Reflecting on My Summer Internship at Common Cause

Our intern Natalie looks back at her time with Common Cause Massachusetts as her summer in Boston comes to a close.

Interning at Common Cause this summer has been a very engaging experience. I have many fond memories of my time here, from watching the unanimous passage of the Automatic Voter Registration bill in the Senate to hanging out with my coworkers at the registration table of our June fundraiser event. Throughout this summer, I have learned about important issues, met wonderful people, and gained valuable skills. I have no doubt that my future will be shaped by my time here at Common Cause.

On my first day here, I was given a stack of several hundred postcards addressed to various state representatives that Common Cause had collected at the Democratic Convention and was asked to sort them by recipient. Stumbling over the unfamiliar names, the project covered the entire conference room table and took me all morning to complete. Later, my fellow intern Candace and I delivered the postcards, a process that took another several hours as we struggled to navigate the State House’s complex hallways. It even took us 15 minutes just to figure out how to get out of the building once we had finished! But several weeks later, when attending a vote in the Senate, I was pleased to find that I recognized the names of most of the Senators. When reading the news each morning, I could correctly identify most of the Massachusetts legislative leadership, and I could soon navigate the State House with ease when delivering letters or attending votes. My work at Common Cause familiarized me with my state government in a very unique, hands-on way.

While working at Common Cause, I also learned about many of the issues currently at the center of politics in Massachusetts. I came to understand Automatic Voter Registration – Common Cause’s main priority for the summer – backwards and forwards. My time at Common Cause provided the perfect introduction to the Massachusetts political sphere, and the knowledge I have gained will be invaluable as I continue following the news in my home state.

One of the most engaging and educational parts of my internship was writing posts for this blog. Working on blog posts allowed me to explore a wide range of issues while also improving on my research and writing skills. In addition to gaining an in-depth knowledge of Automatic Voter Registration, I was able to explore other Common Cause priorities like campaign finance reform and election security. These are all very topical subjects, and I encountered issues I had written about for the blog outside of the office several times. In addition to using my knowledge of these areas in frequent discussions with friends and family, I attended a screening of the documentary “Dark Money,” which is about recent campaign finance reform efforts, near the end of the summer. I was proud to discover that the film mentioned some of the work Common Cause has done in the past, and I was also excited that I knew of, and had written about, some of the future campaign finance reform efforts that were discussed after the screening during a Q&A with the director. Common Cause works on many important issues, and I am glad I had the chance to not only learn about these reforms but also help advocate for them.

There have been many highlights of my time at Common Cause: helping out at our Cause for Celebration fundraiser, sitting in on meetings that explored the ins and outs of the lawmaking process, attending (and winning!) votes in the legislature, and, of course, getting to know – and learning from – Assistant Director Devon Nir and Executive Director Pam Wilmot. I am a firm believer in Common Cause’s mission of “holding power accountable,” and I am proud to have played a role in this crucial work.