UW Tacoma Junior and PPE major Taylor Rome is spending Fall quarter completing an internship in the PPPA internship program. Rome is an intern for Denny Heck, congressman for the 10th congressional district. Initially elected in 2012, Heck mounted his first re-election campaign this fall. During this fall’s election season, Rome’s work as an intern has put her at the center of the action.
Each day of Rome’s internship sees her actively involved in the re-election effort. In its effort to “Get out the Vote,” the team gathered data on people they called and on whose doors they knocked. After entering the information they assessed who they still had to remind to send in their ballots. Rome was then part of determining which voters they would target for contact, including people with a good voting record, those who have been identified as supporters, and likely supporters of the candidate. Rome then hit the streets or the phones to put the plan into action. “Canvassing, or door-belling as we call it in Washington, is one of the more exciting and important things on a campaign because it is face-to-face voter contact,” says Rome.
According to Rome, one of the best parts of this internship has been contact with various people, including her co-workers and voters. The internship has provided Rome with an opportunity for learning that is unparalleled. Says Rome, “Every day I learn something new about how the average voter thinks and what shapes their opinions. I have had eye-opening conversations with people at the door, and ones that have left me shaking my head. When you work on a campaign you adopt all of the staff as your family. You are with them all day every day for months and create a bond that you can’t compare to anything else.”
This internship has rounded out Rome’s education at UW Tacoma, giving her hands on experience that has enhanced her classroom learning. The internship has been particularly helpful in opening doors for Rome and creating career opportunities. Although she doesn’t know precisely what career path she will choose, Rome has learned that she belongs in this field. She recommends this type of work to others, saying that the contacts she has made and the experience she has gained will be of great use to her in the future.