Survey: Rachel Magnuson

Age: 31
Hometown: Conestoga, Pa.
Marital status/children: Married with one daughter, Abigail, 2 and a half years old
Last job: Communications director for Schwartz
First job: Babysitter
Most unusual job: “Fairly standard jobs — babysitter, waitress, hostess and a variety of communications jobs prior to working on Capitol Hill.”
Most embarrassing moment: “[During] week one of working for then-congressional candidate Schwartz, I made numerous wrong turns to pick her up for a media event, resulting in picking her up nearly an hour late. Luckily for me, she had a wonderful sense of humor about it, and here I am, now five years later.”
Management style: “A surprise bonus vacation day now and then is key to a happy staff.”
Number of cups of coffee you drink per day: “Normally four or more, but I am expecting kiddo No. 2, so down, sadly, to half a cup a day.”
Religion: Christian
Favorite political TV show or movie: “The West Wing”
Most inspirational figure: “My parents.”
Dream job (not including present one): Stylist for an interior design magazine or catalog
College: Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Passion outside work: Running, reading, antique shopping

Rachel Magnuson has brought her communications background with her to her new position as Rep. Allyson Schwartz’s (D-Pa.) chief of staff.


Magnuson grew up craving to know what was going on in the world around her — “I remember being very excited to get the newspaper every day after school,” she recalls — and now reads five newspapers a day.

She started with Schwartz after having worked in two public-relations firms, in communications roles for a congressional race in Kansas and at a coalition on judicial nominations.

When Schwartz launched her first congressional campaign in 2004, Magnuson jumped on board because “I couldn’t see myself not being involved working directly in politics,” she said.

Five years later, Magnuson said she is focused on helping her boss on her signature issue of healthcare reform while multitasking to continue advancing policy efforts in energy, education and personal retirement security.

Magnuson said Schwartz encourages her aides to open their minds to alternative policy solutions.

“Her way of thinking about policy is that we have to be innovative, we have to be smarter, we have to be creative,” she said.