Sen. Bob Rankin’s Under the Dome: Western Colorado students and state government
Joyce Rankin with intro by Rep. Bob Rankin
The First Regular Session of the 70th General Assembly of Colorado convened at 10 a.m. Jan. 7. Per the State Constitution, the Legislature will meet for no more than 120 days, with adjournment sine die occurring on May 6. Since we are already underway, I continue to work on the Joint Budget Committee and begin General Assembly meetings in the house chambers.
Since I’ve been busy with the start of the new session I’ve asked my legislative aide, and spouse, to write this month’s column. As a former teacher and principal, Joyce has developed an intern program for high school students in House District 57. We have worked to refine and document the program so that other rural legislators can provide opportunities to students in their districts. The program continues to evolve but we are ready to share it with our constituents.
Thank you again, for the opportunity to serve a second, two year, term as your Colorado State Representative. Bob Rankin
Intern in The Field program
State Legislators don’t have huge office staff’s working for them. Each legislator can have one full time legislative aide and as many part time volunteer interns as they like. These aides and interns are usually students from either local Denver area high schools or colleges. Interested students send their resume’s to the capitol where House and Senate staff collect, review and disseminate the resumes to Legislators who then interview and offer positions to selected candidates. Legislative aides are paid positions currently earning $11.50 an hour. Volunteer interns report directly to the legislator’s aide. Duties of the aides and interns can include, but are not limited to, running errands, answering telephones, answering and following up with email, keeping calendars, collecting regular mail, answering and/or following up on constituent requests, attending committee meetings, filing papers, representing the legislator at breakfast/lunch or lobbyist meetings when necessary, listening to/or attending committee meetings, helping with bill research, or sitting in on the House and/or Senate Chambers. Legislators direct how the aides and interns can best assist him/her with legislative duties.
At the end of the Legislator’s term of office, the Legislator usually awards his support staff with certificates of appreciation. These are used for resume building.
Rankin strives to be a voice for Western Colorado. With my educational background we piloted an intern program last year for students from his district. The program is called “Interns in the Field.” Interested students find a teacher sponsor within their school. The sponsor then recommends the student to Rep. Rankin. The student applies for the intern position by sending in an intent form along with a resume to our office.
Each student intern keeps the representative informed of happenings within their community. They attend county commissioner meetings, city council meetings, hospital board meetings, school board meetings, newspaper article summaries or anything else that may be of interest to their representative while he is away in Denver. Each Friday during the legislative session the intern sends in a report along with a copy to their sponsor. I likewise copy the sponsor/teacher on office communication with the student interns.
The only other requirement is for the interns to visit the capitol at least once during the legislative session.
House District 57 Interns for the 2015 legislative session have been selected over the Christmas holiday. They are:
Vanessa Davila Glenwood Springs High School.
Wayne Smith, Government Teacher/Sponsor
Tressa Leyba, Rifle High School.
Jonathan Rice, Social Studies Teacher/Sponsor
Fiona Laird, Roaring Fork High School, Carbondale.
Matthew Whisler Sponsor/US Government Teacher
Tiffany Lingo, Calden Scranton, Pearl Wyman and Treann Quick, Moffat High School.
Karen Chaney, Social Studies Teacher/Sponsor
Congratulations to the 2015 Legislative Interns!
Joyce Rankin, Legislative Aide
Rep. Bob Rankin, R-House District 57 — Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.