Inside the Office of Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.): Michael Ashley

Inside the Office of Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.): Michael Ashley

Title: Legislative correspondent/office manager

Age: 25 

Hometown: Glen Ridge, N.J.

Education: B.A., political science, Hampton University 

Office pet peeve: Bad-smelling lunch

Most embarrassing moment on Capitol Hill: As an intern, my member instructed me to “meet her at the cloakroom” with a package. As I walked toward the chamber and up to the door of the cloakroom, someone exiting held the door for me to enter. Unfamiliar with the protocol of the House floor, I scanned the room and took a seat at an empty chair. Quite satisfied with the amenities, I picked up a [newspaper] and delved into the stories of the day. Not surprisingly, soon after, I was informed that the premises were member-only and I could leave my package with the staff. The scope of my faux pas wasn’t immediately evident to me. Upon returning to my office I learned that I was the first person in my office to “hang” in the cloakroom.

Interests outside of work: My first love is music. I am an avid listener of many genres and have been informally teaching myself guitar for about two years now. I enjoy the artistic nature of D.C.: live shows, many galleries, culinary scene and endless cultural events. I also enjoy traveling, reading and film in my free time.

Michael Ashley knows he’s lucky. He went straight from college to a congressional internship to a full-time job, beating out scores of hopefuls for a spot on Capitol Hill.

“It was about that smooth,” he said of his career trajectory. “I certainly consider myself very fortunate, because it’s a tough job market.”

But while Ashley majored in political science, he never expected to find himself working in Congress.

“I was sure I was going to work at Bear Sterns,” he said. But the week after he applied to the global investment firm, it crashed. So Ashley changed his focus.

“I spent a lot of time studying politics, and after you study politics for a certain amount of time, you can’t ignore the huge influences that not just direct money like contributions and stuff like that [have], but even what’s going on in the markets and business and what the direction of the global economy is — [they have] a huge influence on global politics,” he said.

“At some point I said, ‘Maybe it would be wiser to study these things and be involved in this world,’ ” Ashley said. “I have a passion for understanding how things work, and money’s just a huge part of that.”

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