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Career Story: District Representative

Fernando, a District Representative, explains how his role in local government encompasses outreach, administration, and staffing. Find out how he handles his budget on the go.

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My name is
Fernando Morales, I'm 27,
FERNANDO, 27
DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE, CA STATE SENATOR BEN ALLEN

and I'm a representative

for State Senator
Ben Allen's office.

My main responsibilities,

I would say that the first one
would be outreach,

and that's about 60%
FERNANDO’S REPSONSIBILITIES:

of my responsibilities
in the office.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH

And that's going
to community meetings,
ATTEND COMMUNITY EVENTS

whether it's a chamber meeting

or a neighborhood council

or a homeowner's association.

Hearing what the issues are there,

whether it's
homelessness in Hollywood

or transportation
in the mid-city area.
LISTEN TO CONSTITUTEN ISSUES

And really getting to have my hand

to the pulse of the community

so that I can
communicate that to the senator.

A lot of the times, that involves

speaking on his behalf
SPEAK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR

when he is in Sacramento
for the legislative session.

So, I get to be his proxy
in many ways,

which is exciting and a little--

It drives a little anxiety
when I have to public speak,

but I do enjoy doing
that part of my job.

Another 30% of my
responsibilities in the office,

I would say, are mostly
administrative or clerical.

Whether it's planning

or setting up
logistics for events,

producing letters or certificates
for community members,
ADMINISTRATIVE/CLERICAL WORK
PLAN AND SET UP EVENTS
CREATE OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS

whether it's a graduation,

Eagle Scouts,
or whatever it may be.

Making sure that I can complete
that for those constituents.

The last 10% is
staffing the senator,

which means attending with him
to different community events.
STAFFING THE SENATOR

Letting him know
PREP THE SENATOR FOR EVENTS

which community members
have the questions

and the concerns.

And making sure that
he can address them

and go to them to get to,
you know,

have some one-on-one
time and hear them out.

No one day is the same at my job,

and I tend to enjoy that.

Back when I was younger,

I had this fantasy
of having this job

in which I went to sleep
in a different place

than where I woke up,

it was just constantly moving.

Little did I realize I could
do that in the same place,

it's just every
minute of the day,

and every different
day is different

regarding which event
I could attend.

The communities that I represent
are so diverse,

that there's just
such a wide array

of issues and conversations.

So I could be, at night,

at a gala for a non-profit,

or, you know, I could be
at a neighborhood council meeting

talking about planning
and some of the issues

that the constituents
have been encountering there.

So, there's a very wide range,

and a lot of the times,
it leaks into nights

and very early
mornings, sometimes,

weekends, but I mean,
it's all different,

so at least it
never gets boring.

District representatives,
on average,

make about anywhere from

35,000 dollars to 50,000,
55,000 dollars.

In my particular case,

I had some experience
beforehand in public relations,

and I've been in this similar
position for about three years.

One year of that
in the State Assembly.

So, my current salary is
about 43,000 dollars or so.

Whenever I was told I had the job,

I was asked what salary
I was expecting

or what I would need,

and I actually significantly
undershot them,

just from being
paid hourly before.

I said, “Look, I'll take 30,000.”

And then, you know,
they laughed for a second

and said, “Oh no,
we were gonna give you 35.

We just thought you were
gonna go higher.”

So, if I had been
a little savvier,

I'm sure I could have
started up a little higher.

My job comes with great benefits

when it comes to healthcare,

dental, and vision,

and, you know, it's not
the most competitive pay.

So I think that is something

that needs to be taken
into consideration as well.

Other than the benefits,

there are some perks to the job,

and the perks would include

having access to certain
people that know,

and they're the specialists
of whatever field they're in.

You know, I could talk
to a professor at UCLA

who's been doing

groundbreaking research
on neurobiology.

I could talk to a CEO
of a tech company

in the Silicon Beach
community that's growing.

At some point, I could talk to
the Secretary of California,

Secretary of the State
Alex Padilla, and I have.

And it's really exciting to be able
to hear directly from people

that are affecting that change
in whatever it may be.

My name is
Fernando Morales, I'm 27,
FERNANDO, 27
DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE, CA STATE SENATOR BEN ALLEN

and I'm a representative

for State Senator
Ben Allen's office.

My main responsibilities,

I would say that the first one
would be outreach,

and that's about 60%
FERNANDO’S REPSONSIBILITIES:

of my responsibilities
in the office.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH

And that's going
to community meetings,
ATTEND COMMUNITY EVENTS

whether it's a chamber meeting

or a neighborhood council

or a homeowner's association.

Hearing what the issues are there,

whether it's
homelessness in Hollywood

or transportation
in the mid-city area.
LISTEN TO CONSTITUTEN ISSUES

And really getting to have my hand

to the pulse of the community

so that I can
communicate that to the senator.

A lot of the times, that involves

speaking on his behalf
SPEAK ON BEHALF OF SENATOR

when he is in Sacramento
for the legislative session.

So, I get to be his proxy
in many ways,

which is exciting and a little--

It drives a little anxiety
when I have to public speak,

but I do enjoy doing
that part of my job.

Another 30% of my
responsibilities in the office,

I would say, are mostly
administrative or clerical.

Whether it's planning

or setting up
logistics for events,

producing letters or certificates
for community members,
ADMINISTRATIVE/CLERICAL WORK
PLAN AND SET UP EVENTS
CREATE OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS

whether it's a graduation,

Eagle Scouts,
or whatever it may be.

Making sure that I can complete
that for those constituents.

The last 10% is
staffing the senator,

which means attending with him
to different community events.
STAFFING THE SENATOR

Letting him know
PREP THE SENATOR FOR EVENTS

which community members
have the questions

and the concerns.

And making sure that
he can address them

and go to them to get to,
you know,

have some one-on-one
time and hear them out.

No one day is the same at my job,

and I tend to enjoy that.

Back when I was younger,

I had this fantasy
of having this job

in which I went to sleep
in a different place

than where I woke up,

it was just constantly moving.

Little did I realize I could
do that in the same place,

it's just every
minute of the day,

and every different
day is different

regarding which event
I could attend.

The communities that I represent
are so diverse,

that there's just
such a wide array

of issues and conversations.

So I could be, at night,

at a gala for a non-profit,

or, you know, I could be
at a neighborhood council meeting

talking about planning
and some of the issues

that the constituents
have been encountering there.

So, there's a very wide range,

and a lot of the times,
it leaks into nights

and very early
mornings, sometimes,

weekends, but I mean,
it's all different,

so at least it
never gets boring.

District representatives,
on average,

make about anywhere from

35,000 dollars to 50,000,
55,000 dollars.

In my particular case,

I had some experience
beforehand in public relations,

and I've been in this similar
position for about three years.

One year of that
in the State Assembly.

So, my current salary is
about 43,000 dollars or so.

Whenever I was told I had the job,

I was asked what salary
I was expecting

or what I would need,

and I actually significantly
undershot them,

just from being
paid hourly before.

I said, “Look, I'll take 30,000.”

And then, you know,
they laughed for a second

and said, “Oh no,
we were gonna give you 35.

We just thought you were
gonna go higher.”

So, if I had been
a little savvier,

I'm sure I could have
started up a little higher.

My job comes with great benefits

when it comes to healthcare,

dental, and vision,

and, you know, it's not
the most competitive pay.

So I think that is something

that needs to be taken
into consideration as well.

Other than the benefits,

there are some perks to the job,

and the perks would include

having access to certain
people that know,

and they're the specialists
of whatever field they're in.

You know, I could talk
to a professor at UCLA

who's been doing

groundbreaking research
on neurobiology.

I could talk to a CEO
of a tech company

in the Silicon Beach
community that's growing.

At some point, I could talk to
the Secretary of California,

Secretary of the State
Alex Padilla, and I have.

And it's really exciting to be able
to hear directly from people

that are affecting that change
in whatever it may be.