A Keystone State Landmark: Up Close and Personal

From the start of my first day of my internship at Bravo Group, I knew I was interested in making myself available to the government relations team. Because of Bravo’s expertise in this area and its close proximity to the Capitol, interns have the ability to work on tasks related to state government.

I eagerly accepted any opportunity to undertake a project from Bravo’s government relations specialist, Margaret Durkin, who works closely with the firm’s healthcare practice clients. Like myself, she graduated with a degree in political science.

My first task at the Capitol was shared with Alexandra Blessing, Bravo’s Harrisburg PR fall intern. It involved walking door-to-door to 253 offices delivering a one-page policy brief to Pennsylvania’s House members and senators before a legislative session began. Then, prior to the general election in November, I helped Margaret review the candidates’ names, district locations and party affiliations for a Bravo Group election report that we sent to clients. In addition to those projects, I independently attended and prepared notes on the annual Pennsylvania Right-To-Know Law and Pennsylvania Sunshine Act training at the State Museum of Pennsylvania.

Interns reflect on Capitol visit with a pro

After winding down from a particularly busy season, all of Bravo’s fall interns had the chance to collectively spend time touring the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg with Margaret. The building itself is a historic masterpiece that has amazed public spectators for over a century. Anyone who enters can recognize its beauty. But, as Margaret guided us through the halls, we interns gained some additional appreciation and esteem for the work completed within its perfectly decorated walls.

Margaret is a smart and even-minded individual who can gracefully maneuver through the maze of the Capitol building with confidence. In her position at Bravo, she regularly attends House and Senate committee meetings and hearings, as well as press events and conferences for state departments and agencies discussing issues related to Bravo’s clients’ interests. It is fun watching her maintain her composure and clear sense of purpose among the hustle and bustle of tourists, rallies and busy legislative sessions.

Alexandra considered herself someone who was not originally interested in politics. By the end of her college career, however, Alexandra said it became apparent to her that public relations agencies need to have a firm grasp on the legislative issues their clients care about.  

I realized how important these topics are, not only because it’s important to stay on top of industry news in the communications field, but because several government-regulated topics will soon impact me greatly when I enter the workforce,” Alexandra said.

“It really wasn’t until I started at Bravo Group that I realized government influences so many other topics — education, healthcare and energy,” Alexandra added. “Throughout this internship I’ve gotten bits and pieces about how Pennsylvania’s government works. Although some of it is still boring to me, it’s still good to know how the House and Senate works, how a bill gets passed and what lobbyists do. Plus I got to spend time admiring the amazing architecture and artwork in the Capitol building.”

Likewise, Noelle Del Grippo, Bravo’s Wayne PR fall intern, found the events of the day to be relevant to her work.

“Touring the capitol in Harrisburg was an awesome experience,” Noelle said. “It was interesting to see where the Senate and House of Representatives convene and work toward new laws and legislation. Also, I better understand how they are organized based on political party and seniority. The building itself was incredible to see, especially the amount of details and designs put into the building, as well as the hints at our history within paintings on the wall.”

For me, the tour felt like a perfect way to wrap-up my involvement in government relations assignments for Bravo Group. It was an excellent reminder of the intricate balance that the firm maintains between politics, public relations, creative work and industry research in order to successfully serve clients.

Giovanna Ortiz | Harrisburg Writing Intern

Image: Shutterstock

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