Senator Eric P. Lesser '07 HLS '15, one of the youngest members of the Massachusetts Senate and a Harvard IOP alum, is looking for idealistic, motivated, and highly talented students to serve as intern in his State House office. An internship in the Office of Senator Lesser will give students hands-on experience in areas such as lawmaking, legislative drafting, policy research and analysis, constituent service, correspondence, communications, and office administration. Students will also become familiar with both state and regional issues impacting Western Massachusetts. As one of two Senators representing Springfield, students will also develop an understanding of innovative approaches to regional development and economic growth in a Gateway City. Read the recent profile of Senator Lesser from The Harvard Crimson.
2017 Intern Reflection:
In Senator Lesser's office, I am treated like any other staffer, given responsibilities and tasks beyond what I have ever had in any other internship. During my time here, I have written testimony for bills that the Senator submits to committees, given analysis and recommendations on how the Senator should vote on bills, written press releases and op-eds for local politicians, and researched issues such as affordable housing policy, student loan debt, and prescription drug costs. In addition, I am the first line of communication within the Office, redirecting calls, writing letters of congratulations and thanks to constituents, and greeting people who visit the Office.
On top of the trust that the Office places on me to contribute to their work, the Senator himself often asks me for suggestions and recommendations. During Office meetings, he frequently will turn to me and the other intern and ask, "Well, what do you guys think?" I have shared my thoughts on everything from expungement policy for marijuana offenses to the best message to present during a speech to young business leaders. The Senator is committed to making the internship a meaningful one, and he has surrounded himself with a fantastic staff that shares his motivation to engage his interns and develop them to their greatest potential.
Reed Shafer-Ray '18
2016 Intern Reflection:
Within my first few days at Senator Lesser’s office, I found myself immersed in the State House’s invigorating buzz of activity, ideas, and people that crowd inside its historic walls. Early on in my internship, I saw the passing of the transgender bathroom bill, which legally condemned discrimination based on gender identity. Beyond the joy of this historic moment, the realization crystallized in my mind that, as one of two interns on Senator Lesser’s team, I would also get to be a real part of the law-making and constituent advocacy that makes government a true public service to promote and defend communities of the state.
Over my 10 weeks with Team Lesser, I worked directly alongside the Legislative Director to research and prepare bills for the Senator’s caucuses and sessions. I often served as the central staffer while Senator Lesser was in formal session, standing by him at the proceedings down in the chamber and preparing him for his votes and debate. I also attended hearings and briefings as Senator Lesser’s proxy on a variety of issues, ranging from the app economy of MA to lead abatement in our homes to criminal justice reform. I would report to the Senator on what I had heard from constituent testimony, lobbyists, outside agencies, and the many new ideas for bills. I also worked alongside the Communications Director, where I gained experience drafting press releases, helping with constituent requests, and learning about the Western Massachusetts communities we represent. I’ve become an expert on Massachusetts energy, as I’ve taken charge of researching the prominent issues and priming the Senator for a new omnibus energy bill that will redefine the state’s commitment to clean energy. I’ve also gained expertise on the opioid epidemic in the state, tech and rail industries, ride-for-hire operations like Uber, Western MA agriculture, and so much more.
I would absolutely recommend this internship to anyone interested in public service, learning more about how government works at the state and local levels, and honing professional skills in a small, devoted office full of incredible people. Senator Lesser is a phenomenal person to work for, since he is constantly brimming with ideas and an inspiring dedication to the power of his position. The team is very close and always makes sure that interns contribute real, significant work to the office, the Senator, and the constituents. I’ve learned so much from my competent co-workers and supervisors, and I really appreciated the much quicker legislative process and community care that gets done here on Beacon Hill, as compared to D.C. This political
Eleanor Bridge '17
2015 Intern Reflection:
At Senator Lesser’s office, I work alongside the Legislative Director and Communications Director to write testimony, research bills, draft press releases, direct constituent requests and more. I’ve become an expert on opiate abuse in Massachusetts and nationally, the tech and rail industries in Western Massachusetts, and the legislative process at the State House. I draft testimony Senator Lesser reads before committees, letters for everyone from local award winners to Governor Baker, and press releases about our legislative victories. I also attend committees on topics like public health, education and healthcare financing to report back to Senator Lesser on what bills are being heard and what testimony is submitted. Further, I've researched legislation to help the Senator decide which way to vote on it.
I would definitely recommend this internship to anyone interested in public service who wants to learn more about how things get done at the State level. For me, it has been an invaluable experience as I learn about issues facing the Commonwealth and hone my own professional skills. Working in Senator Lesser’s office is a great experience because it is a small and dedicated team that makes sure the interns have real and important work to do, and because things move faster on Beacon Hill then they do in D.C. If you want to feel like you’re making a real impact, apply to this internship!
Megan Corrigan '16