Meet Jakob Hjelmquist
Common Cause NC member
'Knowing your representatives and what they're actually doing in Raleigh is of the utmost importance.'
"My advisor told me about the internship, and upon coming in and talking with Bob, I felt this is a very good place to work," Jakob Hjelmquist says.
A political science major at NC State University, Jakob got an eye-opening look at the legislative process.
"After three years of being in political science classes, I thought I had a grasp of what the political process looked like, and I really didn't," Jakob says of witnessing the legislature up close. "Being in the General Assembly, it was nice to be able to see what the political process really looks like."
In addition to interacting with lawmakers and engaging in research projects, Jakob wrote an op-ed for the News & Record in his hometown of Greensboro. In the piece, he gave a fist-hand account of the passage of a redistricting bill that directly impacted the citizens of his city.
"To have my opinion read by thousands of people and having them tell me that they really enjoyed reading it, that was something amazing," Jakob says. "And it definitely wouldn't have happened unless I had taken the internship with Common Cause."
Getting an inside look at the legislature during his internship gave Jakob a newfound appreciation of the importance that state government has in the lives of North Carolinians.
"In our political science classes, often we talk about Washington, but the truth is, the people in Raleigh affect you most directly," he says. "So getting involved, and being active as far as voting and knowing your representatives and what they're actually doing in Raleigh is of the utmost importance."