Reflections on an internship in the Lt. Gov's office
Ben Kinsley, who served as our office intern this legislative session, will graduate from Norwich University this month and lives in Williston. He offered this perspective on his experience in the State House.
Working in the Lieutenant Governor’s office is not quite what you would expect. One would expect hours of answering phone calls, filing papers, stuffing envelopes, and other seemingly tedious office tasks. The small desk you are given in the corner office of the State House seems to fit this picture, but is the only aspect of the experience that does so.
Instead of answering phones you are talking with constituents, lobbyists, and lawmakers. Instead of filing papers, you are filing reports about the status of bills or what went on in the committee you were sitting in on. Instead of stuffing envelopes, you are writing emails to constituents about issues that matter to them.
Probably one of the most interesting projects I worked on was a review of the various river dredging bills that were introduced this session. Phil was curious about the proposals for dredging because of all the erosion caused by Irene. I went through all the bills in the House and Senate to see what bills addressed the issue and I found eight bills that dealt with it in completely different ways.
I summarized each bill, and then Phil asked me to write up a policy that was pretty much the middle ground between all the bills. This project was unique in the fact that it was a lot of data collection and analysis that ended in the actual writing and presenting of a policy position to the Lieutenant Governor.
Working for Vermont’s second highest public official is actually a dynamic and engaging job. You often read about the legislative process in the newspaper or hear about it on the nightly news, but few ever make the trek to the State House, and fewer still have the opportunity to see the process from behind the scenes. This internship affords just that opportunity.