From the District to the Capital

My Cal-in-Sacramento internship began two weeks before moving to Sacramento in Senator Vidak’s District Office. I wanted to get the most out of my internship and for me that meant having the entire political experience of participating in both the district and capitol offices. In the district I handled constituent work, attended meetings, and met with local government agencies. It was a great opportunity for me to familiarize myself with the district as well as a way to get up to date with issues and legislation. The Hanford staff is absolutely incredible – mentoring and preparing me for my upcoming adventure to the Capital.

Now having completed my first week at the Capitol I must say I have had an absolutely incredible experience. With deadlines to pass all bills out of the House of Origin within the week, the halls of the third floor were buzzing with excitement - lobbyists filled the entrance of the Floor, staffers busy working away, Senators spending hours voting and debating legislation, and I was lucky to have the privilege of being in the middle of it all!

Although, only having been a part of the Vidak Team a short time in the Capitol I have worked alongside an amazing staff, for an exceptional Legislator, which has been an incredibly inspiring experience. As a Political Science major and active participant of California College Republicans I find great interest in policy and legislation. In my short time at the Capitol I have witnessed history as legislation such as SB 128 The End to Life Bill passed the Senate Floor as well as SB 4. Sitting on the Senate Floor I can say that I was not only in the  building but in the room where California Senators debated and finally voted on highly controversial legislation.

I must say the most inspiring part of my time here, thus far, has been Senator Vidak’s decision to sway from his party lines and make a vote for a controversial bill that he felt best represented his district. It takes a great deal of courage to join support for controversial legislation and working for someone who is passionate about their constituents, above all else, has been extremely rewarding.

I look forward to the weeks to come and can’t wait for the many more exciting experiences that are in store!

Paige McConnaughy is a UC Berkeley sophomore studying political science. She is interning in the office of Senator Vidak as a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow.