Joshua A.

January 7th – January 14th (14.31 hours) –  On January 8th, we had a Mayor and Council Study Session. I helped “study” the study session agenda and regular session agenda for the Council member. I submitted questions and attended the meeting. This was an eye opening experience about how to really dig into details. As my coworker Mark Kerr (the Chief of Staff) says, “the devil is in the details” . This means that we drill down deeper into the material and tear any inconsistencies apart.

I learned how to answer phones, taking a message, transferring calls, and other basic phone skills. I developed this skill through practice as we get a lot of phone calls from constituents, and there is often a need to take a message as the aide in charge of that topic is gone, transfer the call to that aide, or sometimes just put them on hold for a minute to quickly give them the information directly. I found the phone system was surprisingly fairly intuitive. My mentor helped quite a bit in learning the ropes, especially when I first started answering phones.

As a future politician, I will be liable to my constituents. When myself or my office receives a call, then I will be able to not be like many of the older generations of politicians. I will be able to quickly and effectively use my phone system, email, etc. This will help complete and round out my resume to include more soft skills. An important part of office work is communication. Email, letters, one-on-ones, presentations, and phone calls are all essential to a successful business or government office.

It was a long time ago that I first learned the word constituent. I learned this word while I was still working for Ann Kirkpatrick’s Campaign for Congress. Constituent refers to someone in the jurisdiction of an elected official that represents that district of voters.

January 15th – January 28th (25.3 hours) –  On the 23rd, I was able to attend another Mayor and Council meeting. I’m starting to understand the vernacular used, the processes, etc. During this particular meeting, especially during the state legislative overview, I understood what was going on. The bills, names of Senators and Representatives -I was able to keep up. It felt amazing to be able to do that. I am now keeping track of the legislature for the council member, keeping tabs on bills and other nuances of the legislature.

A bill is a legal document which amends, repeals, or adds to the Arizona Revised Statues, or Arizona Constitution. Bills are the method of which that progress is made. I ‘learned’ this while talking about the various legislative events occuring, with the council member.

January 29th – February 11th () –

February 12th – February 25th () –

February 26th – March 11th () – 

March 12th – March 25th () – 

March 26th – April 8th () – 

April 9th – April 22nd () – 

July 20th – August 13th (38.38 hours) – Recently, while canvassing for Ann Kirkpatrick, I met an individual who informed me that he was not planning on voting in the Primary election. He stated that he would only vote in Presidential elections. This news concerned me, as the Primary election is as important, if not more important as the General and Presidential elections. The Primary election determines what kind of candidates continue to the General election, and if only the extremists on either side of the aisle vote, then we will have terrible, partisan, and divisive candidates when the General election rolls around. I tried to explain all of this to this individual, but he closed the door on me (literally). This was highly frustrating for me, but led me to realize that this is exactly the sorts of experiences I need right now in life. These experiences are what will help me shape the platform for my own political ventures, and these experiences and stories are invaluable in that regard.

I want to learn more soft skills, the people skills if you will. I need to continue to hone my communication-related soft skills I hope to ever run for public office. Between Mrs. Wahl/Polivchak and I, I hope I will be able to increase my ability to send comprehensive and detailed emails without the massive paragraphs. Between my (current) mentor and I, I hope to learn how to remember faces and names better. This is a vital skill I will need in my future, and it all starts now. When I run for office, I want to be that kind of candidate, the super try hard, people person kind of candidate, that everyone has heard of.

I have learned how to balance my calendar, as a professional. My calendar of events is absolutely insane, and I love it. But if I didn’t do a good job of maintaining my calendar then I would have many scheduling issues and my life would become very stressful. I know. My life used to be like that. As a student, I have learned how I find time for homework in between the meetings, internships, work, forums, and a whole host of other events. Surprisingly, I am actually maintaining the work load very well!

August 14th – August 27th (21.45 hours) – During my hours the last couple weeks, I have been starting to realize that maintaining these hours for a physically intensive internship is difficult. Actually, since halfway through last week, I actually got sick and it made it extremely difficult to maintain my hours and maintain my other responsibilities. Honestly, when I get sick, it usually drains my energy levels to a point that motivation to do anything is very difficult. This scares me. I thrive on accomplishing tasks, creating events, and networking; I can’t do that if I am sick and barely able to think, move, or function at the same level I was previously. Not being able to do the things I love, is truly and utterly horrifying to me. I will be taking a lesson from this, making sure that I a) do not overcommit myself, b) take plenty of Vitamin C pills, and c) work as hard as I can to build stable enough business relations with others to ensure that if I get sick it is not the end of the world.

August 28th – September 10th (28.64 hours) – The last week at the Metropolitan Education Commission has been the best week of any internship I have had so far. Hands down. The environment is warm and welcoming, the staff are incredible, and perhaps most importantly: they already know what I am capable of doing, so I am able to just jump in and start on projects. Until October 9th, my internship project will be to collaborate with Karla Avalos, Senior Aide to the Mayor, Mi Familia Vota, March For Our Lives, the League of Women Voter’s, and Metropolitan Education Commission to conduct Voter Registration (VR) drives all over the Tucson – Pima County area. This specific project just feels incredibly special to me, because it is the first major project of my life, with many more to come! I am incredibly excited for this project, and especially the first week of Fall Break! Most schools are still in session then, which means for that entire week I will be working so much on this project, as well as recruiting for the Youth Advisory Council.

At the Metropolitan Education Commission, it seems like the conduct is pretty simple: just work as much as you can, but don’t overwork yourself. Personality wise, there are only 4 full-time staff members, and 2 other part-time interns other than myself. This means that the entire group, the entire organization, feels very close to each other. The environment and atmosphere really reflect this aspect of the MEC. We all joke around, work together, feeling free to ask another for help, eating together, etc. In fact, yesterday (Thursday the 6th) when I arrived everyone was having a potluck in the conference room! So to kind of reiterate and rephrase my previous statement: work hard, then play hard. The times that I have spent with my coworkers has been phenomenal, both during “work” time and “play” time.

This is a natural fit! Granted, I have worked in a couple of professional environments. However, more often than not my problem is getting loose around people! Luckily I am having much luck in that regard, and I am more an extrovert than I used to be. I can loosen up enough to joke around and have a good time in the work place. That is an aspect which I have known for a while that I need to work on. This stemmed from my job at El Coronado, where I acted “professional” but primarily because I never got a chance to really talk to someone because I was so focused on (then) washing dishes. I am happy to say that I have made enough progress in “loosen up” in my professional work.

I didn’t learn a new vocabulary word during any of my internships so far, but instead I’ll talk about how I learned all the work that a City Commission needs to do! So every time that there is a meeting, executive or otherwise, and there is at least a quorum present, the agenda and minutes are required on very strict time limits. The agenda must be given to the City and County I believe 5 days before the meeting. The unapproved minutes must be posted within 48 hours, and the approved minutes very soon after that.

September 11th – September 24th (34.7 hours) – The 7th Annual Youth and Peace Conference was one of the most exciting, new, and invigorating experiences I have had in recent memory. I have been working on it for a few months as a representative of the Metropolitan Education Commission and Youth Advisory Council, and this last Friday all the hard work finally came to fruition. I MC’d several parts of the conference, and it taught me so much about organizing, management, and collaboration. In addition to this, because of my efforts in voter registration at both Empire and Cienega, I am giving a speech during the Mayor’s press conference tomorrow!! Being invited to give speeches at events has been a goal of mine for the next year that I wasn’t anticipating being done for several more months -but fortunately it’s already happening! All in all, the last two weeks have been some of the most stressful but most successful days of my life so far.

A bond is a special type of proposition (in Vail it is Proposition 468) which slightly increases taxes in order to pay for capital expenses in public education. Capital expenses are things like buses and new school facilities. Overrides are a different method of supplying monies to public education, but instead go towards paying for teacher pay.

September 25th – October 8th (67.47 hours) – After a presentation of my confidential project to the Vice Mayor, I was tasked with a new assignment that will likely last the rest of my time there. Strategizing, organizing, and executing a change in public perception and policy about prisoners reentering society. The tasks that I have are honestly quite exciting, and I am extremely eager and ready to get into it. In addition, I was one of three Youth Advisory Council members that gave a speech during the Mayor’s press conference on National Voter Registration Day about the importance of voter registration. As my first foray into the public realm, I was really nervous leading up to it. Afterwards, however, it left me craving to do more; it’s cyclical, constantly spiraling in connections and organizations, constantly finding similarities in my work, and so on. I think that these internships are truly providing me with the most accessible and best possible future in politics.

Email is the most used method of communication within my internship sites. Email is used by the City and County, and as a commission of the City the Metropolitan Education Commission and as an intern for Tucson Ward 5 I am constantly using email. This method of communication is the most effective for a few reasons. First, there are typically attachments and large attachments sent through email which would not be able to be sent through text, in person, etc. Second, email creates a chronicle of conversations, meaning that it is extremely accessible to view previous conversations and find previous documents. Lastly, third, email is easy to use, attach documents, CC others, and other nifty functions that allow for the most efficient use of time to communicate with others.

I am extremely comfortable using email, and using email to communicate with my internship sites. I have a process for sending emails: first, I have to know what I am talking about specifically -I must avoid having too many topics in one single email. Second, I write out the email as a draft. Third, I revise any mistakes I see or separate out ideas and other formatting. Fourth, after a few days with no response I will follow up with a phone call in order to make sure that my email is read and to get a response. I don’t necessarily initiate communication as soon as I have a thought, but I am in frequent communication with my internship sites.

I learned the term municipal ID when I was receiving my next assignment from the Vice Mayor, Councilmember Fimbres. A municipal ID refers to having a local level identification card, instead of using a State issued card. A municipal ID has the target and goal to be used specifically by those reentering into society, to give them another form of ID other than a felon card.

October 9th – October 22nd (25.85 hours) – Today, I will officially start on City of Tucson payroll as a paid intern at the Ward 5! I am extremely grateful and excited for this brand new opportunity. This will allow me to get even more hours (20 a week), get paid above minimum wage, and I’ll get a badge and city email! I will now be able to focus more on my true work, organizing events and getting involved in local government. It was sad to leave my internship at the Metropolitan Education Commission, but I am grateful for the experiences I have had there. Ward 5 will offer me new opportunities that I am eager to get started with.

Reentry. This refers to ex-convicts reentering into society immediately after leaving the prison system. I learned the term ‘reentry’ during a criminal justice system town hall. Reentry also supports my main Ward 5 project, which is a project aimed at assisting reentry’s.

October 23rd – November 5th (9.76 hours) – These two weeks were a whirlwind. Literally everything happened at once, and my time management was completely shot as I struggled to maintain all of my responsibilities, with several being dropped all together. On the 22nd, I spent most of the work day getting my paperwork signed and documented with the City Clerk’s Office to become a paid intern for Ward 5. Since then, I am no longer working at El Coronado as a dishwasher and cook. This has been a Godsend for this time as Mock Trial, Elections, and school all ramped up even more than I was anticipating. I have fully caught up with all of my responsibilities again, however, and I am working full steam ahead.

I initiated communication with the City of Richmond, CA about two months ago. I emailed and followed up with phone calls. I was in communication with them because of my project in creating a municipal ID program in Tucson, and I am using the City of Richmond as a template and success story. There were two specific times that I communicated with their office, the first was in search of documents relating to the creation and ‘set up’ of the municipal ID program in Richmond. The second time I communicated with the office was to find any data or other metrics determining the success of the Richmond municipal ID. In addition, I was also looking for user demographics, total user population, and other general user information.

Somewhat frequently, I talk with some of my coworkers about how our day is going, plans for the holidays, and so on. One specific time was talking to Mary Kuchar, the Executive Assistant at the Ward 5 Council Office, about Thanksgiving plans. I was pretty comfortable with this interaction, as I’ve been at Ward 5 for a few months now. In addition, I have been talking with Mary most days that I come in and she is at her desk. The Council Office is fairly open, so she and another coworker are in the same open area as I am. I regularly interact with all of my coworkers however, from my Mentor (Lupita), Mark Kerr (Chief of Staff), and Councilmember (Richard Fimbres).

Provisional ballot. A provisional ballot in Arizona is essentially a ballot that allows you to vote, regardless of proper ID or voter registration. The ballot is manually checked to match a voter registration. I learned this shortly before working at the polls, from Mary.

November 6th – November 19th (20.3 hours) – In the last four weeks, I really screwed up. As this year has progressed, I have constantly and consistently grown more involved in a variety of organizations, causes, and campaigns, offering time and money to them. Most of these culminated with the midterm election, and my lack of ability to say “no” to more commitments really got me in trouble late October and early November. I feel incredibly stupid for these blunders, and I will definitely be staying away from joining any new organizations or forming new commitments until the end of the school year at least. While I was enjoying what I was doing, I wasn’t able to give each commitment ‘my all’, so to speak. Slowly, little details (and eventually big details) started slipping through the cracks, and eventually pouring through the cracks. The past four weeks have been a learning experience which I am glad is over, and I will continue to grow from it in learning to simply say “no”.

As you know, I have bounced internships around a few times before settling on the Ward 5 Council Office. In each case, for the most part, I made a schedule and I stuck with that schedule. I believe that each employer would say for the most part, I did. I gave notice ahead of time that I would run late or be unable to come in on my scheduled day. Once again however, the past few weeks have been brutal on my schedule. I have missed 7 days of school in the last four weeks, and most of those were trips that went past my scheduled time, or a couple of times up to midnight. A lack of planning on my part led to this craziness, where I would sign up for field trips and not realize I already had two or three that week.

I did not manage my time nearly as well as I would have liked. I still maintained the status quo with my internship. I was barely able to keep up with my extra curricular in and out of school. I was unable to keep up with my homework at all, however. All of my time was spent organizing, researching, drafting bills, going to events, and so on because that was the responsibilities that I had committed to. That was most definitely a mistake. I have already begun work on furthering my time management, by focusing on three specific organizations instead of 8. My internship with the Ward 5 Council Office, the Metropolitan Education Commission and Youth Advisory Council, and March For Our Lives Arizona are the main three that I will focus on.

Bravo Camp. Bravo Camp is in reference to a homeless camp in the northern part of Ward 5. It is predominantly homeless veterans. It is being shut down due to vigilantism going on in the area, and there has been a media frenzy at the office because of it.