10 December 2014
This Fall Semester I worked as a legislative intern with the Washington D.C. Office of United States Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. I did so through an unorthodox process, as the inaugural Innovation Fellow sponsored by UF’s Innovation Academy. The program was implemented with the hopes that I would find room for innovation in the American legislative process. As the Senator’s internship experience prides itself with providing participants with “a unique experience in which interns get to observe first-hand the operations of the Senate, including its interaction with the House of Representatives and executive and judicial branches”; that and much more help characterize this four month journey. I can say without a doubt that my interest in a career in policy making and public service has grown immensely as a direct result of this experience.
One of the first things that drew me to the internship was the sense of self-identification I felt with Senator Rubio. Independent of political ideology, he and I share a similar narrative. This includes: being the child of immigrants, growing up in Miami, attending the University of Florida, and being an avid fan of rap music. As Professor Richard Fenno Jr mentions in his work U.S. House Members in Their Constituencies when describing the congressman-constituent relationship “the congressman conveys a sense of identification with his constituents. Contextually and verbally he gives them the impression that ‘I am one of you’;” (Fenno, 899). The Senator’s appeal seems to have worked on me as a life-long Floridian.
Another aspect of the internship that I learned early, was noticed when I wa...
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...as one of many tours that day. I was alerted a week later by my intern coordinator that we had received a thank you letter from that same family thanking the Senator and thanking me specifically. It is seldom felt by most people now, but knowing that I made a positive impact in someone’s life just with my simple day to day duties here in the Senate has left me satisfied. It has left me driven to return one day to Washington, brighter and wiser, to make a life out of this all.
Fenno, Richard F., Jr. "U.S. House Members in Their Constituencies: An Exploration." The American Political Science Review 71.3 (1977): 883-917. JSTOR. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.
Ritchie, Donald A. The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford UP, 2010. Print.
Wilson, Woodrow. Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics. Cleveland: Meridian, 1956. Print.
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