Normal, Illinois, Student Interns in Durbin's Washington, D.C. Office

WASHINGTON – Normal, Illinois, native Chandler Huffman spent this fall interning for U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), working behind the scenes in the Senator’s Capitol Hill office as an intern. 

“I started my career on Capitol Hill as a college intern for Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois,” Durbin said. “I will never forget that day in February of 1966 when he agreed to hire me as an intern to work in his office.  As a student from East St. Louis, Illinois, going to work in the office of a U.S. Senator was one of the most exciting things I had ever done.  I know what a valuable experience it can be and we strive to make sure all of our students get a glimpse into the workings of the United States Senate.”

A resident of Normal, Illinois, Chandler is a senior at the University of Illinois where he will graduate this December with a degree in public administration and policy.  Being selected for the Fall 2022 Illinois in Washington program, he had the opportunity to intern for Durbin’s office while attending classes.  Chandler has an associate’s degree from Heartland Community College in Normal, where he served as Vice President of Communication for the Student Government Association and as an ambassador for campus marketing and the political science club.  Last spring, Chandler served as an Employment and Education Intern at Cunningham Township in Urbana, Illinois, assisting in developing and communicating local policies to help low-income clients with employment and educational opportunities.  Chandler has developed an interest in health care policy and hopes to work with local organizations in his hometown to address substance-addiction issues.

“A family trip to Washington, D.C., in 2016 sparked my interest in political science,” Chandler said. “I was inspired by the incredible institutions, people, and history that shaped our nation’s policy agenda.  Sitting in Senator Durbin’s D.C. office and gazing at the Supreme Court across the street is a surreal and wonderful feeling.  Attending meetings, researching climate concerns, and writing memos has been a valuable learning experience, as is speaking to notable political insiders willing to share their expertise.  I am grateful for this internship and the opportunity to be in a political environment where everyone around me wants to make a positive change in this world.

The intern responsibilities include assisting full-time staff in responding to constituent related topics, assisting with information inquiries, attending committee and agency hearings and briefings, researching legislative issues and policy questions, and observing floor proceedings.  During that time, the students gain firsthand knowledge of the legislative process, learn about the inner-workings of the federal government, and develop valuable research skills.