"I would recommend the [Washington State Legislative] internship program ... In my time I got to sit firsthand and watch as our reps balanced diverse constituent interests, worked tirelessly to understand complex political issues, and engaged in bipartisanship on a regular basis."
Max Turner '22, political science and gender and identity studies double major, shares his experiences with the Washington State Legislative Internship Program for the 2021 legislative session, which this year was all virtual.
I joined the Washington State Legislative Internship Program for the 2021 legislative session after a pretty extensive process of interviewing, perfecting my resume, and completing a writing sample. I was apprehensive at first about an all virtual internship, but even with the pandemic all of us interns were able to foster real friendships and develop a little community. I went in with some preconceived notions about elected officials that were less than flattering, I was of the opinion that some folks get to office and become complacent in their role in our political system. However, after being around the legislature, and becoming acquainted with my three offices, I can say now that I was privileged to work for three dedicated public servants who showed me just how wrong I was.
One important piece of legislation I saw move through the legislative system was HB 1016; which officially recognizes Juneteenth as a holiday in Washington, all the offices I worked for ardently supported the bill and I was able to voice my support as well. In my time I got to sit firsthand and watch as our reps balanced diverse constituent interests, worked tirelessly to understand complex political issues, and engaged in bipartisanship on a regular basis.
Another important piece of my experience were the program coordinators Leo O’Leary and Colleen Rust, who worked tirelessly to make the internship exciting, engaging, and worthwhile for us students; along with their wonderful assistants Danielle and Louis. I also want to shout out to my fellow Saint, Banna Gebre, who brought positive energy and support to each and every day of our internship.
For me, experiencing the internship together was really special. So, even though I wasn’t right in my early perception of the legislature, I was really happy to be proven wrong, and I would recommend the internship program to any other skeptics like myself. Maybe you’ll be proven wrong too, which is always ok; we call that learning in public, and it's a skill I saw in the legislature routinely; hopefully we can all keep learning in public, together.