By The Hill Staff - 06/13/06 12:00 AM EDT
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) has appointed Kelzie Beebe, 23, as a legislative assistant to handle issues involving homeland security, Social Security, taxes, social services, aging and senior citizens.
Beebe is a Madison, Wis., native and a former legislative assistant to Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.).
She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard in 2004. She said her educational emphasis on liberal arts gave her an advantage in understanding the issues and doing legislative work.
“There’s a fundamental breakdown in politics, where if you don’t understand it people just switch off,” Beebe said. “I have the best of both worlds to be doing science policy.”
She said she likes working on legislation that requires personal contact with constituents in her home district who are directly affected by decisions made in Washington. In one instance, she spoke with with science professors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who were asking for help funding campus laboratories and authorizing new programs.
“I really enjoy working for a member of Congress [who] represents me, my family and friends,” Beebe said. “It’s nice to be a part of the team that’s helping that area.”
In addition to her duties as a legislative assistant, Beebe is quite the world traveler, having visited 33 countries on five different continents.
“I traveled internationally for a month every summer after fifth grade,” Beebe said. “My parents and I would choose [places in] Eastern Europe, Africa or the British Isles and go there for a month.”
During college, Beebe continued her travels and wrote for Let’s Go Publications, a series of travel guides written exclusively by Harvard students. Beebe was an “independent contractor” for Let’s Go, which reimburses students for their plane tickets and provides per diems for food and lodging.
Beebe published five guides for Let’s Go for Third World countries such as Nepal, Namibia and Burma. Her experiences in Namibia and Burma stand out most, she said, recalling them as two of the earth’s poorest.
“[You] go to Namibia and see the remnants of apartheid and its direct correlation to our civil-rights movement,” she said. “[You] see a lot of the behavior mirrored there — the poverty, but also the struggle to better themselves and the entrepreneurship.”
Beebe described the lack of freedom and resources to check e-mail, use a cell phone or even travel in Burma. While that way of life is considered normal for the Burmese, Beebe found it constricting.
“It has given me a unique worldview” and showed what we take for granted, Beebe said.
Rep. English hires new healthcare aide
Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.) of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee has appointed Kelly Lavin as his new healthcare legislative assistant.
Lavin, 26, was a regulatory-policy analyst for the American Osteopathic Association in 2004 and a legislative fellow for healthcare policy under Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) in 2003.
The Baden, Pa., native earned both a bachelor’s degree in health-information management and a health-administration master’s degree in health policy and management from the University of Pittsburgh.
Lavin said doing healthcare-related committee work, in addition to handling campaign-finance reform, labor, education and financial services, is the major difference between this position and her previous jobs on the Hill.
Lavin’s mother, a nurse, sparked her passion for healthcare policy. Throughout high school, Lavin volunteered at hospitals near her hometown. She first majored in pre-med in college but decided she preferred health administration instead.
“I realized I didn’t enjoy the pure clinical aspect of it. I liked the business end,” Lavin said.