Legislative staff--the defenders of the institution, the guardians of the legislative process, the backstage stalwarts who keep democracy rolling--seldom get the attention they deserve. Many staff like it that way. But NCSL knows how vital they are to every state legislature. So we've designated the first week of December as LEGISLATIVE STAFF WEEK. We celebrate your contributions, appreciate your hard work and encourage each one of you to get involved in NCSL. We are your organization, too. Enjoy these stories about legislative staff, and look for more on NCSL's website, blog, social media pages, and the Our American States podcast.
NCSL and Legislative Staff: A Winning Team
Raul Burciaga, NCSL's immediate past staff chair, jokes that when he was 3 or 4 years old he dreamed of one day being a legislative staffer. After all, what kid doesn't? Of course, the truth is few adults, let alone children, are even aware there are people working hard behind the scenes to do research, revise codes, create civic education programs, ensure that websites and computer networks run smoothly--or any of the myriad other tasks staffers perform to keep the wheels of state government turning. Chuck Truesdell, fiscal analyst with Kentucky's Legislative Research Commission and current NCSL staff chair, can relate. He quips, "My parents still think I work for the governor."
Burciaga was in law school in his 40s when he asked a fellow student who worked in New Mexico's Legislative Council Service what he actually did. "Well," the friend said, "we draft legislation and staff interim committees."
"Great!" Burciaga responded. Boring! he thought. Little did he know then that he would become that agency's director, a position he still holds today--with more enthusiasm, of course.
As seasoned legislative staffers, these NCSL leaders know the value the organization...