“I feel that the highest honor comes from serving people and your country,” Schwarzenegger said.
Governor Schwarzenegger’s words resonate with me. On November 20, 2004, when I was sworn in as Governor of Texas for a Day, I said in my inaugural address that next to the healing arts and the ministry, I believe that there is no higher calling in our country than public service. I hope that a host of young Texans agree with me, because the future of our great state rests in their hands.
Texas college students as well as recent college graduates who are interested in holding public office may want to consider applying for one of the programs that places students in Texas state senators’ and representatives’ offices.
The Senator Gregory Luna Legislative Scholars and Fellows Program, for example, offers participants the opportunity to gain invaluable experience and exposure to state government as full-time legislative aides in the Texas State Capitol.
Each participant is assigned to a state senator’s office or to the lieutenant governor’s office where they perform a variety of legislative tasks, such as tracking bills, policy research, monitoring committee hearings, preparing floor packets and attending legislative meetings.
In addition to the work experience, participants will meet with local and state leaders for weekly sessions about leadership and policies that shape communities. Fellows and scholars receive monthly stipends to assist with living expenses.
Applicants must be at least 21 years of age by January 5, 2011. Scholars applicants must be enrolled in an accredited educational institution with at least 60 semester hours completed. Fellows must be graduate students enrolled in an accredited educational institution. Recent graduates, May 2010 or later, also may apply.
Program participants are considered full-time staff within their assigned offices. Responsibilities may vary from office to office, but students should expect to work more than a 40-hour week during the legislative session.
The application deadline is October 29, 2010. Application information may be found on the Senate Hispanic Research Council Web site: www.tshrc.org. The program is named for the late Senator Gregory Luna, who served in the Texas Legislature from 1985 to 1998 and was a strong advocate for education.
Another opportunity for students is the Texas Legislative Intern Program (TLIP) which places students in both senators’ and representatives’ offices as interns. TLIP provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students attending Texas colleges and universities to serve as interns in the Texas Legislature. More information about this program may be found on TLIP sponsor Senator Rodney Ellis’ Web site: www.rodneyellis.com. Click on “Apply to Texas Legislative Intern Program.”Programs such as TLIP and Luna Scholars and Fellows afford students the opportunity to experience public service firsthand. Once they do, I hope they will agree with me and the California governor that public service is a high honor.