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Idaho Farm Bureau Federation Legislative Interns

IDAHO FARM BUREAU FEDERATION LEGISLATIVE INTERNS

From college students to Farm Bureau members and employees, seven people from across Idaho took part in this year’s Legislative Internship Program with the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation.

They were able to observe the legislative process in action, get first-hand experience while shadowing the IFBF Governmental Affairs team, and see how they work to implement our members policy in the state, from the grass-roots level to the final bills.

“The internship was a big step out of my comfort zone, and I didn’t realize how much exposure I would get to the state government,” said Erin Daniels of Canyon County.

“I really didn’t know what to expect to be honest with you,” said Darcy Lammers from Boundary County. “I was hoping to gain a better understanding of the whole process, and I definitely have gained that.”

“This was a really good opportunity to just learn more about the legislative process,” said Camron Hammond of Madison County. “That’s something that I’ve always been interested in.”

“Also interact with our legislators, just to get to know them on a more personal level,” said Hammond.

“I’ve always had a passion for government and for politics, and especially for the constitution,” said JaKell Hansen from Minidoka County,

“I felt this would be a great opportunity to learn how lobbyists work. We normally only see the perspective of pretty much just the constituents,” said Jamie Zimmers of Twin Falls County.

“I really just wanted to get the inside view and figure out more of how our legislature works,” said Zimmers.

“I want exposure to everything and so I took a leap of faith, and I did the internship,” said Daniels.

“I’ve spent time with all three of our legislative team, Chyla, Russ and Braden, taken me to committee meetings,” said Lammers.

“I love getting to see what they get to do,” said Naomi Anderson from Canyon County. “They are all so knowledgeable about all the bills that are beings passed. We did a lot of visiting with legislators. One thing that Braden was telling us was that sometimes it’s just saying hi in the hallway, and that make a big difference on whether they’re going to contact you on a certain bill to see where you stand,” said Anderson.

“One of the biggest things that I’ve learned is how important connections are,” said Emily Blattner of Ada County. “Every time we’ll be in the capitol every one of the lobbyists says hi to one of the other lobbyists or says hi to a legislator. So connections is a really big thing in politics,” said Blattner.

“Probably the biggest surprise for me has been to realize the associations that are needed to get something done here, and by that I mean the number of people that need to collaborate on an issue to make a bill move forward,” said Lammers.

“I’ve learned more just about a lot of the formalities just to the legislative process, about the different readings, about the different ways that bills are introduced,” said Hammond. “Really I’ve just learned more about what our legislative team on a daily basis and in the work that they put in.”

“I’ve got to sit in on the floor with the house and the senate, which I thought was really interesting,” said Zimmers.

“I have come to realize that it’s a lot easier to get involved than I thought it was, because I think a lot of times we think of something as being so… first of like talking to senators, like… Oh, they’re clear up there, Like you know, it’s really hard to get ahold of them,” said Hansen. “Actually, it’s pretty easy, you just have to know where to look and where to go and how to do it.”

“This has been a fantastic opportunity for me, and it’s a great opportunity for our members to really take advantage of this as well,” said Hammond.

“Do it. It’s well worth the time and effort that you’re going to put forward to come down here and do it,” said Lammers. “Even if it’s out of your wheelhouse, this is way out of my wheelhouse, and I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve learned a lot from it.

 “I would tell them to absolutely do it. The networking and connections are incredible and I’ve never experienced networking with policy makers on such a personal level,” said Daniels.

“Whether you are a farmer, a teacher, honestly any career… these bills pertain to everybody in some way or another,” said Anderson. “And just seeing the process and understanding the process just opened up my mind personally.”

“Just do it, you won’t regret it,” said Hansen. “I would say it’s a great opportunity to be able to learn and to get involved and to kind of see the workings of the state and of your local government.”

“100% do it because there’s nothing to lose. You only gain things,” said Zimmers. “You get to meet people, gain new experiences, ask a bajillion questions. No matter how small they are, they’ll answer them.”

“I think that it’s essential to know about politics and to research it a little bit because that’s your civic duty to know what’s going on in your state,” said Blattner. “And especially for ranchers and farmers and anybody involved in the agricultural industry, because it will greatly affect your business and what you are doing.”

“I recommend this anyone who wants to step out of their comfort zone and just learn how the system works,” said Daniels.

For the Voice of Idaho Agriculture, I’m Paul Boehlke.

If you're interested in the internship program, contact your county Farm Bureau president.

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Paul Boehlke