The first week of my experience working in the Michigan House of Representatives was very fast paced, but I enjoyed every bit of it. It consisted of meeting the office staff of the representative that I was working with, filling out 30+ pages of paperwork required by the state to actually be an employee of the Michigan House of Reps, and completing an hour-long orientation (that went over safety and work protocols) with all the other newly hired staff members and interns. Day by day brought an entire new experience in Lansing. One day, I would be in the office in the morning completing various office tasks like answering the phones and emails, writing legislative updates, memos, and community highlights (like tributes and certificates for graduating high school seniors in my representative’s district); while in the afternoon I would go with the representative to session inside of the Capitol building taking notes and observing our state legislatures at work. Another day of work, I would be tending to the representative’s special guests and visitors who were visiting – to discuss an array of issues. Most of the time, it was lobbyists and various representatives from unions who wanted the rep to vote a certain way on a given bill, or actually sponsor or write a bill on a given issue that they felt was needed. The representative’s office can be quite a busy place where there can be people coming and going all the time for meetings and even tours. However, in the office, we were told to always schedule appointments for various meetings that people may want to have with the representative. You still tend to have people show up at any given time unannounced. It just happens!
Another day of work consisted of me going with the representatives to various events and rallies in Lansing and even in the district that they serve. These events sometimes have advocating groups protesting or speaking out on a given issue/bill, visiting and interacting with school/youth groups – to either talk to them or take them on a tour. Sometimes staff/legislative receptions had all the representatives in a given political caucus meet with each other to discuss initiatives that will help their political parties. All of these events were really informative and engaging! I was luckily able to go to most of them, and had the opportunity to network and even share my ideas with other state legislatures.
Lastly, after each week that I work with my representative, we would sit down with the rest of the office staff to discuss what the following week will consist of. This helps to make sure that everyone is on the same page and aware of what to expect in and outside of the office at any given time. Usually, we would also plan events and discuss with the rep any ideas or initiatives that we have for the rep to be a part of at that time. Thankfully, the representative that I have the pleasure to work with is very willing to listen and receptive to anything that the office staff had to suggest.