Undergraduate Research Paper
Dr. Ben Meiches
Inspired by a drive to instigate widespread and environmentally-sustainable change, this paper explores the powers and processes shaping public policy in Washington State through a reflection of the legislative internship. A recounting of personal experiences and observations in light of knowledge gained during ten weeks of academic, civic, social, and emotional learning offers a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at the 2023 Legislative Session with the hope of informing future efforts to influence policy and practice. The reflection opens with a description of the Washington State Legislature, an overview of intern duties, and a summary of the academic resources used to help identify and analyze key themes that characterize the state’s policy making process. What follows is a discussion and analysis of three such themes: 1) constituents often misunderstand the extent of legislative powers and activities, 2) political party loyalty and influence are the main drivers of policy, and 3) persuading others to sign on to a movement requires an understanding of the values and experience shaping their perspective and connecting these to the end goal. Highlighting a need for improved public education, communication, and engagement on matters both civic and environmental, the paper concludes with a hopeful reminder that we can change the world through the consistent practice of empathy, learning, and diverse fellowship.
Wambold, Bailey, "A Session on the Inside: Lessons from the Legislature" (2023). PPPA Paper Prize. 23.
Civic and Community Engagement Commons, Other Political Science Commons, Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration Commons, Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation Commons, Public Policy Commons