In the summer of 2009, I interned in the district office of New York State Senator Bill Larkin. The Summer of 2009 was a trying time for the New York State Senate. During much of my time as an intern, the senate was in a partisan standoff. For me as an intern, this showed me the trials and tribulations that are often seen as inevitable in the field of politics. Senator Larkin was very unhappy about this standoff, which he made clear in a floor speech that I was able to watch on the internet from his district office in New Windsor.
While the senate standoff lead to slower days at my internship, I was able to help the senator and his staff with many tasks in the office, such as answering constituent questions on the phone. One task that I found most interesting was searching for articles from local news sources that were either about or may have been of interest to the senator. We organized all these media clippings in a binder for him to review when he returned from Albany. This task was one of my first experiences directly researching political communication.
Once the standoff in Albany ended and Senator Larkin was able to return back to the Hudson Valley, I was able to work directly with him. I attended meetings he had with constituents, taking notes for the senator. I was also able to draft letters for him, as well as proofread letters he and his staff wrote. I would later use these skills in my internship with Congresswoman Nan Hayworth
One project that Senator Larkin was most instrumental to in our community was the opening of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. The first purple heart was awarded by George Washington in my hometown and Senator Larkin worked with a local newspaper editor to open the hall of honor. While interning for Senator Larkin, I had the opportunity to tour the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is especially important to me because my father is a purple heart recipient from the Vietnam War. Senator Larkin is a purple heart recipient from the Korean War. Being able to see such a tangible example of work done by a New York state senator in collaboration with others, was inspiring to me, especially after seeing the opposite occur during the standoff. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor showed me the great things that government officials can achieve for their communities.