This summer, I’m working as a Policy and Lobbying Intern with the League of Conservation Voters, the political arm of the environmental movement, in Washington, D.C. I mainly work with the lobbying team to target key Congress members on important environmental votes and, hopefully, convince legislators to vote in a way that is in line with our pro-environmental stance.
Each year, LCV releases its National Environmental Scorecard, ranking all members of Congress based on their environmental voting records. The twelve most anti-environmental legislators are placed on the “Dirty Dozen” list. LCV works against these legislators, backing opposing candidates, running political ads, and generally pushing to ensure that these Congresspersons do not return for another session. Usually, LCV is successful in this goal.
I have previous experience working with state government, but this is my first position at the federal level. The transition into national politics has been interesting and eye opening. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot. For your reading pleasure, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten takeaways from my summer in D.C. thus far.
Top Ten Things I’ve Learned Working in Environmental Lobbying
10. A meeting’s value can be assessed via its free food. Good meeting: homemade guacamole. Bad meeting: stale Twizzlers.
9. Too many people try (and fail) to take jumping pictures in front of the Capitol building. Seriously, it’s overdone.
8. Political acronyms are like currency for Washingtonians. Dropping them at cocktail parties, fundraisers, and happy hours automatically makes you seem more important than you actually are. Among politicos, this is half the battle.
7. Even if you strongly disagree with Rep. Michele Bachmann’s political viewpoints, it’s still a little cool if she tells you she likes your skirt in the Rayburn bathroom.
6. Congressional facebook stalking is way better than normal Facebook stalking.
5. Befriend staffers and receptionists. They hold the key to a Congressperson’s ear. If they don’t like you, then you have a serious problem.
4. You’re constantly networking. You should always be on your game.
3. The American political process can be gratifying, frustrating, and infuriating, but it’s always exciting.
2. Sen. Elizabeth Warren gives great high-fives. (Hate on me, hater.)
1. It can be really rewarding to work with a group of passionate, intelligent people, influence legislative decision-making, and help make our country a healthier, cleaner, greener place.