Inside the office of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee majority staff: Samantha Gonzalez

Title: Research assistant, Health subcommittee 

Age: 24

Hometown: Hammond, Ind.

Education: B.A. in political science from Indiana University

Last job: I spent several years during and right after college doing crisis intervention work for a local domestic violence and sexual assault crisis service center.

Legislative specialty: Veterans’ health policy

Favorite bill or law: The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, which became P.L. 111-163. It was the first major piece of legislation I was involved in on the committee, so it represented quite a few “firsts” for me at work. It was a trial by fire that I am glad to have survived and will always have a soft spot for.

Most embarrassing moment on Capitol Hill: There have been many, none of which I care to relive in print.

Interests outside of work: I am naturally curious, so I tend to be interested in everything. I am still new enough to D.C. that I love just wandering the city. I also love a good library, coffee, entertaining, movie watching and anything related to my two dogs. I have also recently fallen hard for the Pacific Northwest.

Samantha Gonzalez got involved in politics as a child. She helped her mother win an election that made her the city’s first female judge.

“I was young, but I remember campaigning, being in parades with her, throwing candy,” says Gonzalez, a research assistant for the Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Health subcommittee.

In college she signed up for the Washington Leadership program, which brought her to the nation’s capital for an internship. She was assigned to the committee that she now works for, and she liked it so much that she rethought her previous plans to go straight to law school after graduation.

“I think I had a unique experience [interning] on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee that’s pretty rare in working on the Hill,” she says. “No matter where you are on the political spectrum, it’s kind of a no-brainer. It’s a win-win for everybody. So I think that was a really good experience. I haven’t really had a lot of the partisan bickering that a lot of people have when they come here.”

Gonzalez is a self-professed dog lover. A few years ago she rescued two pit bull mixes, Maizie and Solomon. They’re still in Indiana, so when she visits her hometown, she says, she spends as much time with them as possible.