Massachusetts Legislative Fellows Program
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
The BSCES Legislative Fellows Program is open to any BSCES member who is a US citizen. The BSCES Selection Committee will also evaluate such factors as advanced degrees, registration as a Professional Engineer, involvement in BSCES and ASCE, public policy experience and professional experience. Additionally, applicants and the Selection Committee must also be sensitive to possible conflicts of interest.
APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS AND PROCESS
Inquires for the next Legislative Fellows session are welcome at any time. The position application and application deadline will be posted well before the end of the prior session.
We are now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Legislative Fellow. A copy of the application can be downloaded here. Application submission deadline is October 31, 2014.
REQUIREMENTS: The applicant must be a current BSCES/ASCE member (not an Associate) residing and registered to vote in Massachusetts.
The selection committee will weigh such factors as:
Additionally, a successful applicant should be cognizant of many matters in nonscientific areas, demonstrate sensitivity in political, economic and social issues and have a strong interest in the solution of societal problems. Other characteristics considered during selection are self-starting ability, awareness of one's own biases, and clear oral and written expression. The applicant and the selection committee must also be sensitive to possible conflict of interest concerns.
BSCES will provide an annual stipend of $15,000 to the Legislative Fellow. BSCES welcomes support from the Fellow's employer and is willing to consider alternative arrangements. The Fellow will serve for the legislative year starting in February 2013 and ending in July 2014. In some cases, the Fellow may be able to hold a part-time position with a legislative office, but is to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. BSCES is unable to provide any benefits and encourages BSCES Legislative Fellows to make arrangements with their employers.
BSCES MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATIVE FELLOWS PROGRAM GUIDELINES
Gender, creed, race, ethnic background and political affiliation are expressly excluded as selection criteria for Legislative Fellows.
The Fellowship does not create an employer-employee relationship with either the Commonwealth of Massachusetts government or BSCES. The Legislative Fellow should approach his/her work as if he/she were a staff member of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation, if the Fellow is placed with that Committee, but is available to assist other legislators with projects. The Fellow may be placed with another legislative committee, depending on the legislative leaderships needs for technical advice and research.
The Legislative Fellow is expected to make verbal presentations at several BSCES functions during the Fellowship year.
The Fellowship year is approximately February 2013 to July 31, 2014, the duration of the formal session of the legislature, unless other arrangements are approved by the BSCES Legislative Fellows Committee.
The Legislative Fellow is expected to make periodic written reports to the BSCES Government Affairs Committee suitable for publishing in the BSCESNews or other BSCES forums.
The Legislative Fellow is responsible for all out-of-pocket expenses once he/she begins working in Boston.
The Fellow is subject to Legislative Standards of Conduct and must not engage in any partisan political activities during the term of appointment.
In the event of malfeasance on the part of the Legislative Fellow, as determined by the Legislative Fellows Committee, the Fellowship may be suspended immediately.
After the completion of his/her term, the Legislative Fellow is expected to remain an active BSCES member, especially in Government Relations activities, for a three year period.
In the role, the Legislative Fellow has available all the resources of BSCES/ASCE.
In the event that there is a need for technical guidance beyond the expertise of the Legislative Fellow, the Fellow will seek advice through the BSCES Board of Government Liaison to the Legislative Fellow Committee.
BACKGROUND ON THE ASCE CONGRESSIONAL FELLOWS PROGRAM
The BSCES Legislative Fellows Program is modeled on the very successful Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship Program coordinated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In July 1996, the ASCE Board approved funds for an ASCE Congressional Fellows Program in conjunction with AAAS. AAAS initiated the Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows Program in 1973; seven engineers and scientists spent that year working on Capitol Hill. For the 1997-1998 program year, 35 scientists and engineers worked on Capitol Hill. BSCES Past President David Westerling served as a Congressional Fellow for the 1999-2000 year. The ASCE Program provides an opportunity for an ASCE member to work for one year on the staff of a Congressional Committee, US Senator or member of the US House of Representatives. ASCE joined 22 other engineering and scientific societies that sponsor their own programs at the national level.
A Congressional Fellow takes a one-year appointment as a congressional staffer. Many Fellows participate by taking a leave of absence from their regular jobs. The Fellow becomes directly involved in the process of crafting federal legislation and advising members of Congress. The Fellow benefits by learning how the federal government operates, developing leadership skills, expanding his or her horizons and the opportunity to make an impact. ASCE benefits by having a member with an in-depth knowledge of the Congressional decision making process. After participating in the program for a number of years, ASCE will have a network of members with experience, knowledge and contacts. Most important, Congress and the nation benefit by having the daily participation of a skilled civil engineer with an on-site depth of knowledge that is in short supply among members of Congress and their regular staff.
Since its inception the Congressional Fellows Program has had several objectives. First and foremost was to create a cadre of congressional staffers who understand science and engineering and enhance the capabilities of Congress to deal with those issues. A second objective was to develop a group of scientists and engineers who understand Congress and who return to help the science and engineering community improve its ability to shape public policy. The final objective was to make it easier for the scientific and engineering community to deliver messages to Congress.
DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Each ASCE Congressional Fellow, each BSCES Legislative Fellow, ASCE and BSCES have become more aware of the concerns addressed through the legislative process in establishing and funding programs that contribute to the vitality of the civil engineering profession.
Over 600 Fellows from a variety of national scientific and engineering societies have participated in the program through AAAS since its inception. Almost half are still in Washington serving as congressional staff, administration officials and in other policy positions. These former Fellows form a large part of the engineering, scientific and technical policy core in the nation's Capital. The program's objectives are being met. Relations between Congress and the engineering and scientific community have been greatly enhanced since 1973. The Fellows Program, while not the sole reason for greater access and cooperation, certainly deserves a significant share of the credit.
The ASCE Program is highly valued by members of Congress. Two former Senators have this to say in its support. "We feel that the special expertise brought to our staff by the Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows Program is of immense benefit and that the fellow was able to contribute significantly to the legislative process," states former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Contrary to the myth of unlimited office staff resources and funds, members of Congress often find themselves without adequate, skilled staffers with technical expertise. Congressional Fellows are an important resource in filling that void. "I am convinced that my job had been made easier and more productive through their contribution," affirmed former Senate Science Subcommittee Chairman and former Vice President Al Gore.
Former Fellow James Atkinson described his work as, "An intense, rich experience. Things can't be changed as quickly or dramatically as one might like, but change can be introduced, and once started it seems to propagate and grow. I've been fortunate enough to see this happen with a couple of my own efforts, and it is very satisfying . . . It's also a little frightening."
PAST BSCES LEGISTATIVE FELLOWS
2013-2014: David "Doc" Westerling, PE, PLS
2011-2012 Sudhir Murthy, PE, PTOE
2009-2010 William F. Lyons Jr., PE, Esq.
2007-2008: Michael W. Hurley, PE
2005-2006: Heather Ford
2004: Melvin E. Jones, PE (d. 2007)
2003: Tony Centore, PE
2002: Anatoly Darov, PE, Esq.
2001: David "Doc"Westerling, PE, PLS