Virtual Constituent Work

Austin Audo interned with Senator Tammy Duckworth in Summer 2021. He interned virtually, but still had the opportunity to work with the Senators’ constituents via phone. 

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with the Office of U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth in Washington DC. Because of the nature of the pandemic, many of the interns that would have gone to the DC office over the summer had to work remotely. Though the internship was remote however, I was still able to acquire many of the lessons, experiences, and even the challenges of working on the hill from my own room while working alongside an amazing team of interns and staff members alike.

One of the first tasks that I was introduced to was the task of answering calls for legislative opinions as well as answering calls for constituent casework. This would become a task that I would revisit throughout the entirety of my internship as I had found it to be very educational in the aspect of legislative opinion and very rewarding when it came to casework. I can confidently say that having been able to complete the task of answering constituent calls for legislative opinions had been able to assist me in my growth of being able to analyze policy from different perspectives of when looking at policy and legislation in both partisan and bi-partisan points of view. I value this ability as I have been able to see from previous experience where the ability to have a bi-partisan mindset greatly assists in the process of making and passing good policy to change the lives of people across the nation. On an individual level of life changing, I was also given the opportunity to talk directly with constituents regarding casework on extreme matters, many constituents of which had felt they had nowhere else to turn to in their time of need. For me to be the one to assist and direct these constituents to the next steps of support helped me discover a newfound love for public service in a space that some might consider to be pure chaos.

After some time in the internship, having previously mentioned my interest in policy pertaining towards military veterans, families of fallen soldiers, and active-duty personnel I was assigned to work with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth’s defense team. While I was working for the defense team, I was able to get firsthand experience towards the process of policy creation and implementation into one of the largest annual legislative vehicles known as the National Defense Authorization Act. The process was very exciting and many of the members on the defense team had been congratulated on their accomplishments which made me very proud to be apart of the process. After more time had passed, I began to work on even more important pieces such as draft cosponsor/support recommendations, draft defense nominations, as well as the opportunity to analyze policy recommendations from big name organizations that work within the military veteran space. Having been able to complete these tasks I was able to not only receive writing practice to be able to see how academic and legislative pieces use language differently.

Though many things have happened over the course of this internship, there is still more to be done, more to learn and more to take away before the physical end date of my internship. By that time, I know that I will have an entirely new network of people who I can remain in contact with as well as experiences that I can carry with me not just into other areas within the political arena but also into different areas of my own life and to other jobs and experiences that wait for me in my future.