What does a Legislative Aide do?

Cassie L. Damewood

A legislative aide assists a legislator in a wide range of duties and tasks. He is often seen as a combination of administrative assistant and personal secretary, as his job typically has no set hours. His services are frequently needed for the greater part of each weekday as well as on many weekends. The aide is normally expected to travel with the legislator as needed.

A legislative aide often juggles many tasks for a legislator.
A legislative aide often juggles many tasks for a legislator.

In the legislator’s local office, the legislative aide is commonly in charge of his boss’ calendar. As the assumed liaison between the legislator and other government branches and officials, he is typically expected to effectively schedule speaking engagements and public appearances as well as appointments, lunches, dinners and travel. If conflicts arise due to last minute issues that demand immediate attention, the aide is normally expected to resolve them to the satisfaction of all involved parties.

Good social and conversational skills are important for an aspiring legislative aide.
Good social and conversational skills are important for an aspiring legislative aide.

It is generally considered imperative for a legislative aide to be well schooled in the legislator’s political views and positions, as he is frequently the first point of contact for constituents and media correspondents. He is commonly required to have exceptional diplomatic skills as well as exercise the utmost discretion in all his job duties. His role frequently requires him to accurately represent the legislator’s philosophies as well as promote a positive public persona of the official.

A legislative aide is expected to keep the legislator’s affairs as organized and on schedule as possible.
A legislative aide is expected to keep the legislator’s affairs as organized and on schedule as possible.

Besides performing general administrative and office tasks, a legislative aide is often expected to provide personal assistance to the legislator. This commonly includes picking up dry cleaning, handling personal correspondence or integrating his superior’s personal and professional schedules. Occasionally the aide may be asked to select and purchase small gifts for the legislator to present to hosts or hostesses of dinners or parties as well.

A legislative aide may be tasked with clerical work such as making copies.
A legislative aide may be tasked with clerical work such as making copies.

Organizational skills are needed to be successful in this position. A legislator’s job often requires major, last-minute adjustments to his schedule and some days are filled with chaos and disarray. A competent legislative aide is commonly expected to create order and keep the legislator’s affairs as organized and on schedule as possible.

There are no formal educational requirements for this position, although most legislative aides have bachelor’s degrees. Since the position normally requires the ability to communicate with a wide range of personalities, good social and conversational skills are highly desirable. Solid administrative support skills are preferred and the ability to quickly grasp new concepts is a plus since many of the duties are perfected through on-the-job training. Job experience in the public sector or as an administrative aide in the public sector is considered a strong asset for applicants.

A legislative aide may use a day planner to keep track of their boss' appointments and meetings.
A legislative aide may use a day planner to keep track of their boss' appointments and meetings.

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