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

Texas House of Representatives, Rep. Hubert Vo

Spring 2013 Site Review

Position: Legislative Intern
Student: Government Junior

As a legislative intern, you will have many responsibilities both inside and outside the office of the Legislator you represent. Within the office, your responsibilities will include writing constituent letters, filing bills, conducting bill research, and compiling comprehensive data files for specific purposes as assigned by your supervisor. Outside of the office, you will have the opportunity to attend committee hearings and take notes on behalf of the Legislator. Additionally, you will get to schedule your own meetings with various lobbyists who want to explain and push their respective agendas to your representative.  Overall, the position requires strong communication and writing skills, the ability to work in a team setting, and self-starting independence. Most importantly, this internship demands a strong desire to learn the legislative process through hands-on experience.

To describe a typical day as an intern, the first thing to do is plan out at least 5-6 hours a day of work, 3-4 times a week. This is a part-time job, so expect to get projects and assignments that will definitely occupy the full time you are there. Additionally, given the vast nature of the Legislature, it is important to stay up to date with bills being heard in the House and Senate, as well as any other “hot news”. The best way this is done is just by keeping frequent track of your e-mail, where most of this news is circulated. As one of your assigned tasks, scheduling in these important events or news serves as a way for you to communicate to the rest of the staff that you have acknowledged what is going on and have followed through with it. Lastly, your day will never consist of just one activity. Your activities will usually span from writing bill memos to having multiple conversations with lobbyists on the House floor.

Spring 2013 Site Review

Position: Legislative Intern
Student: History/Asian American Studies Junior

The title of my position was a legislative intern during the 83rd legislative session. The statement that I kept hearing over and over at the very beginning of the internship was that things were going to get very busy around here. Surely, enough when late February rolled around, the lobbyist kept entering the office and the constituents kept calling and writing in letters every time a new amendment was being passed. In one week we got more than one hundred letters from constituents regarding various bills. I’ve come to learn that it is good to have generic letter for a certain bills or issues that way you don’t have to keep rewriting the letters.  Some of my main responses were: answering phone calls and greeting visitors, checking mail/ email for important information, drafting letters and email response to constituents on legislative topics, meeting with constituents, advocacy groups, and other staff on legislative topics. And lastly, draft legislative documents, such as bill analysis, press releases, and talking points.

At the very beginning I would always come into the office and ask what my assignment for the day was, and then I developed this habit to just automatically do find things to do such as checking constituent letters, email, and mail before seeking the legislative aide for other projects. One may think that the handling constituent letters is an easy process but it is very tedious. Firstly, you have to know how to use CMS (Constituent Management System) in which I had to take a 2 hour course in at the very beginning of the internship. Once we receive the letter, we have to read it and then enter CMS, this includes their personal info and why they are contacting us. Once this is completed I would draft a letter for the constituent, this step sometimes involves research, if I am not familiar with the bill. There is a website to go to track bills, see what they are about and where they are currently standing. After researching the bill, I finally started to write a draft.  Furthermore, it is important to ask question, stay positive, and behave professionally in the office because you never know who might just walk in.

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