Week 3: Understanding CA Politics

Internship: Assemblywoman Bonilla

How has your view of California government and the political process changed or stayed the same since the start of your internship in Sacramento?

My view going into this summer fellowship was that I knew nothing and I was going to learn a lot. Simple, I know, but my self-acknowledged ignorance to the political process of state government in California allowed for the leniency in my perception of the inner workings of Sacramento. The good thing about knowing nothing is that when presented with the opportunity to learn about that subject you can absorb it all and form your own opinions on it. That opportunity for me was this fellowship.

As a native of Missourian, there are many things that continue to confuse me about the Great State of California including the way the state government works. With an untainted view of the process I was prepared to take on the system to the best of my abilities. In working in the State Assembly in the Office of Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, I found the practical application of my political knowledge useful in beginning to understand the process. From the very start of my journey I could see that there was much more to state government than I had originally thought. Much like an iceberg, you only see the tip of the government that delves deep into the depths of political sea. I could see, firsthand, the collective action and mutual dependence necessary to push the system forward. I saw the delicate relations between staffers and members, members and other member across both houses, relations with lobbyists, interest groups and even constituents. Observing and participating in these relations has been one of the essential factors to my understanding of state government.

I have learned many helpful hints, facts and practices during my brief time in this program. However, I continue to open myself up to learning. My perception of the system has enhanced through the mentorship I receive from my staff and Member. Because of the interactions and relationship building I have participated in I can see how the state government works, why works the way it does is and, ultimately, that the system is a good one that accomplishes what it sets out to do.

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