Staying Political 9-5

Allegra Saggese

Starting my first week off at the Capitol included: a navy blue blazer, a new pair of flats, the early train Downtown to make a good impression, and a purse filled with pens and paper. Through security and up the elevator to the sixth floor. I was about thirty minutes early and didn't want to wait outside the door, so I rode the elevator up past level two and up to level six for coffee and a table with a decent view. I called my mom and she wished me good luck as I waited a couple more minutes. Back down to Assemblymember Bloom's office and all that anticipation and new-beginnings-nerves started to subside as four women greeted me, each by popping their heads from over their computer screens or out from behind an office door. 

"Are you here for the internship?" 

They were excited, and I could finally show I was too. All young looking professionals, I felt at home with my co-workers immediately as they were similar in age and a current staffer, a Capitols Fellow, had previously done the Cal-in-Sacramento program her third year at UC Berkeley. That immediate connection was very helpful in making me feel more at ease as I settled into my desk with my temporary log in. 

The first hour was the only one that felt a bit awkward. But sitting around, making sure I had my forms and trying to remember everyone's names was quickly thrown to the wayside because Friday was the deadline to hear any bills currently in the Assembly on the floor and my Assemblymember had a few pieces of legislation going through that needed an extra vote count, a review of the amendments, and some cosigners--all while he was sitting in on the Budget Committee and had a few other meetings planned. 

Sitting in the corner desk between the doors to the rest of the Legislative staff's offices is the perfect place to submerse myself in the buzz of the Capitol. Lobbyists and constituents alike shuffled in, post-it notes were passed as quickly as phone calls from one desk to another and I typed away, answered calls, and kept my ears open to hear the televised session of the Assembly as each member fought their way through the remaining bills. The first week was exciting, and not just in the office. Sacramento is a place where you feel the nature of the city is entrenched in politics and public agencies, but not in a bad way. The Fish and Wildlife Building, the Secretary of State's Office, Legislative Office Building, Department of Transportation, and the Capitol Park itself is all a beautiful surrounding to the somewhat grueling work I have already observed life in the House to be. But, in spirit of staying political 9-5 and beyond, a few of us fellows took the 20 minute drive to Davis, parked across the street from the Quad, and waited a few hours to see Democratic nominee hopeful, Bernie Sanders. This was my first Presidential rally, and while worth the wait, it was just as exciting the next day to go online in the morning and read what had happened at Trump's Sacramento Rally and Clinton's Oakland Rally. It just all seems to be happening here in Sacramento, and I can anticipate the next six weeks flying by, but not without them filling to the brim with good conversation, first hand reports, overturned expectations, and everything in between. 

Here's to the start of an amazing program! I'm excited to help make the political decisions I usually have to hear about days and weeks later, and I can't wait to see the political process happen right in front of me.