What to Expect and How to Excel during the Texas Legislative Session

Posted on Tuesday, Feb 26, 2019

Going from full-time student to full-time policy intern is definitely an adjustment. But, it’s a fun adjustment! As of now, we are going into week six of the 86th Texas Legislative Session, and it’s been one of the best experiences I have ever had. My hosting office is absolutely wonderful, and they have given me a lot of responsibility and have gone out of their way to make me feel like family. We’re a big team that aims to make Texas a better place for all Texans, and we work hard every day to make it happen. Now, we do play, too. Quite a lot, actually. For those considering coming to Austin or those who have already secured a spot for the next Austin cohort of PPIP interns, I have a few tips on how to make the start of your internship, which is the most important part of it, successful and sure to set a great tone for the remainder of your time under the Pink Dome:
  • Get to know everyone in your office well, both professionally and personally! By knowing and interacting constantly with all of the staffers and the member you work for/with, you obtain your boundaries and you can gain respect from your peers. It also helps team building and the ability for you all to work together.
  • Don’t be afraid to go briefings or research things you’re interested in! Though your member will have their own priorities, most encourage their interns to get involved this way so they can learn what goes into drafting legislation. My office has given me many research projects that have turned into us filing legislation, and it’s been an awesome experience to learn more about things I am passionate about.
  • Always carry a business card! You’ll meet many people while working at the Capitol. Some of those people might be interested in hiring you one day. Make sure you hand out as many of your cards as possible. Get to know as many people as possible!
  • Don’t be afraid to interact with other offices! This is how you start building your network! Get to know other members and staffers on your hallway. Before long, they'll be some of your best friends! (Not even joking!)
  • Go out to events! My favorite event so far has been the Member football game, but there are more to come throughout the session! Go to receptions, parties, and again, try to meet people! The sooner you start building your network, the better!
These are all things that I’ve learned that have helped me build the great relationship I have with my office. I am so thankful to be a part of the 86th, and I’m looking forward to what the remainder of the session has in store!

Erin Smith
Office of State Representative John Raney
Austin, Texas | spring 2019