Thirty years ago I spent my final full semester in college serving as a legislative intern at the Unicameral. It was a pretty cool way to spend a semester. I earned college credit and earned enough money to live on for the semester which was a bonus.
As interns, we went on excursions to a lobbyist's office and we also visited the prison. If memory serves me correctly we had a couple of interns who were criminal justice majors so that is why we went there. That was a rather sobering experience.
I observed at the state level of politics to be effective you have to have money and know the right people or you have to be wickedly intelligent and don't give a hoot what anyone else thinks. That seems to be fairly accurate even today.
I also learned the Capitol building itself has an elegance and stateliness to it. I would walk the halls and marvel at the building and the artfulness of its architecture.
If you watch any of the news reports from the session, the Legislative Chamber looks pretty much like it did back in 1984. The one thing that is missing from those floor shots are the legislative bill books on the senator's desks and offices. I can only surmise computers are extremely useful tools in the legislative arena these days and would be much handier to have versus those large bill books.
One senator that made an impression on me still serves his district. That is Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha. Despite the hiatus because of term limits, he is serving his constituents again. I will qualify I don't agree with him much of the time but I respect his intellect and determination. However, despite his reputation for being intimidating, he was interesting, intelligent and respectful when he spoke to our group of interns and the political science class from CSC during the session all those years ago. I also had the sense he enjoyed talking to the groups of students. I believe today he has an institutional memory of the Unicameral that would be tough to match. With term limits now, there won't be anyone that will come close in the coming generations who will earn and have that wealth of knowledge or experience.
While a lot of water has gone under the proverbial bridge, that semester three decades ago was useful in finishing my educational goals and was one of the more memorable semesters I had. Plus it gave me a bit to blog about some three decades later.