Nicholas Beauchamp ’20

State Representatives Shaunna O’Connell and Geoff Diehl, Boston, MA

This summer I had the honor of interning at the Massachusetts State House for the offices of Representative Shaunna O’Connell and Representative Geoff Diehl as a legislative aide intern.

Nicholas out in front of Representative O’Connell’s office, which is the side entrance to the Massachusetts State House.
Nicholas out in front of Representative O’Connell’s office, which is the side entrance to the Massachusetts State House.

During my time in Representative O’Connell’s office, I was tasked with taking care of her constituent services as well as managing her schedule throughout the week. This task had me taking phone calls from constituents, lobbying groups, and the media, and dealing with their needs appropriately. The number one rule of my office was that no matter who is calling, we will do whatever we can to help them while maintaining our ethics and morality. This standpoint was an aspect of my internship which increased my admiration for our elected officials and reinforced the morality that I currently hold as my own. Furthermore, I would manage the daily office tasks in Representative O’Connell’s office such as responding to and collecting the mail, conversing with constituents to address concerns they called our office to discuss, as well as any other large-scale projects that Representative O’Connell’s legislative aide, Radka Barter, would ask me to complete.

One of these large-scale projects that I worked on as an intern was researching the change of divorce legislation in Massachusetts. Currently in some towns in Massachusetts, if a couple is going through a divorce and has a court case that is going to occur, one of the spouses can request to change the date of the court case in the mail. This legislation became law when a court case prompted the foundation of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court Standing Order 3-11. The issue with this legislation was that if one spouse contacted the court and used the Order to change the date, they could ensure that their other spouse does not get notified about the change in date. This lack of information could cause them to get a fine for not appearing in court or cause the benefits they may be discussing to get ignored by the Judge overlooking their case. This project brought me a vast amount of hope while I was working on it because it showed me that the government does care about the interests of the constituents and acts when local legislation such as Order 3-11 is negatively impact their constituents.

Although most of my internship was spent within Representative Connell’s office acting as a legislative aide, I did work once I week in Representative Diehl’s office under his legislative aide Jacqueline DelBonis. While working for her, I solely worked on projects for their office instead of working on the daily office tasks as I did for Representative O’Connell. One of these projects involved me going through a list of local organizations and compiling a contact sheet for the office. This experience helped me broaden my knowledge of Microsoft Excel, but it also allowed me to provide the needed information and contacts for many of the local organizations which the office worked in coordination with frequently.

On the balcony of Governor Charlie Baker with the legislative aide for Senator O’Connell while working at the Massachusetts State House.
On the balcony of Governor Charlie Baker with the legislative aide for Senator O’Connell while working at the Massachusetts State House.

I have nothing but positive comments about the Massachusetts State House and their employees. The people who work in the office where I spent my internship, from Rita the receptionist, to Radka Barter, Representative O’Connell’s legislative aide, to the three Representatives that worked in my office, showed me nothing but kindness, positive and constructive mentorship. Furthermore, these individuals are some of the hardest workers I have ever met in my life. Not only do these individuals get all the tasks that need to get done for the day accomplished, but they do so with a smile. Their commitment to the job and integrity as they did so is an aspect of the State House which I now want to model into myself.

One of the significant concerns that I have seen from numerous individuals that I have come to encounter in our country is a lack of trust and faith in our government. What my time interning at the State House showed me is that our elected officials are working tirelessly to ensure that the needs of their constituents are met. Although the media and social media platforms focus on the negatives within our society, whether it is police brutality, poverty, or war, I want people to know that our elected officials in Massachusetts are doing everything that they can to support their constituents and represent their needs. This information gives me hope when it appears that our politics are gridlocked, and other issues occur, because I now know that the people we elect into office do care. Regardless of party affiliation or opinion, working in the State House showed me that Republicans and Democrats could come to work together and find common ground.

The time spent at the State House and the exposure to the political system is going to have an immense impact on the remainder of my time at Williams and after graduation. As a political economy major, it is imperative that I understand our political institutions not only in theory but also in practice. Having the knowledge, I gained during my internship has further invigorated my passion for politics in a way no other medium has done before. Due to this experience, I look forward to the next two years of my academic career at Williams because I will be able to take more political science classes and economics classes. I look forward to these courses because of how they will provide me with a further understanding of the political process both domestically and internationally. Furthermore, these courses will provide me with a background in politics which will give me a more nuanced understanding of what I experienced during my internship.

Shaking hands with Representative Geoff Diehl who is running against Senator Elizabeth Warren in the current race to become a Massachusetts Senator.
Shaking hands with Representative Geoff Diehl who is running against Senator Elizabeth Warren in the current race to become a Massachusetts Senator.

Working as a legislative aide intern for Representative O’Connell showed me the political process in action, as it occurs day after day. This inside perspective has given me a nuanced understanding of how ideas get turned into law in our country, and how our elected officials address our concerns. While working at the State House, I got to see firsthand how hard our local representatives work to solve the issues and concerns that we constituents have. Whether it was listening to someone who was having a bad day, researching a constituent’s problem and connecting them with the proper governmental agency who could address their concerns, I got to see that our local representatives care about their constituents. For this reason, as well as how exciting my internship was this summer, I plan on getting into the field of public service post-graduation.

I want to take a moment to thank the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and Ms. Dawn Dellea who manages the ASIP grants; and to the Mead Family for the generous support provided to me to focus on my internship and gain the needed knowledge and background necessary for me to be successful in the field of public service. For this generosity, I cannot begin to express my gratitude and appreciation in a way which would encompass the benefit you have provided me. Thank you for investing in me not only as a student but also as an individual.