Leadership Academy – Week 2 (Kat Alvarado)
This was my first week at Assemblymember Chris Holden’s Office and it was very exciting! This week has been full of new opportunities, such as press releases, meetings with organizations, inputting constituent comments, and brainstorming outreach and social media campaigns for the Assemblymember. With the help of the immensely supportive staff at the District Office, I have learned a great deal about the inner workings of an elected official’s district office.
Within the first ten minutes of my first day on the job, I was tasked with creating my very first press release. I had to write about how Assemblymember Holden will be honoring Shoes That Fit as this year’s 41st Assembly District “Nonprofit of the Year.” Shoes That Fit is an organization based in Claremont, CA with a humble mission to provide athletic shoes to students in need. I was very excited to not only learn about such a wonderful organization, but to also contribute to the process in which my district (being a resident of Pasadena, CA) will honor them. I was so ecstatic when I received my feedback about the press release I had drafted for Garo, the district office’s Press Secretary. He made a few thoughtful adjustments, but I was excited to see the printed final copy exhibited most of my wording. I was so happy to exhibit my writing and media skills on my first day, and to have it on display so quickly. I am happy to say that I have done a handful of media work since then and I am looking forward to more.
The next day, I was fortunate to be tasked with another great assignment. Every year, Assemblymember Holden hosts the Annual Block Party and Community Resource Fair. I was forwarded the draft flyer and noticed that they were encouraging attendants to use public transportation, walk, or bike. This prompted me to ask a few questions about the Block Party, including where I could park my bike. They truthfully answered that there was not much bike parking available in the lot and that they have mostly seen people just attach their bikes to street signs nearby.
I meekly suggested that the team may be interested in exploring temporary bike parking options. It was only my second day and I was nervous about making an assertion without even knowing anything about the Block Party’s budget or what temporary bike parking may even look like. I just thought about my neighborhood, which is about two blocks away from the Block Party site, and the number of bikers I see – including myself – regularly riding through the streets.
Garo, to my delight, thought it was such a wonderful idea that he put me in contact with the Bike San Gabriel Valley organization. Together, we called someone at Bike SGV and spoke at length about how great it would be to have a bike parking option at this year’s Block Party. They also agreed that it would be a wonderful opportunity to promote green transportation, and suggested we look into one of their services called “bike valet.” They mentioned how they have offered successful bike valet for large events in the past, and would be very interested in helping out for Assemblymember Holden’s event.
My idea, along with the plans to partner with Bike SGV, was very well-received at the staff meeting the following day. The staff believed that Assemblymember Holden would be so excited to see such a unique service that promotes health and well-being for the community and environment. Since then, one of my many responsibilities in the office include organizing and following up with establishing a deal with Bike SGV to volunteer their bike valet service to this community event. This process is still ongoing, but I am hopeful that these plans can come to fruition.
While those two assignments were my favorites of the week, I am happy to say that every task in between has been valuable, informative, and exciting in their own ways. Whether I am logging the concerns from my 41st District community or creating draft letters asking for the support of AB 17, which provides free or low-cost public transportation options to budget-conscious students, I learn more and more about the tremendous work my elected Assemblymember does for the betterment of our district. It has been such a wonderful and humbling experience thus far, and I am excited to work more and learn more.