This summer I am interning as a CAUSE (Center for Asian Americans United in Self Empowerment) Leadership Academy intern. I am placed in the office of a California Assemblymember on Tuesdays through Fridays, and participate in civic leadership workshops held by CAUSE on Mondays. I also work with my intern cohort on a voter engagement projects, in which we are creating a voter research guide aimed to get more Asian American youth to pre-register to vote.
This week I started work at my office placement with Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi. On Tuesday morning I found myself excited to work hard and learn as much as I can about state politics, but, as most of my fellow interns probably were, I was a little nervous as well. Thankfully, this feeling quickly dissipated when I met everyone at the office and saw how everyone interacted. Not only does everyone seem to genuinely enjoy their work, but they also seem to genuinely enjoy working with each other.
I had initially thought that I would be delegated the typical intern tasks such as getting coffee and making copies, but I found myself pleasantly surprised as I was presented opportunities to able sit in on meetings and also attend events. For example, I was able to sit in on a healthcare meeting this week, in which constituents and activists discussed SB 562, the single-payer healthcare bill that Assembly Speaker Rendon had notoriously shelved earlier this week. I listened to how the healthcare crisis of this country has personally affected people, and also came to realize how complicated the subject is. Healthcare is an issue where, especially if it affects you personally, it can be extremely frustrating to wait for a bill such as 562 to go through the extremely long and tedious process that legislation is often subject to. On the other side, the legislative process is time-consuming for a reason, and it is important to make sure that a bill is not missing or overlooking any important details. This meeting helped me understand that there’s almost never a clear cut answer in politics, even when it might seem like there is.
I also also able to attend a ribbon cutting at a local chain restaurant, Truxton’s, as well as an international trade forum at the Torrance Chamber of Commerce. Coming into this internship being quite unfamiliar with state politics, I quickly came to understand that there is much more that goes into being an Assemblymember or a local politician than one would think. Events and meetings are constantly occurring; there is always somewhere to go to or someone to meet. From what I’ve experienced this week, politics is a hectic, difficult, but, in the end, rewarding career and I could not be more excited for these next 7 weeks.