Legislative correspondent: congressional ghostwriter

Every day, thousands of people contact their Senators and Representatives to voice their opinions. Every person who contacts their federal legislator should receive a response from the office. Legislative correspondents write those responses. Member offices in both the House and the Senate have legislative correspondents. The job is different in every office.

Every Senate office has a team of legislative correspondents. Each legislative correspondent only writes about a few issues.  They work closely with the legislative staff who write bills for the office. Legislative correspondents are always reading, writing, and learning. Because of this, they gain a lot of hands-on policy experience in a short amount of time.

Senate interns work closely with the legislative correspondents that handle their favorite issues. Interns who work with legislative correspondents should ask for regular feedback on their writing. Legislative correspondents write dozens of unique letters a day. They are happy to share their knowledge and experience with interns. 

House offices only have one legislative correspondent. This person responds to every single constituent who contacts the office. Many legislative correspondents in the House have a legislative portfolio and work on policy issues in addition to writing letters for the office. It is common for offices to combine the legislative correspondent position with the staff assistant position. These people complete the full duties of both positions and usually run the intern program. 

Legislative correspondents write more than anyone in the office. They represent legislators to their most engaged constituents and make sure people feel heard and taken seriously. Legislative correspondents write to constituents about complex policy issues in a way that is easy for them to understand. A person does not need in-depth knowledge about public policy to be a legislative correspondent. They need to be able to write quickly and accurately about topics they may not be familiar with. 

As an intern, you will be asked to help the legislative correspondent write letters to constituents. Do not be afraid to let your background in disability rights and accessibility affect your work. Kindly let staffers know when their writing is ableist or outdated. Take the initiative to make sure everything you write for the public is in plain language and can be easily understood by everyone. Most staffers do not consider accessibility often and are happy to hear your perspective on it. Take this chance to share your knowledge and passion for disability issues with the legislative correspondent in your office.


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