‘Family’ of staffers sees success with Rep. Posey

The 28-year-old was “boat-schooled” — educated on the commercial fishing ship his parents operated off the shores of southeast Alaska. His unique upbringing, he said, made him value hands-off government and historical information.

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Now, a circuitous career path has converged with his boyhood interests. After leaving a job in the travel industry for an unpaid internship in Posey’s office, Ferguson has been promoted to legislative correspondent.

He joins Jennifer Stauffer, the new press assistant; Erin Houg, the new office manager; and Nicole Ruth, now a legislative aide, in recent Posey promotions.

Like Ferguson, Stauffer had settled into a different profession — teaching middle school science for five years — before upending her life to get into politics.

“Politics and government had always been something I took it upon myself to know,” Stauffer said. “I had finally convinced myself that now was the time to try to get into politics.”

After applying for a multitude of internships, Stauffer landed a spot in Posey’s office. The former earth and space science teacher quickly recognized that she could continue to use her expertise in working for the district, which includes NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

Houg, the new office manager, had even less interest in politics before embarking on a second career in government. In her hometown of Seattle, “I voted. That was the extent of my political aspirations.”

But when she moved to Washington, D.C., with 11 friends in 2006 to open City Church, Houg applied for jobs on Capitol Hill because “it’s here.”

She started with an internship in former Rep. Tom Feeney’s (R-Fla.) office, a position that helped her become familiar with Posey’s district. (Posey’s district is adjacent to Feeney’s former district.)

Houg now holds a unique position, because she is also the office manager for Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and will continue to work there, too.
When she’s not keeping two offices afloat, Houg is busy with online business classes at Regent University.

Nicole Ruth, who was promoted from legislative correspondent to legislative aide, is the political rule in an office of exceptions.

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With a master’s degree in American Politics from American University, Ruth “knew from the second I took my first political science class” at York College of Pennsylvania that government was the field for her.

“My teacher was young, and he was calling the Founders ‘dudes,’ — it was just really cool,” she said.

She completed a bevy of Capitol Hill internships, leaving for a short internship at the government-affairs firm Wexler & Walker before settling into Posey’s office.

“I always knew I wanted to get back to the Hill,” Ruth said. “Once you get off, it’s harder to get back on.”

All four are content in their staff jobs for now. None currently harbors a dream of running for political office.

“That’s such an awful thing to ever think about,” Ferguson said. “I don’t want to subject myself to that extreme.”

The four staffers, who talk and joke like old friends, agreed that a lack of higher political ambition will help keep the office together.

As Stauffer endearingly told her co-workers, “We’re like a family, guys.”