Profile on Kayla Lewis: What it’s Like to Work in the Capitol During Legislative Session

Anyone who knows Kayla Lewis knows that she’s one busy woman. When she’s not busy studying for classes, being involved in various organizations on campus or advocating for the student body through her role as the chair of the legacy party you can find her in senator Rader’s office. 

Kayla first got her start in Tallahassee politics when her dad texted her and recommended that she intern with state senator Thurston. After researching Senator Thurston’s committees, policy issues and bills he had filed for the legislative session, she decided to take the jump and immerse herself into the Tallahassee political sphere. Although Kayla’s internship with senator Thurston had no set hours, she explained that she enjoyed her time there so much that she started showing up almost every day because she genuinely wanted to. Her time with senator Thurston exposed her to new opportunities as he let her sit in on his meetings, especially the ones concerning his bill on human trafficking which was something that sparked an interest in Kayla during her time interning for him. While it wasn’t a uniform internship, senator Thurston’s willingness to let Kayla observe all parts of the legislative process whether it was a meeting with constituents, activist groups or senators he allowed her to shadow him throughout the legislative session and gave her a chance to dip her toes into the legislative process. 

This year, Kayla took a different approach and decided to intern with senator Rader. After interviewing at the senator’s office in Boca, she was called an hour later and offered the position. She described this internship as a lot more uniform than her previous one with senator Thurston by explaining that rather than being a shadow like she was with senator Thurston, interning for senator Rader is more like being an assistant. While she’s no longer able to sit in on cool meetings due to senator Rader’s busy schedule, she’s able to do things like talk to his constituents and prepare committee binders.

She goes on to tell me what it’s like to be in the capitol during the busiest time of the year in Tallahassee. While Kayla describes the business of the capitol as overwhelming at times, especially during kids day where you can find children running around the capitol, she notes that there’s never a lack of free food or coffee and raves about an amazing spinach artichoke dip that she had during senior day at the capitol. As far as workload, on a regular day she gets into the office at 9 a.m and starts working on anything that’s been dropped off in the office then goes on to do things like schedule the senator’s meetings and speak to constituents. She specifies that speaking to constituents on the phone makes up the bulk of her workload due to senator Rader’s large district. At times, Kayla spends over 15 minutes talking to some constituents because she feels as if it’s important to make sure that every person who calls or walks into the senator’s office feels as if their voice is heard.

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