Morning On The Hill
A few hours as a legislative staffer.
You’ re a 25 year old legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate.
You are responsible for drafting and tracking legislation and appropriations requests, meeting with constituents, formulating position statements, writing speeches, interpreting testimony and floor statements, and responding to lobbying groups. You also make recommendations for how your boss should vote.
Your friends back home seem to be experiencing their mid-20s a bit differently, but no matter. You love your job.
8:10am: You slip off the sneakers you walked over in and slide into the heels you keep under your desk. Skim the headlines of newspapers from state and national news. Check in with colleagues and look at your schedule.
9am: First meeting of the day. Four industry lobbyists arrive to talk about growing sugarcane for bioenergy. It’s not your expertise, but they’ve brought 3-inches of literature in case you have questions. You’re not sure what the state of the sugarcane industry is in your state, but you make a mental note to check on that later. You nod politely and thank them for coming in.
9:45am: Leave the pile of literature on your desk to sift through later, knowing most or all of it will likely be recycled. Respond to email.
10am: Three graduate students from a scientific organization arrive to speak with you about climate change. They do a nice job describing associated socioeconomic challenges and inequities, and they tailor their comments to your state. You wonder if they know that a different group of graduate students from one your state’s universities visited yesterday with similar talking points. You recognize some key differences in the data they cite compared to the other group’s message. Is it uncertainty or human error? No time to figure that out. It’s 10:55. You thank them.
11am: An organized group of constituents arrive to express concern about offshore wind development in a different region of the U.S. You listen to their concerns while noticing all of their briefing materials come from that lobbying group famous for mobilizing citizens against renewable energy. You thank them.
11:30am: A few minutes at your desk to catch up on emails and check in with colleagues. You start a 1-page memo related to taking a position on the looming pipeline vote next week. There are just three bullet points: 1) What’s the issue? 2) Why does it matter? 3) How does it affect our constituents? You check the box at the bottom recommending a “No” vote.
12pm: Three academic scientists and a legislative affairs person from a large scientific organization arrive to discuss nuclear energy. You haven’t heard of upcoming legislation related to their topic and they use very technical language at a level difficult to interpret. They have printed power point slides and describe p-values. You notice your stomach is rumbling and you’re not sure what their take home message might be. You suspect they’re not sure either. You thank them.
12:40: Begin drafting responses for a journalist’s questions to your boss about fisheries and the economy. You recognize there’s no position he can take that will satisfy all stakeholders.
12:40: You scan the list of today’s briefings wondering who might be serving free food and find lunch.
Wow quite the day
Nice narrative from a young girl on a new job. Trains you on a tricky diplomatic assignment!😜🤣👍🏼