The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Hallie Huffaker '17

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Hallie Huffaker '17 interned at the Office of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, United States Senate during 2015 Fall Term.

The office of US Senator Maria Cantwell works to best serve the constituents of Washington State, particularly in the areas of energy, natural resources and commerce. Senator Cantwell splits her time between hearings, briefings, speaking on the floor, meeting with constituents and interest parties and meeting with her staff.

As an intern, Hallie's specific responsiblities were to assist the office and the staffers. She answered constituents calls, and sorted and categorized mail to assign it to the correct staffer. She also assisted various staffers with policy research or letter writing and primarily worked with the staffer concerned with issues of education and the judiciary, which involves keeping up with current events, researching various bills to create or cosponsor and putting together memos. Interns were also in charge of giving guided capitol tours to constituents, and explaining to visitors how the Senate operates.

"About an hour into my first day was an all-staff meeting," recalls Hallie, "which allowed me to immediately hear about what each policy advisor was working on for the week. I felt as if we were in the center of the news universe--with all current events going through the office before my family and friends heard about it."

One of the biggest challenges Hallie faced was prioritizing and time management.

"There is an endless amount of things that we can be involved in as interns, and it can be easy to get caught up in some of the everyday tasks without bothering to ask staffers for help working on policy research. I think it took me about a week to become comfortable talking to staffers about what they are working on, but I realized that the only way for me to connect with my coworkers and really get a taste of what being a legislative correspondent is like would be through putting myself out there."

 

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