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Unlocking Your Potential: How to Use Past Experiences to Thrive on Capitol Hill

congressional spotlight interview

This week, we held a conversation with Max Seifert, Legislative Correspondent for Senator Jeff Alan Merkley. Max unfolds how his previous work has equipped him with the skills to advocate for equal opportunities and drive change in areas he is passionate about. Max knew he wanted to make a larger impact and that’s what led him to the Hill. Find out more about how your past work experiences and jobs can contribute to driving change on Capitol Hill.

Can you tell me about your career path that you’ve taken that’s led you to where you are now?

My career path began off the Hill, I worked in government affairs and government relations on clean energy and environmental policy. However, as a former Hill intern, I had known for a while that I wanted to come work in Congress to more directly affect change. Over the two and a half years I spent off-Hill, I started to become more and more interested in policies that advanced socio-economic equity, things like accessibility to education, universal health care, and expansive nutrition programs. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to pursue those policies working in Senator Merkley’s Office last year, and that’s where I am now! I’m really proud to have been part of the progress we’ve made over the last year, but there’s still a lot of work left to do! I look forward to continuing the work that I’ve gotten to be part of so far as we keep looking for ways to take on the powerful and deliver for the people.

What policy issues are you most interested/passionate about?

I’m really interested in the ways that a lot of disparate policies come together to combat poverty. Right now, I cover education, health care, and nutrition policy and these are all big pieces of the puzzle in delivering a just and equitable society. I’m most interested in policies that advance those goals and that will deliver socioeconomic justice to all Americans someday.

The biggest obstacle that we face on the Hill is time. There simply isn’t enough time in the day or week to do everything that we want to do as staffers.

From experience I know how fast paced and stressful working on the Hill can be, can you give an example of an obstacle you have faced or explain any difficulty while managing your job responsibilities?

Luckily, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to work on a really exceptional team. Everyone around the office knows how to prioritize effectively and everyone has a lot of trust in the people around us. It makes it easy to split up tasks and get a lot more done than we ever could as individuals. It’s one of those situations where the whole team comes together and is greater than the—already enormous—sum of its parts.

What is your favorite restaurant in D.C.?

This is a recent discovery for me! But Fancy Radish is a really fun experience.

To be featured or learn more, reach out to Gabi Thomas, and spread the word to any colleagues who would be interested.

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Gabrielle Thomas

Gabi joined Leadership Connect as a Research Analyst and is now the Legislature Outreach Liaison.