Courtesy Christina Mulka, Sen. Dick Durbin
Oak Park resident Charlie Wood will spend 12 weeks this spring as a judicial intern for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), working behind the scenes in the Senator's Capitol Hill office. Each year, close to 50 interns work in Durbin's Washington, D.C., office. As the sole judicial intern, Wood supports the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights by focusing on researching judiciary policy issues, including immigration reform and gun control.
"Forty-five years ago, I started my career on Capitol Hill as a college intern for Senator Paul Douglas (D-IL)," Senator Durbin said. "I will never forget that day in February of 1966 when he agreed to hire me as an intern to work in his office. It was one of the most exciting things I had ever done; a student from East St. Louis, Illinois was going to work in the office of a U.S. Senator. I know what a valuable experience it can be and we strive to make sure all of our students get a glimpse into the workings of the United States Senate."
Wood is in his first year of law school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Pitzer College in Southern California with degrees in biology and sociology. He previously interned for a Hawaii state representative and spent 3 years living abroad. Though Wood was not accepted the first time he applied for an internship in Durbin's office, he was not discouraged. He applied again in the fall of 2013 and his persistence paid off.
"I've always admired Senator Durbin. I believe he is a good politician who operates with a lot of integrity and I'm honored to be able to support his legislative agenda," Wood said. "Issues such as immigration reform are topics I see playing an integral part in my future and I believe this experience will be an important step in the process of determining the direction of my law career."
The internship program is designed to provide interns with experience in the core functions of a Senate office and allow them to gain a better understanding of the federal legislative process. Their responsibilities include assisting full-time staff in responding to various constituent requests, assisting with information inquiries, attending committee and agency hearings and briefings, researching legislative issues and policy questions, observing floor proceedings, and attending meetings related to specific legislation.