By Debbie Siegelbaum - 06/08/11 11:46 PM EDT
Title: Legislative aide
Hometown: Effort, Pa.
Education: Saint Joseph’s University, Pa.
Last job: Legislative correspondent for Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)
Legislative specialty: Healthcare, education, etc. I also have learned more about Postal Service operations than I ever thought possible.
Favorite bill or law: The 21st Amendment, to repeal Prohibition. Not only was Prohibition an ill-enacted policy that caused more poverty, crime and threats to public safety than all the alcohol in the world could have, but the organized effort to repeal it was made up of a true cross section of the American people. Their commitment to making a change through grassroots action should be inspiring to us all.
Interests outside of work: I have been married a year and a half, so I enjoy spending time with him. We bought a house in Alexandria recently, so we’re enjoying all the domestic activities that come with homeownership. I also like to read, and I am active in my church and our new civic association.
Kelly Ferguson’s father sparked her interest in politics early on when he held public office during her childhood. But both her parents served as role models in how to succeed in adulthood.
“They both always just taught me to strive a little bit harder, don’t take work for granted, be self-sufficient, be independent, just work as hard as you can to achieve your goals,” she said.
Moving away from them and her small hometown of Effort, Pa. — with a population of 2,500 — to Washington after college proved a bit of a challenge, though.
“The first company I worked at, everyone was 22 years old and didn’t really know what they were doing,” she said. “I’m sure we probably had our stumbles along the way, and probably looked like small-town kids quite a few times.”
After working at a lobbying firm doing “anything and everything” and getting “to know a little bit about a lot of things,” including labor and tribal affairs, Ferguson knew it was time for a change.
“I knew I wanted some Capitol Hill experience,” she said. “I hadn’t done so much as an internship. I was lucky to be given an opportunity by Mr. Hal Rogers’s office.”
And working for freshman Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has been another great learning experience for Ferguson.
“We were all brought here together with a new member who had never held elected office before, and the attitude was, ‘OK, 112th Congress, go,’ ” she said. “I think we’ve all improved our skills of improvising, thinking outside the box, going the extra mile. And I think those experiences will serve all of us well, whatever we do next.”
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