What’s it like to work for a state senator?

Are you interested in working for the state government, but not so sure that you want to be an elected official yourself? Are you struggling to identify what other careers in government may exist? Thankfully, Candid Career is full of videos of professionals sharing their experiences in a variety of specialized positions, including jobs that support some of the major elected positions that you are already familiar with, such as senator, mayor, or governor. Let’s take a closer look at the experiences of two women who work for Pennsylvania Senator Vincent Hughes: Tamica Tanksley, who serves as Hughes’ Events Coordinator, and Tiffany Wilson, who works as the Director of Constituent Services. Keep reading to see a summary of their job duties as well as the experiences that led them to hold the positions they have today, and be sure to check out their full Candid Career interviews yourself to hear all the details!


Tamica Tanksley, Events Coordinator for Senator Vincent Hughes

Major duties and skills of an Event Coordinator: As the Events Coordinator for Senator Hughes, some of Tamica’s core responsibilities include event planning, community and public relations, maintaining written and oral correspondence between the office and the community members, and marketing her events. She highlights strong organizational skills, multitasking, and performing under pressure as some of the essential skills required for her work, as well as the ability to go with the flow when it comes to interpersonal interactions or plans not going as expected. She occasionally has some late nights at work on the days surrounding a major event, so the flexibility to sometimes work long hours is important.  

Stepping stones to becoming an Event Coordinator: Tamica majored in Radio, Television and Film in college and has a degree in Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising. Her internship in marketing and government relations at her community college enabled her to grow her skills in carrying out interviews and press releases. She further broadened her professional experiences as a business and community liaison with the Philadelphia Job Corps. While her initial role for Senator Hughes was in community relations, as the demand for events increased, her position transformed into her current role as Event Coordinator. 

Check out Tamica’s full Candid Career video interview here

Tiffany Wilson, Director of Constituent Services for Senator Vincent Hughes

Major duties and skills of a Director of Constituent Services: As the Director of Constituent Services for Senator Hughes, a large portion of Tiffany’s duties involve fielding state-related questions from Hughes’ constituents, or the community members in that district. Some common topics she helps constituents with are state laws, driver’s license and unemployment policies, non-profit organizations, and access to housing and shelters. Her job is to connect community members with the resources and organizations they need. In her video, she highlights the importance of being able to find a short-term “Band-aid” fix to a problem while seeking the larger, long-term solution to that issue. She also mentions the importance of realizing that not every issue has a clear solution, but regardless of the specific issues presented, she is always prepared to provide equitable assistance to people of various backgrounds, and she finds great joy in helping people resolve issues that may seem simple, but in reality make a big difference in those individuals’ lives. 

Stepping stones to becoming a Director of Constituent Services: In college, Tiffany majored in psychology and biology. After realizing she didn’t want to go to medical school, she pursued a master’s degree in public health and gained experience working for non-profit organizations. She became involved in a political fellowship called Center for Progressive Leadership, which supported and enriched her interest in, and understanding of, working for a political office. Some of her focus areas throughout her work experience include working with teen parents, family planning, sex education, and women’s and children’s health. Interestingly, Tiffany mentions that her specific position is not one that she was familiar with as a child, but it perfectly combines her interests of helping the community and connecting them with resources she supports, like non-profits and access to healthcare. Her main advice for getting involved in her field of work is to build a network and connect with a mentor that can help guide you. 

Check out Tiffany’s full Candid Career video interview here


Do either of these jobs pique your interest? Are you curious to discover what other jobs may exist that support the work of an elected official? Explore these and other careers in government by using Candid Career, Focus 2 (Focus 2 instructions can be found here), or the “Explore Career Options” section of the Government, Policy, & Law Career Cluster page. Follow Tiffany’s advice and start building your network, or match yourself with some Binghamton University alumni mentors using Mentor Match. And of course, if you need help using any of these resources, use HireBING to make an appointment with a Fleishman Center career consultant today!

By Erin Hansen
Erin Hansen Career Education and Outreach Specialist