Week 1:
Orientation at the State Capitol

Ringgenberg Fellow in Legislative Affairs

Iowa State Senate Democratic Research Staff | Des Moines, Iowa

January 12, 2019

Hello, my name is Alex Salisbury I am a senior at Cornell majoring in Politics and History. I am currently a full time intern for the Iowa State Democrats Research Staff at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa. The Senate Democrats Research Staff also known as the Senate Caucus Staff are a group of full time staffers that assist all of the Democratic Senators in the Iowa State Senate. The staff consists of research analysts, communications directors, and staff assigned to individual offices of the Senate. I personally work under Rusty Martin, the Communications Director for the State Senate Democrats who oversees all the communication operations for the State Senators.

I found out about this opportunity through an email from the Berry Center Institute about the possibility of working on the caucus staff for the Iowa State Senate Democrats.

I started my internship a week before the end of Winter Break, which was also one week before the legislative session started. This is so my boss, the communications director for the Senate Democrats, could show us new interns what our jobs would be. We spent the first few days learning the computer systems that we would be working with and getting used to the office. Our primary responsibilities would be to assist our boss who ran all the communications for the entire Democratic Senate caucus. He explained that we would often be taking videos or other forms of media of State Senators speaking on the floor, interviewing them about a bill they would be introducing, or filming a press conference where a senator is addressing the public.

In theory, we are the media arm of the Senate Democrats, making sure that the message sent out is clear, concise, and poignant in order to accurately articulate what is happening in the State Senate to the constituents of our senators. We go about this through widespread social media posts, writing up summaries of daily activities at the State Senate, and performing press relations for the Senators so that they can spread their message not just within Des Moines but with local media back in their districts.

I wish I had more to write on, however, with the Senate not yet in session there is no media to work with and so it’s just learning the ropes. With session starting soon I hope to have more to update on soon.

Myself with my two fellow full time interns Martha Broadnax and Jackie Sayers on the steps of the main rotunda at the Iowa State Capitol.

Alex Salisbury '19

Alex is a history and political science major from Iowa City, Iowa.