Lessons of a legislative internship

(CCU Student) This past semester, I had the privilege of interning at the Colorado House of Representatives under Representative Steven King from Grand Junction Colorado. I hope someday to serve in public office myself, and when the opportunity arrived it seemed like a great chance for me to learn more about what is happening politically at the state level. I learned a lot about the political process when interning at the state capitol about procedure and how hectic even a local politicians schedule could be. The greatest asset for me was not necessarily learning about the ins and outs of the political system however. As a follower of Christ I had a difficult time reconciling how seemingly self-serving a profession in politics is with my faith. Yet having spent time at the State Capitol, I have personally witnessed how much of an impact a solid Christian politician can potentially have on his/her constituency.

A great benefit of working in the state house during the session is you have an acute awareness of what your states major issues are and how our elected Representatives intend to fix these problems. I had the chance to help my representative research issues ranging from motorcycles, land rights, pay day loans, medical marijuana, and much more. The internship really showed me how interested this job could be with this wide variety of issues. The job was rewarding in the way that I genuinely felt I was learning about something new every day. I also came to respect the time our honest legislatures put in for us. Representative Steven King for example woke up at 4AM to get to the statehouse at 8:30AM from his home in Grand Junction. He sacrifices time with his family to stay from Monday morning until Friday afternoon in Grand Junction while occasionally running back and forth from his hometown just for a dinner, caucus, or family event. Seeing someone like Representative King helped me get past my greatest apprehension in getting involved in the political arena.

Ever since I was twelve years old, I have felt an internal longing to serve in public office. At this point in my life I feel like that’s the path God wants me to be walking right now. Despite this, I have always had an apprehension to how self serving the profession seems. You cannot go an extended period of time without hearing about some politician using their power in a corrupt fashion to obtain personal gains. It can also seem like the political system is a giant deadlock where a Christian would be able to serve God best elsewhere. These politicians however have the power to get things moving in our system. I have seen some representative respond to constituents who are desperate because the government keeps stone walling them on their healthcare, licensing, education, ect. and these people who have nowhere else to go end up calling their elected representatives. These representatives can help things get moving with just a simple phone call or can have their office research the best methods of obtaining say an expensive surgery when they cannot afford health insurance make to much to be put on Medicaid. Even if a public servant gets nothing done at the legislative level, they can do some much for their community in their position if they put their minds to it. My desire to serve in public office has actually been enhanced because of what our Representatives have the potential to do behind closed doors. Like many professions, it is what you make of it. You can easily use the position for personal gain and privilege if that is the desire of your heart. However, if you truly have the desire to expand the kingdom of God from this position of power, the possibilities can be limitless.

The bottom line is that I learned that you can do so much for God’s kingdom from these positions. However power corrupts and that is why politicians need to have a God centered approach when engaging in political activities otherwise it will become self serving. It satisfying to see that serving in public office can be one of the greatest ways to serve a community by using their office to flat our serve people’s needs. I can honestly now enter this profession with a clear conscience which is something that I could not have necessarily said before this internship. That to me is invaluable.

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