A legislative correspondent is an office staff member for a person holding an important political office. The person in this position deals with all the letters and e-mails sent to the office. Some political offices have more than one legislative correspondent, with each one covering one or more of the areas of interest for the politician.
The duties of a legislative correspondent are to handle all communications from the political office. This person must first read, sort, and log all incoming mail, electronic or written. He must also draft e-mails and written letters in response to all constituent inquires, as well as any communication with other politicians and lobbyists. The person in this position may also compile background research on pending legislation and may help the legislative assistant.
Legislative correspondents may also be responsible for helping to maintain the politician’s website. This may include writing and proofreading the content of the website and responding to any communication that comes in through the website. Some knowledge of how a website is designed and maintained is typically necessary.
When a politician has more than one correspondence staff member in her office, each of the staff members in this position will usually specialize in some area, such as education or the environment, in which that person has experience. The legislative correspondents will be expected to read all current news articles and be intimately familiar with any legislation pending related to their area of expertise. The staff member in charge of correspondence may also be asked to attend committee meetings or legislative sessions pertaining to these areas of expertise. This will better enable the correspondent staff member to draft responses about the politician’s views in a particular area.
The requirements for holding a legislative correspondent’s position are fairly flexible. Many people in this position hold a degree in political science or English or both. In some cases, a degree in a field that is of particular interest to the politician, such as environmental science, coupled with strong writing skills or a second major or minor in English would qualify one to hold a legislative correspondent’s position.
Working as a legislative correspondent will expose people who want to work in the world of politics to the inner workings of a political office, provide them an intimate view of the legislative process, and help them develop skills for dealing with constituents, lobbyists, and other politicians. People holding this position can move on to work as a legislative assistant, help run a political campaign, or work for a lobbyist. This position will help to further develop strong writing and communication skills.