For many, the idea of Congress brings to mind bustling halls of full-time staffers providing support for elected officials who have dedicated their life to public service. While that might reflect government on the federal level, state governments are often significantly different.
The passion, intensity, and dedication to service certainly exists. But for many states, legislative sessions can be much shorter, with elected officials splitting time between their statehouse duties while continuing full-time jobs throughout the year. Perhaps due to that limited time in legislative session, some states do not have full staff for each representative.
In one such state, Utah, the smaller staff made delivering consistent communications to constituents challenging. Unlike other states where rank and file members might have their own dedicated communications staff, the Utah House of Representatives has a small team to create communications for 61 members of the majority caucus.
When Paige Bridges took on the role of Communications Coordinator in 2021, she found that a hodge-podge of different communications tools were being used to create and deliver communications addressed from specific legislators. The logistics alone created issues.
“Logging into several people’s separate MailChimp accounts isn’t ideal,” she laughed. “I’d try to log in and ask a representative ‘Did you get a code on your phone?’ When they didn’t respond for hours, I’d have to tell them the code was expired and ask if I could send them another one. It was a real pain.”
The challenges made encouraging email communications from legislators more difficult, she added.
“We just want to support our members the best we can,” Bridges said. “And we want them to feel like staff is helping them, and that they have resources.”