As another legislative session comes to a close, the legislative interns for BCTC have concluded their service at the Capitol. During the 2016 session, four students represented BCTC in Frankfort, including Jordan Arnold, Lawrenceburg; Mishonda Bush, Midway; Kevely Dumay, Lexington; and Brack Duncan, Winchester.
This is the sixth year for the program with interns serving in both the House and the Senate.
Each intern had a unique experience that varied with their legislator. Arnold interned with Sen. Julian Carroll, Senate District 7; Bush interned with Rep. James Kay, House District 56; Dumay interned with Sen. Reggie Thomas, Senate District 13; and Duncan interned with Rep. Donna Mayfield, House District 73.
"Going into the internship, I thought I was going to make coffee runs and have to ask for directions to Rep. Mayfield's office every morning," said Duncan.
Arnold said he applied for the internship to learn more about the functions of state government in an active environment rather than the classroom, and the interns quickly hit the ground running and began learning their way around the Capitol. They experienced committee meetings, being present on the floor of the House and Senate, researching bills, following legislation, lobbying, and a wide variety of other events that take place in Frankfort.
"I was treated like a member of the legislature," said Dumay. "I am now a more confident public speaker and very knowledgeable about how the government works at the state level."
For BCTC's legislative interns, the internship experience went beyond just the mechanics of state government. Throughout their time in Frankfort they had the opportunity to network and make connections with key decision makers.
"I did not expect to enjoy my internship so much," said Arnold. "Senator Carroll has been around state government for more than half a century, and his experience provided me with invaluable knowledge."
The best part of my internship was getting to know the politicians on a personal level. My biggest takeaway is that our senators and representatives truly do care about us, said Duncan.
With the session-long debate regarding education funding, the interns were personally invested in the process of passing the budget, attending rallies and showing their support for BCTC and KCTCS.
"I appreciated the networking experience not only with the legislature, but also with KCTCS. I enjoyed seeing the support that KCTCS has for their students in Frankfort," said Bush.
Arnold will be transferring to the University of Louisville to study history and political science with ambitions of becoming a high school teacher or university professor. Bush and Dumay are working on completing their associate in science degree with a focus area of accounting and then plan to transfer to four-year schools for a bachelors degree in accounting. Dumay's future plans include attending law school. Duncan will be completing his education at the University of Kentucky after completing his time at BCTC.
All four of the interns feel that they now have a better understanding of the political process and of the people who are part of that process at the state level in Kentucky. Their internships have motivated them to look for ways to give back to their community and make a difference, and several are considering a future run for office.