Texas Senate, Sen. Jane Nelson
Spring 2011 Site Review
Position: Legislative Intern
Student: Government Senior
Working as a legislative Intern for State Senator Jane Nelson has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Arriving every morning, to work inside the State Capitol gives me goose bumps while walking through the doors. There is a feeling of history that overwhelms you with a side of anxiousness for the history that is being made. Everybody seems to be focused on their own specific task, running around in circles, trying to achieve their daily goal.
My first duties when arriving to work at 8:30 is to stamp the mail, and sort it into different categories according to constituency. Next my duties are to check the voice mail and give all of the notes to the Senator. Additionally, I gather all of the previous days mail and begin putting all of the information into the computer systems, so that the Senator will be able to quickly jump onto the computer and see what the public and her constituents have to say about specific bills or other legislation.
Among my other tasks and duties, are the times when I attend conferences and meetings to take notes and pass the information along to the Senator and the rest of the staff. These meetings are usually some of my favorite times at the Capitol because I get to meet so many different people that work in all different areas of the governmental structure. With that being said, being a legislative intern for a State Senator is the most valuable experience that I have ever had the pleasure of being part of.
Spring 2011 Site ReviewPosition: Legislative Intern
Student: Government Junior
I have worked in Senator Jane Nelson's (Senate District 12) office for the past 9 months as an "Legislative Intern". My typical work week is 12-15hours a week split over 3 days. Depending on my school schedule, I will either work mornings or afternoons. While working in the morning, interns must take care of mail received from the previous night. The Senate mail service runs early in the morning, so it is important to sort the mail. While sorting the mail, we must date stamp the mail. Date stamping is important because the Senator likes to know how long it takes for mail coming from constituents to reach her desk and for her to respond. Once date stamping is done, we complete other office tasks that include sorting, filing, mailing letters etc.
A big part of an interns responsibilities it entering all incoming constituent messages into a computer program called Constituent Management System (CMS). CMS keeps tracks of all incoming mail, phone calls and office visits the Senator has received for the last 15 years. By entering all incoming correspondence into CMS, the Senator is able to track what bills interest her constituents the most. Moreover, the Senator knows the opinions of her district in relating to certain issues. It is important to be able to enter all incoming correspondence in a fast manner because bills are continuingly being called to the floor for debate and voting. I have spent a lot of my time working on an incoming correspondence count in excel. I run queries in CMS and get the number of letters/calls/emails that have been received in relation to certain bills or issues over a given time period. When not entering data into CMS, interns work in the Health and Human Service Committee Office, which Senator Nelson chairs. While in the HHS Office, interns assist the clerk in getting things ready for committee hearings by helping put together binders and reports. Interns also are responsible for transporting work folders and documents back in forth to the Senator while in committee hearings and on the Senate floor. While on the Senator floor, we are asked to take notes on debate and give summaries about our time spent there.