Weekly Columns

As teachers dust off desks, parents buy new school supplies and students prepare to head back to the classroom, the signs that a new school year is upon us are unmistakable. Yet I can attest that some young Arkansans were still learning over the summer break, developing new skills and gaining vital experience to help shape their future through congressional internships.

We have a responsibility to provide our youth with the resources for a solid foundation to be the next generation of leaders. That extends beyond the classroom.

As the U.S. Capitol resumes normal operations, we were able to welcome more Arkansas interns back to Washington for our summer congressional internship program. Students from Magnolia to Fayetteville came to Congress and got first-hand experience with serving Arkansans as well as a front row seat to the legislative process. 

Our country has always relied on dedicated citizens to perform essential tasks and help administer services. Instilling a passion for public service in America’s youth is something I’m proud to advocate. This is one of the many reasons I’ve launched initiatives like the Congressional Youth Cabinet and continue to promote interning in the Senate.  

Constituent service is one of my most important duties as an elected official. Interns provide vital support in answering phones and processing correspondence. The hands-on approach my office strives for would not be possible without the hard work of diligent interns. Beyond day-to-day operations, they serve as stewards to visiting Arkansans, especially in giving tours of the Capitol –– a special opportunity sightseers and interns alike often report is a highlight of their time in the nation’s capital.

My staff and I aim to provide interns with an experience that will last a lifetime. One of the many ways we achieve this is through our speaker series. Our state often feels like one big community, so it’s only natural to welcome Arkansas natives working in Washington to share their professional experiences with interns during informative question and answer sessions. This opportunity creates connections interns can leverage to achieve personal and career growth while also leaving a lasting, positive impression of public service and the impact The Natural State has on Capitol Hill.  

Our hope is that the opportunities we provide help interns learn and flourish regardless of their professional goals. These young men and women have a wide range of interests and aspirations from engineering to economics to government and beyond. Regardless of their career paths, congressional interns can find something D.C. has to offer them, all while helping Arkansans. 

I encourage any young person interested in public service to consider applying for an internship. Some interns find their passion for policy and civic engagement while they are here. Many now work in government at all levels or take their interest for giving back to other important roles elsewhere. I was fortunate to have had very special and promising students working alongside my staff this summer serving the public. I wish all of our interns the best in school and beyond, knowing their time spent representing our state will help them along the way.