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Politics out of public view

A student’s experience working behind-the-scenes in Mike Pence’s office

Jordan Hall saw the behind-the-scenes action of politics through his summer interning for future vice president Mike Pence. (Photo by Elyse Horb)

Jordan Hall saw the behind-the-scenes action of politics through his summer internship working for future vice president Mike Pence. (Photo by Elyse Horb)

By Brianna Kudisch | Echo

People rarely see the behind-the-scenes work of politics in action, but fortunately for senior Jordan Hall, his internship at Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s office this past summer allowed him a glimpse into the reality of political work.

After applying to the position and interviewing for the spot, Hall was accepted as a summer intern. Although he didn’t interact with Pence a great deal—Pence was frequently out of the office due to campaigning—Hall did see him speak and travel with his team a few times.

His daily work included policy research and occasional constituent work. Since he was an intern officially employed by the state of Indiana, Hall was unable to actively participate in the massive campaign process that took place over this summer.

However, he and his fellow interns were allowed to take calls, enabling them to hear different people’s opinions on the presidential election and, if necessary, direct them to the help they were seeking. Even in these personal interactions, interns weren’t permitted to express their thoughts or opinions in return.

“Sometimes (taking phone calls) was fun; sometimes it was ten seconds of getting chewed out and then getting hung up on, or thirty minutes of getting chewed out, and (in that case) we usually hung up on them,” Hall said.

The phone calls ranged from angry to abnormal. One interesting phone call Hall took involved a couple guys wanting to talk about presidential conspiracies. On the other hand, Hall’s rewards came from successfully helping people and directing their calls to the appropriate people.

One bright spot—and unusual aspect—that stood out to Hall during his experience working in a political office was others’ kindness. Pence’s staff made sure Hall was doing okay; they were good people, according to Hall.

“I expected it to be very fast-paced and everybody in their own world . . . (but) people were very outgoing and took time for me,” Hall said. “I feel that’s not really the person (who) gets portrayed when you think about politics.”

Hall acknowledged the public often sees politicians—and politics in general—as cutthroat and competitive, but he emphasized the importance of looking at politicians in a broader sense: who they are as people.

He highlighted the various aspects that make up people, including who they are, who they surround themselves with and what they’ve done.

“Behind the scenes, people are people,” said Hall. “We don’t often think of them as who they are as a person, but everyone who worked in (Pence’s) office was very likable, very relational, and the times I was around the governor, he was same way and treated everyone with a lot of respect.”

Hall is grateful for the God-given opportunity, through his summer internship, to interact with the future vice president. Looking back on his experience and the outcome of the election, Hall emphasizes how crazy the whole situation is.

“(Being) able to look back and say that I was a member of his staff at such an exciting time is a great blessing,” said Hall. “I had a great opportunity to interact with Governor Pence and his staff behind the scenes a little bit this summer, and it gives me peace to know that someone of his character is leading our country.”

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