Jacques Lybarger-Martel ’23

District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney, City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

This summer, I had the opportunity to work for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as a Legislative Fellow. San Francisco is divided into eleven districts, and I worked specifically under Supervisor Matt Haney of District 6, which is made up of some of the most central and influential neighborhoods in the city. During my internship I carried out several interesting responsibilities, including drafting resolutions, analyzing and proposing budgets, and compiling and disseminating data related to Covid-19. I even got to write the monthly newsletter. I also had my fair share of less interesting, equally important, but at times a little mind-numbing, responsibilities like responding directly to constituents, making meeting agenda notes, taking digital town hall minutes, and worst of all redacting thousands upon thousands of pages of emails for various Sunshine Requests.

I learned a lot about the inner mechanisms of local government. My supervisor, Matt Haney, was able to exert a lot of influence and affect significant positive change from his position as City Supervisor. Even I, a lowly intern, felt like I was able to have a tangible effect on my community. For example, one of my assignments was to go over every criminal behavioral order that received funding from the city, and evaluate each of them to the extent they served the Black community and were led by BIPOC leaders. My analysis is what my supervisors used when they calculated which organizations should be prioritized in terms of funding when the coronavirus budget cuts came into effect.

In terms of a potential future career, I won’t rule it out, but as of now I am not sure that politics is the future career field for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Legislative Fellow, and as I said, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to be in a position to do some real good; but I can tell you that as you rise further up the ranks in local government, you have to pay more attention to the politics of your peers and divert energy away from the pressing issues at hand—and that just seems like a frustration I’d rather not deal with. However, from an academic prospective, I found it really interesting to see how the set-up and role of a government shapes the community around it; and I’d be interested in taking more classes that study societal etymology.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the generosity of the Estate of George Mead and without the facilitative power and tremendous resources of the ’68 Center; and so, I want to extend my sincerest thanks to all involved in making this summer opportunity a viable option for me. I am grateful.