Georgia Tech’s President, Bud Peterson, with the Georgia Tech GLIP interns for the Spring 2014 legislative session.
During the Spring 2014 semester I interned at the Georgia Capitol with Chairman McKoon, 29th, of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Chairman Millar, 40th, of the Senate Retirement Committee.
Senator Millar, 40th, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, and me on Sine Die just before midnight.
Everyone will tell you that internships help determine whether or not you appreciate that job as prospective employment, however they do not tell you about the relationships you build and the last impressions they leave. While I do not believe becoming a Senator or Representative is in my future, I do believe my future in governmental affairs is confirmed. While interning I faced challenges like everyone, however facing these challenges helped me grow as a person, student, and employee in immeasurable ways.
Interns tend to travel in packs to grab lunch and run errands within the Capitol. I happened to enjoy the company of these interns from Georgia College and State and the University of Georgia to deliver paperwork to the Senate Floor and pick-up bills from the Secretary of Senate.
Now to get away from the sappy stuff… I chose a great session to intern with the Georgia State Senate. During my time at the Capitol, Senator Jason Carter started his campaign to contest Georgia Governor Deal’s reelection for Governor. The interaction between Southern Democrats and Republicans was so eye-opening in terms of the methods by which the two parties must work together. Most of them are friends, but they are friends who argue and disagree on the Senate Floor.
Aside from the gubernatorial race, the GOP and the Democrats started the process of preparing for their respective primaries; this caused a swirl of rumors as well as illuminated alliances between the Senators and their favored candidate. The process of politics just seemed to continually magnify as the session drew closer to a close. It is easy for students to learn or read about the maneuvering of politicians, but it was a completely different experience witnessing it.
Even though I enjoyed witnessing the politics and upcoming races, I still had a job to do. As an intern for two chairmen I had a large to-do list to complete every day. From registering and assigning Pages, sending meeting notices, drafting and sending letters, preparing bills, printing and packing committee folders, prepping committee rooms, noting committees, typing committee meeting minutes, handling constituent concerns, etc. are just some of the duties I was assigned. My work days never tended to end at the same time either. I have worked various internships throughout my college career, but this internship was the first to demand either extremely short workdays or workdays that never seemed to end.
The Georgia State Legislative Session for 2014 ended on March 20th a.k.a. “Sine Die.” Sine Die is Latin meaning ”without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing.” This is the longest legislative day usually, starting at 8 a.m. the Senators vote and pass and deny bills until midnight when the Session ends for the year unless a “special session” is voted necessary. Luckily for the GLIP interns there was no “special session” extension this year.
One of the most touching parts of my internship was answering the constituent phone calls. People from all over the state, country, and even Canada would call with concerns about the legislature. Constituents would call with genuine questions about the legislative process and details about bills they were tracking. Others would call with amazing stories begging for any help the Senator could provide to help handle their situation. Others would call simply to leave their opinion with their Senator about a bill/issue.
Working with the Georgia State Senate for the 2014 legislative session taught me the importance of keeping an open-mind with all issues, the skills Georgia Tech has given me to work in a fast-paced environment, and the increased necessity for voters to stay informed. This internship was a valuable experience, and I highly recommend that every college student intern at least once during their college career.
&& Remember stay informed and VOTE!
Link to Gov. Deal’s website:
Link to Sen. Carter’s website:
Link to the Georgia General Assembly:
Link to the Georgia Legislative Internship Program: