50 Most Beautiful People for 2011: Page 35 of 50

50 Most Beautiful People for 2011



Age: 27
Hometown: Williamston, N.C.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: “In a serious relationship, and happily so.”

Lee Lilley’s career as a legislative director for Rep. G.K. ButterfieldG.K. ButterfieldBlack lawmakers say Confederate statues should come out of Capitol Federal judges order new North Carolina district lines Dems push back against anti-Pelosi insurgents MORE (D-N.C.) isn’t just about policy. It’s also personal.

A great part about his job, Lilley says, is that he gets to go home a lot. And for Lilley, home is Williamston, N.C., which happens to be in the district his boss represents.

Tall, confident and composed, with blond hair and clear blue eyes, Lilley says his hometown roots mean he has a more personal connection to constituents who walk through the Rayburn office door. And because Williamston has a population of only about 6,000 people, there usually aren’t too many degrees of separation.

At first he jokes that the happy hours are his favorite part of his job. But on a more serious note, he says diving into the policy process is the best part.

“For people who are interested in efficiency, they’ve come to the wrong place,” he says of Washington. “But I think the melding of pretty different ideas into something that can actually become law is actually kind of amazing.”

“When I first started,” Lilley says, “I was just blown away that people in their 20s are allowed to make these decisions. We probably don’t have any business making these decisions. I thought I’d be answering the phones for, like, six years.”

In his free time, Lilley enjoys travel — most recently to Turkey, with a hopeful eye on Southeast Asia — and basketball, getting in at least two pickup games per week to help him stay active and manage stress.

Despite encouragement to brag a little, Lilley downplays any notion that he’s made The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People list because of “anything special.”

“I think that I smile a lot, and people react very well to people who look friendly, act friendly and are open to engagement,” he says. “I just happen to be friendly, and I try to show it to people. And that works.”

—Cristina Marcos