Legislative Column for the Week of Monday, March 10, 2014

Learning the Legislative Process

This session, we have the good fortune of having two interns working for the 8th District. This week, I asked our part-time intern to introduce herself to constituents and share her thoughts about her experiences so far this session.

Hello 8th District. My name is Leandra Patochek, I am currently serving as a part-time intern for Sen. Will Kraus. I have been an intern here since the beginning of January and have loved every minute of it. I’m very excited to relay just a few of the highlights from my time here in the Capitol.

To tell you a little about myself, I am currently a senior attending the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, where I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Criminal Justice and Political Science. I will graduate in December and plan to begin graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration. I am at the Capitol through UCM’s Internship in State Government, which promotes students becoming actively engaged in state politics and allows for an invaluable hands-on experience. I have been interested in government and politics since elementary school. However, my interest developed by leaps and bounds when I was in high school, further intensifying my desire to pursue a degree in Political Science. I am particularly interested in the areas of education, judicial and criminal justice affairs, and healthcare.

Thus far in my internship, I have had the opportunity to witness many aspects of the legislative process at the state level. I have attended committee meetings, floor debate, and seminars on issues pertinent to Missourians. The opportunity to be involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of how an issue goes from the formulation of a solution to a problem by means of being introduced as bill to eventually becoming statute, is truly an incredible experience. I am still amazed at the intricacies of the process and excited to reflect on all of the things I have learned so far and take in what I have yet to learn during my remaining time here and utilize it all throughout my future.

If I had to pick one of my favorite activities from the two months I have been here, it would have to be the opportunity to see debate on the Senate floor. By being in Jefferson City two days a week, I have the chance to see two different points in the legislative process. Toward the beginning of the week, many of the bills on the floor are openly debated and perfected, whereas by the end of the week, those bills are voted upon in order to send them to the House. Witnessing two components of the legislative process at various points throughout the week showcases the transformation that bills undergo before they are finally signed by governor. Being able to watch the passion exhibited by the senators about the issues that matter most to the constituents they represent is inspiring.

I also have enjoyed simply working in the office and getting to know the senator, as well as his staffers, Mark and Chris, while just being in the atmosphere of the Capitol. It is constantly abuzz with meetings, session, and constituents. I think that the most important thing I will take away from this internship is the commitment to serving others that is exuded by Sen. Kraus. Government becomes a lot more engaging and productive when the needs and concerns of citizens are truthfully represented and met. This is something I hope to be able to employ in my future career.

I’d like to thank Leandra for her hard work thus far for the Capitol office on behalf of the constituents in the 8th District.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions, and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 573-751-1464, or e-mail at will.kraus@senate.mo.gov.