Political Campaign Internship
Employer: Bill Saxton for State Representative
Job Title: Intern Manager/Education Policy Coordinator
Major: Political Science
Received Credit: Yes
Description of the Organization
Bill Saxton is a Democrat from East Grand Rapids, Michigan. Bill is the father of three young children, ages three, three, and five, who is running for state rep to make sure that all of our community's children receive the education they deserve, we are actively working to protect our natural resources, and that we are doing everything we can to lower healthcare costs for citizens in our district. Bill's grassroots campaign has grown immensely since the 2018 election, and we are excited to flip the 73rd seat blue!
Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed
Prior to my promotion, my responsibilities included but were not limited to; engaging in voter outreach via phone banking, conducting policy research, and drafting policy proposals. In the Winter 2020 Cohort, I invested about 100 hours into the internship. Since my promotion to Intern Supervisor, my responsibilities have expanded. I anticipate investing at least 15 hours a week into the campaign, but suspect this number will rise the closer we get to Election Day. Not only am I still working hard on reaching voters and galvanizing support, but I am also responsible for collecting intern availability/coordinating scheduling, delegating weekly assignments, and resolving issues, such as lack of involvement, questions, or technological issues. I also assist Cameron and Bill with other tasks, such as assisting the coordination of fundraisers, preparing mail, delivering donor gifts, and attending local school board meetings.
Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience
I've learned a great deal about state-level political campaigns in Michigan, as well as a lot about the organization and function grassroots campaigns. Also, prior to my internship, I didn't have any professional leadership experience. Since I'm managing a lot of students my own age, this opportunity was a great way to comfortably ease into leadership. I want to pursue a career in policy, it's important that I can collaborate with my peers, delegate tasks, and make accommodations/request them when I or others need help.
Favorite Part of the Experience
My favorite part of my internship experience so far was having the latitude to conduct independent policy research for the campaign. During the Winter 2020 Cohort, I was able to research and draft policy for public education, which I'm very passionate about. Since COVID-19, revenue going to Michigan public schools is being jeopardized, so the stakes for our future are at risk. This summer, I'm able to build off of the research I already did, by attending local school board meetings and making notes in policy according to budget and revenue changes.
How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals
This experience has influenced my future career goals by highlighting my personal interest in local politics. I've learned a lot about the extent to which changes in local policy affect individual lives. Although my long-term, dream career goal is to work in Congress, this opportunity has helped me define what my short-term career interests and goals are. I now know that I definitely want to keep doing research in public education funding!