As a 2016 American Heart Association legislative intern in Tennessee, my main goals were to learn as much as I could through a first-hand experience with the legislative process and to gain a better idea of what I want to do after I graduate from Middle Tennessee State University.
As for the first goal, it is amazing how much I have learned in such a short amount of time, things I never could have learned sitting in a classroom. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to work at the State Capitol with a lobbyist from such a great organization like the American Heart Association. As for learning about what I want to do after graduation, I got to work with a lot of interesting people with jobs I think would be fascinating to do. This internship certainly never felt like work and I am very glad I had the opportunity to do it.
I spent much of this internship working with Denise Costanza, Tennessee's American Heart Association Government Relations Director at the Tennessee State Capitol. We would meet with legislators, try to find sponsors for bills that the American Heart Association wanted passed, attend committee hearings, and attend House and Senate Chamber meetings.
I also spent the semester organizing an event to gain support for a policy that would bring more bike lanes and sidewalks to Murfreesboro. I named the event, "Boro Complete Streets Rally" and scheduled Mayor McFarland, Senator Ketron, and Councilman Smotherman to speak at the event. I also organized live music, free food, and a raffle door prize giveaway. Three speakers - Mayor McFarland, Senator Ketron and Gold's Gym Fitness Specialist - cancelled at the last minute. This gave me doubts about how the event would go, but it ultimately turned our really well and we were able to get nearly 50 petitions signed.
- Written by Timothy Jacobs