Lauren Latham graduated from Ball State University’s History Department in December of 2022. Currently undertaking a legislative internship at the Indiana Statehouse, Lauren Latham works the Tamm Capital Group assisting in tracking bills in government. Hoping to attend law school in August 2023, Lauren Latham treasures the experience that the legislative session gave her and how it may help her future career succeed.
How did you obtain this internship?
In Fall 2022, I knew that I would have a “gap semester” between graduation (December 2022) and law school (August 2023). In October, I began looking for internships for Spring 2023. After searching for jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn, I found numerous legislative intern positions at the Indiana Statehouse for the 2023 Indiana General Assembly. While there are many internship opportunities at the statehouse, the Republican, Democrat, and Senate offer internships for college students, I ultimately decided to pursue a position at a government affairs/lobbyist group because I identify as politically independent. The government affairs firm that I initially interviewed with decided that I would be a great candidate for a different firm, Tamm Capital Group. During my interview Tamm Capital’s CEO (Patrick Tamm) shared that he is a Ball State Sociology graduate, and he appreciated my experience researching “Middletown,” as Muncie is sometimes called. Given my experience, the CEO and Director of Government Affairs decided to hire me on the spot!
What is Tamm Capital Group?
Tamm Capital Group is an association management and government affairs (lobbyist) firm that is based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The firm serves a diverse range of clients, including the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association. Each year, Tamm Capital Group works with legislators to ensure that its clients’ needs and interests are being met.
What do you do in this internship?
At the beginning of the Indiana General Assembly Session (January 2023), legislators filed hundreds of bills. Using a website designed for lobbyists, I read through all of the bills and “tracked” bills that our clients would potentially care about. The website allowed me to assign bills to each of our clients’ bill track lists; this process allows us to remain organized, updated, and informed about the status of bills (and therefore issues) that may affect our clients. As our bills are assigned to House and Senate committees, I create Microsoft Outlook calendar invites that I send to my supervisors. This allows our government affairs team to keep track of the bills that receive committee hearings. After each committee hearing, I forward these notes to my supervisors, and they often share this information with our clients.
Essentially, each week I am expected to attend committee meetings at the Indiana Statehouse, attend House and Senate Sessions, and schedule committee meetings. On a typical day, I drive to the statehouse and sit in committee meetings. When our bills are amended, I immediately notify my supervisors so that they can stay informed.
What do you do when you are not in committee meetings?
When I am not in committee meetings, I usually walk around the statehouse and talk to legislators and other lobbyists. Committee meetings are held Monday through Thursday, and on Fridays I attend Zoom calls with our clients and write a weekly legislative update, which is sent out to all of our clients. These legislative updates resemble a brief digest or overview of the bills that were heard and voted on during the week. Once a bill has received a majority of “yes” votes and passes out of a committee, it is sent to the corresponding chamber for second and third reading. Senate bills go to the Senate Chamber and House bills go to the House Chamber. All bills were required to pass third reading by the end of February, and those that did not are now considered “dead.” In the second half of the 2023 Session – March and April – bills will be heard in the opposite chambers. Senate bills will be heard in House committees, and vice versa.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love that each day is different, and I love the networking opportunities. I like to joke that I am collecting business cards like they are Pokémon cards. I have made many connections with legislators, clients, law firms, and other government affairs/lobbyist groups. One day, I might work in the Statehouse, or at one of these large law firms, so this experience has been extremely valuable. I also enjoy learning more about the legislative process. Last week, I had the privilege of meeting Governor Holcomb and witnessing a bill signing. That bill, Senate Bill 2, is now officially an Indiana law. Likewise, our group hosts many social events and dinners for legislators and our clients. I love enjoying great food, talking to legislators, and making connections! I am proud to be a Cardinal, and every day I represent Ball State while working at the Statehouse. I encourage current students to apply to a legislative internship, regardless of major or interest. The experience is both invaluable and unique. Also, I have become friends with many of the interns, and we hang out at the Statehouse and after work!
What are you hoping to do after your internship?
I plan on attending law school in August. So far, I have received admission offers and generous scholarships from IU McKinney, IU Maurer, University of Louisville, and Penn State. I hope to make a final decision by mid-April.
What advice do you have for current students?
Get involved! Form relationships with your classmates, faculty, and join student organizations. While college is fun, it is also a vital time in your life. You can learn so much from engaging with Student Life at Ball State.