Elected representatives are the public face of Congressional politics. They meet with constituents and fellow politicians, give interviews, lobby for legislation and participate in political debates. However, senators and representatives couldn’t do their jobs properly without the work of legislative aides.
Legislative aides are the gears that keep the political machine running properly. Many individuals who are interested in a political career get their start as legislative aides. Some are “lifers” who become part of the core staff that works with one particular elected official, even as he or she moves from office to office. Alternatively, some aides may work for multiple elected officials over the course of a long career.
Overview of the Job
The primary job responsibility of a legislative aide is to provide support services to the elected official. All elected officials serve their constituents. Aides may take phone calls from constituents wishing to voice their opinion on an issue. Sometimes, aides must think creatively to solve a problem for a constituent.
Another major part of the job is to perform research for the elected official, including legal research. Legislative aides must understand the issues that affect the constituency and the general opinions of the constituency. Aides prepare reports that keep the elected official informed on all relevant and recent matters. These reports can significantly influence governmental policies, decision-making and the preparedness of the official.
A Day in the Life of a Legislative Aide
Legislative aides perform a wide range of activities during a typical workday. These may include the following:
- Coordinate and attend meetings
- Assist with the drafting of speeches, press releases and legislation
- Conduct and summarize legal research, research studies and constituent surveys
- Speak with constituents and solve problems, often by directing them to appropriate governmental resources or providing information
Legislative aides who remain on the job for several years may become invaluable advisors to their elected officials. They may also be entrusted with delicate and sensitive matters, such as drafting legislation.
Both state and federal legislators hire political aides. Legislative aides perform most of their work in an office setting, and they may sometimes need to shuffle paperwork or liaise between offices. If an elected official is speaking or meeting with constituents, that official may need his or her aides to travel to the venue to provide support services. Sometimes, political aides may need to work overtime during a high-demand period, such as when the development of a budget is approaching a deadline. Prospective legislative aides must be comfortable with a degree of uncertainty. If the elected official leaves office, the aides may or may not be hired by the incoming official.
A position as a legislative aide is one of many careers you may consider pursuing after graduating from Grand Canyon University. Our Bachelor of Arts in Government with an Emphasis in Legal Studies program offers an interdisciplinary approach that involves government studies, international relations, communication, philosophy and business. To learn more about the programs offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, visit our website or click the Request More Information button at the top of this page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.