A Day in the Life of a Congressional Intern

            Good morning, it’s 7:30 and it’s time to get ready for work. After getting ready and leaving my apartment my commute consists of walking to the Hart Senate Office Building and taking the underground tunnels and subways to my office located in the Longworth House Office Building. Now…it’s time to work:

            Unlike most jobs, there really is no set day to day schedule. It really all depends on a few things. Are we (The U.S. House of Representatives) in session? Are there constituent meetings? Is the Congressman in town? And a few more questions that must be asked to determine that day’s schedule of events.

I guess a few things that happen on a day-to-day basis is coming in making sure water is in the Keurig, the coffee is made in the coffee pot for constituents, the fridge is stocked with water, and making sure the office is in order. Every other day, I take turns with the other intern in the office, I am responsible for press clips. These are done to showcase the news the congressman has been in for the past 24 hours. It allows our press team to see what is happening in the press realm, is the congressman being quoted correctly, and allows our team to verify and validate claims being made. It also gives our staff a record of news within the district and news nationally and internationally. On any given day these clips can run from 12-30 pages depending on news activity from the past day.

In session:

An in-session day simply explained is crazy. We start the mornings off most days with a packed schedule. Running around to escort meetings into our office, or to the capitol if the congressman must manage a meeting between votes. Leading up to these meetings in the days prior interns and legislative staff must also prepare memos to brief the congressman on the group and their efforts. During these meetings it is my responsibility to assist the leg. staff in taking notes to use statistics and information shared properly when presenting, defending, or debating legislation. Staff also spend fly-in days preparing for a leg meeting to brief the congressman on what will happen that week. And we have weekly staff meetings to talk over the happenings of the week (this happens in and out of session). I also work to answer constituent correspondence through the phones and mail. Answering questions, guiding them to help in relation to federal agencies, and assisting them in things like legislative tracking. No one day in session is alike, there are always different meetings, new people, new events, briefings, and so much more.

Out of session:

            For an intern out of session days are not our favorite. It leaves little work to do on most days. The congressman is back at work in the state meeting with those he represents and ensuring life within the district and work being done in congress is good and beneficial. These days in DC are often slow, consist of less correspondence, less meetings, and less people. Interns do get to sit in on meetings with staff when they happen, and often get to voice their opinions and ask questions after the fact. Recently, I got to sit in on a major announcement from a large operational facility within the state. Unfortunately, only bad news came out of this meeting, but after the fact I was able to have good conversation with the staffers and determine the reasoning for why the company made this decision. A huge part of out of session days is networking. So, reaching out to staffers both within the government and out and sitting down and talking about opportunities within these areas, government, lobbying, non-profit, etc, and having productive conversations about moving towards a profession of success. So far, I have had the opportunity to sit down with other staffers, friends from back in Florida, previous members of FFA and current congressional staffers, and a lobbyist. All of which have been beneficial in determining the path I want to take post college.

            Of course, there are other tasks that must be done often and that interns get to participate in, however, the tasks listed above are the ones that immediately come to mind.

            I really have loved the opportunities I have had within this internship and recommend that anyone interested in Government relations, how the government works, or just wanting to be involved in politics should look into this opportunity. The best way to get involved is to go to the members website (often lastname.house.gov), look for the internship tab (sometimes easily found or could be located under services), and view the information, and application. Within the month I have been here, this internship has already exceeded my expectations.

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