Last Day :(

My last day working for the Governor’s Office in the Statehouse was on Monday. It was not a typical day, because us interns had quite an interesting Speakers Series set up for us by our internship coordinator. Governor Baker was to sit down and talk to us interns for an hour or so and have some pizza with us, to get to know us a little bit and to thank us for the work we did for the state government, and to talk a little bit about some of our experiences this summer. This was pretty great; in addition to free pizza, we got to spend some time with the head of the Massachusetts Government. Instead of him talking to us, he wanted to get to know each of us a bit, so we went around the room and told him a little bit about ourselves; our name, where we are from, where we go to school, what we did as interns this summer, a funny story or experience we had from the internship, and then a fun fact about ourselves. I mentioned the fact that after working in the office of the Governor’s Council and reviewing many applications for service as a notary public, its become quite clear that a good amount of  people in Massachusetts don’t know what county they live in. I also shared that at Dickinson, I cut people’s hair in the dorm room bathrooms for a bit of extra spending money- he thought that was funny and asked if I ever had any repeat customers, which I have had many of.

After introductions, the Governor took a couple questions, but had to leave after an hour or so to keep with his very busy schedule. Still, before he left all of us interns posed for a photo or two with him, one serious and one goofy. I’ll attach them to this post.

It was a great experience to work in the Statehouse and get the opportunity to see what working in state government looks like on the inside. I want to thank you guys for reading my posts and joining in on this experience through this blog, and hope you maybe learned a thing or two from my experiences as well. It was a great summer of interning and working in Boston and I hope your summers were great as well. I am flying off to Bologna, Italy in a couple of days for a semester abroad. My Italian is a little bit rusty after a summer of English only, so wish me luck!

-Nathaniel

Politics in the Statehouse

Hi folks,

I write this the weekend before my last week of my internship in the governor’s office. Although the internship is winding down, the State House has been very busy, especially the Governor’s Council, which I have been working for this summer. The political environment in the state house has been pretty contentious lately, especially regarding the judicial branch of the Massachusetts government. As a result of a couple of tragedies that have occurred in the state this summer, where repeat law breakers have murdered a couple police officers and other innocent people in the state, many outraged people have questioned why judges in the state have failed to keep violent criminals in jail instead of out on bail or parole. Because the Governor’s Council is group of elected councilors who review and make decisions on the judicial appointments made by the governor, the councilors have come under fire a bit as well because they gave jobs to the judges that have been causing problems. As a result, the hearings that have been occurring lately for recent appointees have been long and very thorough. Some of the main issues that the councilors have been grilling appointees lately on are the ones relating to public safety- maximum and minimum sentences, bail hearings, second amendment issues, ect.

Usually after the council holds its hearings on Wednesdays, Lieutenant Governor Polito chairs an official meeting of the council, where they formally vote on appointees, but last Wednesday, instead of the Lt. Governor chairing the meeting, Governor Baker took her place and was the head of the meeting. Although I have seen him in passing many times as I spend a good amount of time in his office, (Council meetings and hearings occur in his section of the state house, and actually occur in the room next door to his office. ) it was cool to see the most powerful Massachusetts government official, Mr. Baker, at work. The parents of a slain police Sean Gannon officer from Yarmouth, who was shot and killed by a man who was already on probation for previous crimes and was wanted for violation of these probationary terms for owning an unregistered firearm, addressed the council and Governor Baker as well on Wednesday, imploring them to put more thought into who they appoint to be a judge, as they have a hand in keeping violent criminals off of the streets. This tragedy occurred last April, and was very sad, but very important, to hear the words of his parents regarding the responsibility the Councilors have to promote public safety by appointing well qualified judges who recognize their role in creating a safe state for Massachusetts residents.

Next Monday, the Governor is meeting with us interns for an hour to answer some of our questions and tell us a little bit about what being the Governor of Massachusetts is like, so stay tuned!

 

Tips for Working in a City

Working in Boston has taught me a couple lessons about what it is like to commute to and work in a large city. Because I live about 45 minutes outside of the city, and the Massachusetts State House is deep within Boston, the commute to work each day has required a decent amount of planning. For those of you that are not so familiar with cities that are reading this and might be considering an internship in a city, Ive created this list of tips and suggestions that I can make for you after working in Boston this summer. Im not sure if these tips will apply to every city, but I hope that reading them might give some suggestions for how to save as bit of money and time and make working a bit more manageable.

1- Transportation: Unless you are the luckiest person on earth, commuter traffic is something you will inevitably encounter if you drive into a city for work, and unless you are the most tempered person on earth, sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for two hours before you even sit down at your desk at work is going to ruffle your feathers a bit. My first day of work, I thought it would be good to drive in- I left at 7am and hardly made it in time to get to the office at 9:30am. Its a 30 mile drive- What a waste of time! Super stressful, too. Not to mention, you will end up spending a bunch of money driving in to work. between tolls and gas, that will probably amount to $10 a day, and in Boston, parking will cost at least another $15-30 dollars. If you plan on working in a city with a functional public transportation system, use it! Not only do you not have to worry about traffic, these trains and busses are usually spot on with their arrival and departure times. I take the commuter rail into Boston now- it gets me near the State House on time each day, and instead of sitting in a sea of crawling cars on the Mass Pike, I can read a book, listen to music or catch up on email on the way to work. Also, public transportation is better for the environment! Better in every way.

2- Food: It is always better to make the time to buy food in advance and prepare it and bring it in to work with you than to buy food from nearby restaurants while on your lunch break. The sooner you realize this, the more money you will keep in your pocket and the better off you’ll be. Prepared food in cities is a lot more expensive than I am used to, and I have been saving $10-15 dollars a day since I stopped buying food at restaurants in Boston while on my lunch break. Plus, if you put a little bit of creativity and effort in the night before, your lunch you bring from home can be a lot tastier and healthier too. I like making berry scones and then bringing them in for a snack, and then I usually make rotisserie chicken sandwiches for lunch with lots of spinach, red peppers and hot sauce. Cheap, easy and really good. I always make sure to throw a cliff bar and an apple in my lunch bag too, to cover all my food bases. Making sure you are not hungry at work makes an 8 hour work day much more tolerable.

3.- Coffee: Bring you’re own with you. I know just as well as anyone else that a sugar filled iced coffee from dunkin’ donuts is so easy and can be extremely tempting, especially early in the morning when you may not have had that great sleep the night before, but you can make your own for a fraction of the price. You can have fun with it too- Iced coffee is great for the summer, so just brew a big pot at the start of each week and throw it in the fridge. I like to put honey and a bit of almond milk in mine, but the possibilities are endless. It only takes a bit more effort to do this, but it will be worth it when you have a couple hundred dollars extra in your wallet.

4: Dress- If there is a walk that is part of your summer commute to work, chances are you’re going to get sick of showing up to work soaked in sweat and having to run immediately to the bathroom to feverishly wipe yourself off with paper towels. It’s gonna be hot in the summer, so to prevent myself from being too uncomfortable on my way to work, I usually leave the house in my shirt, pants, and  a pair of comfortable tennis shoes. I put my tie, jacket and dress shoes in my backpack and right before I walk into the State House, I make a quick stop at a bench, tuck my shirt in, change my shoes, tie my tie and throw on my jacket. Casual to business professional in a matter of seconds. Makes the commute a little bit more tolerable on those hot, humid days.

 

I hope these experiences I’ve shared here are helpful when you are trying to save a bit of money and stay sane while working in a city! I don’t really have a related picture to post, so instead I will attach a selfie I took in the governors own bathroom last week.

Until next time!!!

 

Meeting with Gov. Baker’s Senior Chief of Staff, Mr. Tim Buckley

Although the day to day work that I do for the Governor’s Council at the Massachusetts State House is not always the most interesting work(lot of data entry and envelope stuffing- important, but pretty repetitive.), working in the State House gives myself and other interns the opportunity to meet a lot of important politicians and government workers that have large roles in Massachusetts politics. Meeting these people can be pretty cool, because you get to see what these people that you occasionally see on TV, or hear about in the newspaper, or hear talking on radio shows such as NPR or Greater Boston, are really like in person, and how they got to be in the positions that they now are in. Last week all of us interns had an hour to chat with Senior Chief of Staff for Governor Baker, Tim Buckley. It sure sounds like quite the job- not only is he(and his council) in charge of managing and deciding what materials and what information reaches the governor, but he also briefs the governor on a any and all issues that the governor needs to know about, and additionally helps the governor create responses and positions for the administration regarding these issues.  He also travels with the governor all around the state, meets with him everyday and  manages his media relations and participates in crafting statements to the press on behalf of the governor. Quite a job indeed!

The most surprising thing to me about meeting with Mr. Buckley was that he looks to be no older than 35 (I didn’t ask how old he was obviously but i remember him saying something about graduating college in the 2000s) For someone with such a senior, important job, he’s pretty young! It was interesting to hear how he got there- he had worked for the RNC after college, worked for a  couple state legislature campaigns, hopped on board with the Baker for Governor campaign in 2014, and, after that surprising victory, found himself being asked to continue working with Baker as his Chief of Staff. It was really cool to hear about how a career in politics can be made if you work hard and sustain meaningful connections with people that you bump into and work with.

Although I have no pictures with Mr. Buckley, instead I will attach a picture my dad took of me one day after picking me up from the statehouse a couple weeks ago. A bit goofy lookin’ but thats alright.

 

Intern speaker series #1

Ciao Amici!

There are more than one hundred student interns working in the Massachusetts state house each day, so the governor’s internship program organizes speaker series for all of the interns so that we can get to know more about the people that work in the state house and work in government as their careers, what they do in their jobs, and how they got to the positions that they are in now. For the first series, held last week, we interns got to spend an hour with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, getting to know her a little bit more and hearing about her experience working as the second in command of the state’s executive department. The event took place in the state house press room, which, for anyone from Massachusetts, would be known as the plain looking room with the navy blue curtains where Governor Baker or Patrick would address the state from regarding snow storms or other storm danger and power outages. The 40 so of us interns in attendance sat around a big table with the Lt. Governor and spent most of the time with her introducing ourselves. When it came my turn, the fun fact I shared, in addition to talking about where I went to school and what I do at the state house, was that I wait tables at a restaurant on the weekends. After talking about that for a bit, we discovered that not only has she eaten at the restaurant that I work at, she went to high school with the owner of the restaurant and is still a good friend of his- turns out both of my bosses know each other! She recommended that we get a picture together some time to show to my other boss, which I got a couple days later when I ran into the Lt. Governor a couple days later durning a Governor’s Council hearing, Ill attach that photo to this post. Other than this cool coincidental discovery, it was great to hear about what goes on in the life of a pretty influential politician, what campaigning for office is like, what managing a super busy schedule is like, and how difficult it can be sometimes to manage giving the appropriate amount of attention to work and family. Ms. Polito has always been a politician in the local and state level that I look up to- she was the state representative for my Massachusetts district for many years, and my grandparents were very instrumental in her first campaign for office. She told stories about how her first role in government at the local level was as being a Shrewsbury selectman, and how that minor local role lead to progressively larger roles, and working in government became a passion of hers. Her advice for people my age who want to actively make a difference in their communities? Pursue active citizenship, get information from a variety of sources and to do all things with intention- If you don’t find yourself doing something with a concerted effort and passion, it probably is not worth your time, given that you could be focusing on things you’re passionate about. Thats She gives credit to that type of work ethic when discussing how she got to the place she is at now. Pretty cool stuff!

 

Week 2

Ciao amici,

In my second week on the internship, I had some equally interesting experiences. Monday June 11th was the beginning of the national Portugese-American heritage month, and in Massachusetts, June 11th in the statewide celebration day of Portugese-Americans and their heritage. If this surprises you, don’t sweat it- I had no idea either! When I got to the statehouse that morning, I could tell something was different. There was a lot of people all over the state house steps, a ton of people in uniform and many of the people high up in the state government such as the Lt. Governor were there as well. To my surprise, not only were there a lot of people out and about on the statehouse lawn, the president of Portugal and his delegation were being given a red carpet ceremonial welcome to Massachusetts that morning.

After I put my stuff down that morning, I went to the house chamber to see the president of Portugal, Mr. Manuel de Souza, give a speech to kick of the Portugese-American heritage month. He was a pretty powerful speaker- his English was great and he spoke in great length about the history of the diplomatic and cultural relationship between Portugal and the United States, quickly getting rid of his prepared speech after a minute or two to make sure that what he was saying was “from the heart.” It was good to hear that a country abroad still held a high esteem for the United States, its culture, government, and way of life, even in this age where a narrative of disdain and resentment supposedly dominates perspectives on the United States in European countries.  A progressive, he made mild references to the danger of populism, as he said it distorts the true perspectives of the populous. I’m not sure whether this was a direct stab at President Trump, but the very liberal Massachusetts legislators gave a round of applause for it anyway. He talked much about early Massachusetts history as well, and thanked Massachusetts for being the seed and birthplace of modern democracy, that in the last three hundred years, has spread throughout the world and accompanied widespread political freedoms, tolerance, respect for human rights and  cultural exchange.

At first I wondered, what is the Portugese president doing sitting in the Massachusetts house of Representatives- why isn’t he speaking in front of the US congress or meeting with the president while he is here? Turns out that those were not the objectives of his visit to the US. Apparently, of the 1.5 million Portugese-Americans living in the US, 700,000 of them live in Massachusetts. Also, Portugal was the first country to recognize American Independence from Great Britain-pretty cool. I will attach a photo from his speech that I took

.The man with the blue tie is President De Souza

Orientation and first day

Hey all!

In this post I am going to write a little bit about my first week at my internship at the Massachusetts State House. On Tuesday, half of all of the interns for the Governor of Massachusetts, which encompasses all agencies, councils and bodies under the direction of the executive branch of the state, had their general internship orientation. There are hundreds of of such agencies in the state, and many of them have one or a few interns. I, as well as two others, are interning for the governor’s executive council, which is a body that, in addition to other things, advises the governor on issues as well as votes on appointments to the judicial system of the state, pardons and other executive appointments to bureaucratic agencies. Orientation was pretty much a lot of paperwork- very general, as it was for all interns. It was more so an introduction to the statehouse. After doing introductions ( we all had to give a fun fact- mine was that I have a twin) and paperwork, we were given a tour of the statehouse. I had not been there since I was a little kid, and I did not remember how beautiful it was. It’s like I get to work inside of a US history museum. The walls are filled with portraits of essential Americans, such as governor Sam Adams, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Many ceilings have full paintings and murals depicting Massachusetts history- its quite fantastic. I will take pictures and post some of them on this blog so that you all get a good view of the inside of the state house for those non-New Englanders who probably have never been inside of it. Although the day was a short introduction, I got to ride the train in from my house, wear a suit to a job, something I’ve never had to do before, and get a feel for the place I will be working this summer, as well as meet a bunch of fellow interns.

On Wednesday, I had my first day as an intern for the governor’s executive council. My day began at 6:15, another early morning rushing about, showering getting dressed, eating breakfast (strawberry chocolate scone-yum!), packing a lunch and rushing to the train station to catch the 7:15 commuter rail out of Boston. I got to Boston a bit early, and walked over to the state house in time to start at 9:30am. I had to report to the office of the governor’s council, a small area of the state house where the small council staff as well as the 8 councilors have their offices. I was given a desk in the corner, and I have a window on the first floor front of the red brick original part of the state house, farthest to the left. You can see it on the picture I attached. My day started with a history lesson about the council from one of the council staff members, an older gentleman named George who has worked in the Massachusetts state house his whole life, and has a memory that could serve as a textbook for Massachusetts state politics. The council was founded in 1780 in the Massachusetts constitution, with the main purpose of providing advice and consent to the governor on appointments and other important decisions. The council is made up of 8 councilors who are elected by vote from 8 respective districts in Massachusetts, and today, the council holds hearings for appointments to the judicial system, pardons, and other bureaucratic appointments. The council then votes on these appointments. Today, the governor does not chair the council, but the Lt. Governor, Karyn Polito chairs it. The council met that afternoon, and  was held in the governor’s chambers, in the room right next door to his official office. At the start of the council meeting, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito introduced me and another intern to the council, which was quite the honor. Many members of the council were impressed to hear that I was studying at Dickinson College, which they all remember is in Carlisle, the town famous for producing Jim Thorpe a century ago.  While in his office, I even saw Charlie Baker (governor of Mass) walking by- pretty cool! I got to watch as the council held a hearing for a judge being appointed to the senior position in the judicial office on industrial accidents and worker’s compensation board. (He was reappointed!) and then spent the rest of the day stuffing letters and doing data entry on behalf of the councilors. Quite a first day, I think its pretty cool that through this internship I will get to see state politics happen right in front of me, and get to meet a lot of big players in state politics in the process.