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Robert Vega, Director FAC 18 / 2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200 78712-1508 • 512-471-7900

Texas Senate Veterans Affairs

Fall 2008 Site Review

Student: Government/Political Communication Senior
Position: Committee on Veteran Affairs & Military Installations Intern

Working with the Texas Senate is the opportunity of a lifetime. There are numerous positions and roles that will help you discover your passions and develop your skills. Most senate and house offices welcome free help and are extremely flexible in regards to students and their academic responsibilities. The Texas Legislature provides a productive and unique experience that the University of Texas at Austin is privileged to have in their own backyard. I have taken tremendous strides and grown both professionally and personally.

A typical day in the life of a Texas Senate intern would begin at about 7:30 a.m. You’ll need to wake-up and be dressed in slacks and tie and in the office at or before 9:00 a.m. You will possibly need a coat and most definitely need to arrive earlier if your boss is in the office that day. Arriving at the office at 9:00 a.m. I process the mail first thing in the morning. Processing the mail entails opening all correspondence, reading it and then distributing it to the proper staffer that handles that issue. For example a letter from the Attorney General regarding an opinion request about the newly instated DPS checkpoints would be date stamped and promptly handed to our state affairs staffer. A letter from CPS energy discussing solar panels on schools would be given to our business and commerce staffer and same with all education correspondence and so forth. This is a typical duty given to interns in my position.

The rest of my day usually consists of reading correspondence, articles, and reports; communicating with other senate staff, constituents, and visitors; and meeting with various stakeholders in the issues I have been assigned. My office assigned me to the transportation and homeland security committee and the international relations and trade committee. My office also entrusted me with a single issue that is extremely important to my boss, human trafficking. I have been placed in charge of pieces of legislation as well as coordinated press conferences and information sessions for other legislators. I have learned a bevy of new things, honed in on a few skills, and uncovered some skills I need to work on.

I could sit here and continually belabor the point that the dynamism the political arena and the Texas Legislature offers any and every student a place to discover and develop just about every skill, such as negotiating, initiative, teamwork, self-reliance, writing, analysis, communication, and research. The truth of the matter is though that above all else this internship provided with me an experience I will never forget because the biggest responsibility I was given by my office was that of civic responsibility. This job has helped me to understand that we as humans must work for a common good to better the life of all. If you want to learn the ropes of thee Texas political process, sharpen various professional skills and make a difference all at the same time then intern in the Texas Senate. Even if you do not have an interest in government you will not regret the chance to change yourself and your state for the better.

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