, while gaining first hand knowledge of governmental work. I was uniquely positioned as the youngest person in the office, so I had a different perspective on the daily operations. I was relatively unexposed to policy making, and office dynamics in general.
Working in the main office, I answered phones, greeted guests in the office, picked up the mail, and wrote correspondence to constituents. My work here was more social and light-hearted, and I was working with less paper work and more people. This job is great for anyone who enjoys working with people, chatting to people in all types of occupational positions, and working with computer programs. There is a little more down time and flexibility in the main office, yet the ebb and flow is more unpredictable than my current position.
Working in the main office for a representative or senator is a great transition into work at the capitol. You really get the best of both worlds, in that you are talking with a constant stream of visitors, yet you are given purpose driven tasks that have to be completed in a timely fashion on a daily basis. As the session progressed, I was transferred into the Calendars Committee Office, which Representative Hunter chairs. Here, the nature of my work changed from my previous tasks in the main office. Since our office controls how and when each bill will be seen on the house floor, our work in the committee office is much more tedious, and requires a more meticulous and detail-oriented hand. I also help to keep track of each bill and match it with its corresponding date of introduction. This is extremely important, and an oversight or miscommunication in this area would result in a point of order, which would delay to dealings of the whole house. Checking each bill daily for fiscal notes, I must make note of the stipulations and then properly order the bills according to their number. Keeping track of the bill number also requires a keen eye and a mind well versed in numerical organization. Perhaps the most challenging task of my job in the committee office is dealing with an unrelenting stream of lobbyists.
Summer 2010 Site ReviewPosition: Legislative Intern
Student: Economics Sophomore
Working in the Representative's office has been a great experience for me. When I first started working I was issued a key card and ID that allows me to go past security without being screened and access staff elevators and tunnel ways. Parking was never a problem as interns are allowed to park in the DPS garage across the street from the capital. The Representative's office was very accommodating in fitting my work schedule around my classes and I typically get to work at 10am and leave about 2pm. When I first get into the office I have a little time to settle in before I begin working on constituent case work. Constituent case work is the majority of what I do as an Intern and never becomes dull because no constituent case is ever the same. It takes some time in order to learn the different avenues and approaches on each case but after a few weeks I was able to handle most of the cases on my own and was beginning to formulate my own frequent contacts in other agencies that were able to assist me in finding information and solving constituent issues.
Throughout the day I would also be asked to run errands for the office such as deliver or pick up certain things; however, this provided me with an opportunity to see parts of the capital that I never would have seen without working here such as interior offices of the senate building, the supreme court building, and the underground tunnels that go between them. I would typically either eat lunch in the capital cafeteria or if I liked delivery was never a problem. On certain days when our committee was having a hearing we would be particularly busy getting information to the chairman while watching him on TV as he administered the hearing. Interacting with the representative is always enjoyable as he is very charismatic and pleasing to be around. Working as an intern for a representative certainly was a great experience that I would recommend to others.