Students and alumni from Insper’s program in Public Policy discuss their experience in legislative work
On March 3, Insper’s Center for Public Policy and Administration (CGPP, for its acronym in Portuguese) promoted a chat with students and alumni from its Masters in Public Policy (MPP) and Advanced Program in Public Management (PAGP). They talked about the day-to-day work of a legislative officer.
Three alumni with experience in the field contributed as special guests. They are Claudio Azzi, a student in the third class of the PAGP and head of office to councilor Pedro Duarte (the Novo party, state of Rio de Janeiro); Emilia Marinho, a graduate from the third class of the PAGP and former legislative officer to state congresswoman Marina Helou (the Rede party, state of São Paulo); and Julia Lima, a graduate from the second class of the PAGP and officer to city councilor Eduardo Suplicy (the Brazilian Worker’s Party, City of São Paulo).
Check out the summary with the chat’s highlights:
How to start as a legislative officer?
Emilia Marinho is an economist with a background in designing and implementing public educational policies at the Ceará State Office of Education (SEDUC-CE). She also has served in the Brazilian Council of State Secretaries of Education (CONSED). Emilia Marinho says that she sought to join in the work of legislative officer due to her interest in contributing with a perspective of execution in drafting the laws. Emilia also mentions the selection processes of social and civic organizations such as Legisla Brasil and Vetor Brasil, networking, and even volunteer participation in campaigns as possible ways to enter into the public service.
Julia Lima worked as a civil engineer for seven years. She migrated to the public career when joining the Municipal Office for Human Rights and Citizenship of the City of São Paulo, where she worked for two years. Julia also had a stint at the Government Office of the State of Maranhão’s PPP (Public-Private Partnership) unit. She reports that her previous practical experience working on the coordination of policies for homeless people in São Paulo was a determining factor in her being invited to join a human-rights-focused mandate.
Claudio Azzi is in his first weeks as head of office, after over four years of experience in the third sector. It included working with the National Congress of Brazil on the discussion of Administrative Reform. Claudio says he met councilor Pedro Duarte years ago at public policy discussions in Rio de Janeiro. They had kept in frequent contact at Insper over the PAGP program, which both attended in São Paulo. “More than half of our office was chosen through a selection process. It is something increasingly common for admission to a legislative office.”
Is there room for technical work as a legislative officer amid politics?
For Emilia, there is room for technical contribution. “If you work in an active tenure in line with your purposes and seek to add value to the design of public policies in a technical and evidence-based way, there is a world of opportunities. Examples are the participation in committees and parliamentary fronts, articulating with the executive branch and civil society organizations.”
Julia agrees and recalls that each parliamentarian shapes their office in a different way. Some allocate each officer to specific roles; others count on more generalist officers. “In the office where I work, there are people focused on citizen services. Others are more focused on communications; a more political part is focused on the legislative branch and overseeing the [work of the] executive branch.”
Claudio tells us how the office he works for is being set up. “As our tenure values cutting costs, we use one-third of the available officer positions. We focus on generalist people who work well with research and articulation of volunteers and experts.”
What is more interesting and more challenging about working as a legislative officer?
The three guests point to the potential for a positive impact on people’s lives as one of the greatest benefits of working as a legislative officer.
“Making laws is very interesting. You direct and give a mold for the execution of public policies. When I worked at the executive branch, I wanted to do a number of things, and the laws wouldn’t allow it. So, I arrived at the legislative branch full of desire to do that with popular participation mechanisms. Another interesting thing is to oversee the executive branch. But for that, it is important to understand the public policy to do quality work. I also like to assist citizens because being in contact with people helps us produce good laws,” says Julia.
Claudio points out two great pleasures in working in the legislative branch. They are the potential for things to be improved and the great impact of each measure on people’s lives. Among the challenges, he points out the reduced team, the hard work of articulation, balancing moments with and without political support. Also, there are the limits of the legislative branch’s power that run into that of the executive branch.
Emilia returned to the executive branch after her experience as a legislative officer. She emphasizes that its political aspect is both a challenge and a motivating factor. “For those who aspire to work with public policy, it is essential to leave the superficial view and better understand the political process as legitimate.”
Insper programs are not restricted to the classroom. They continuously aim to offer professional training activities and networking opportunities. “We have a program of Public Policy and Administration activities made up of open events. They aim to foster and qualify the public debate. We also have academic seminars on public policy. They alternate between a literature review on a given subject and an in-depth look at academic papers. Besides, we hold exclusive professional meetings with students and alumni, like this one about the legislative office we just promoted,” says Vinícius Barqueiro. He works at CGPP’s relationship front. “We believe that maintaining a lively network of academic and professional interaction and collaboration with students and alumni from different programs is one of Insper experience’s success factors.”
Discover the Public Policy and Administration courses and programs Insper offers: