This internship has influenced my future plans in two different ways. It has allowed me to more easily visualize myself running for a public office at some point in the (relatively) near future, and it has opened the door for an internship in the coming semester with the same organization I worked for this summer.
After working on this campaign, I am much more familiar with the mechanics and strategies of local campaigns. I have written in past blogs posts about the numerous opportunities that local groups give candidates to introduce themselves to voters. I also feel more familiar with the level of expertise required to be a viable candidate, and how important it is to know what national and state-level issues affect local decision making. I feel more confident in navigating the databases that allow candidates to efficiently campaign, and the face-time I had with the numerous local figures in the area helped me see what type of personal demeanor lends itself toward victory, at least in Ann Arbor where primaries are the primary race in each election cycle. After spending a few years in the work force to gain more skills and learn about/work on local issues, it seems likely that I will explore opportunities to hold public office.
After completing this campaign, the Sierra Club (the organization which deployed their various interns to work on elections throughout Michigan) offered me two options going forward. I could either continue working on a different campaign through the general election, or I could begin working at UM as their “ambassador” to raise awareness about redistricting/gerrymandering in Michigan. I would also be collecting signatures advocating for non-partisan redistricting committees. I selected the latter option. It allows me to develop new skills, whereas I feared that working in the same capacity on another campaign would be “more of the same.” It is also much more convenient to work in Ann Arbor than spend time driving around a massive MI-House district.
So my internship thus far has given me new things to do in the immediate future, and has given me new things to think about during my first few years in the “real world” after graduation.