From Campaign Trails to Capitol Hill
This week, we spoke to Marcus Towns, Member Services Director for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Can you tell me about your career path that you’ve taken that’s led you to where you are now?
I started doing campaign work while in undergrad studying International Affairs. I got involved in my local community which led to getting involved in local elections. I’ve had an opportunity to work on campaigns at every level from school/county board to U.S. Senate races. After the Georgia runoff elections in 2021, I took a leap of faith coming to D.C. to “start over” by working on the Hill. I was given the opportunity to intern for former Rep. Kevin Brady before becoming the Staff Assistant on the House Ways and Means Committee. Ultimately, I’ve had a very lucky path, one that I am extremely thankful for, and have had the privilege to work with some of the brightest people on the Hill.
Which specific policy areas or legislative issues are you most passionate about, and how do you stay informed and engaged in those areas?
Election reform and foreign policy are two important issues to me. It’ll be important, both at the State and Federal level, that elections adapt to changing times, simple solutions have an avalanche – like impact on overall policy, so any way Congress can redevelop trust in the electoral process would be a helpful place to start. Last year I had the opportunity to travel for an election observation mission abroad. As someone who had spent countless hours seeing how U.S. elections are operated it was eye-opening to see how other democracies operate.
Foreign policy is all-encompassing and will only become more important over time. I try to read a little each day about what’s going on around the world, and a little time reading about historical events. Thankfully it’s easy to stay informed by being surrounded by experts in this field, the best information comes from the people that are working on it every day.
What advice would you give to individuals who aspire to work on Capitol Hill?
The hardest part is getting here, but once you’re here you’ll be surrounded by people who want to see you succeed. I think, especially when you are first starting out on the Hill, everyone wants to be helpful.
Remember why you want to be here, it’s a privilege that for most will be short lived, but if you say yes to every opportunity and have a good attitude, you’ll turn the years into some of the best memories and will walk away better than you were before you started.
Now if you want to help yourself, lean into your strengths, be as authentic as possible because people can see authenticity from a mile away.
What do you believe sets Capitol Hill apart as a unique work environment, and how do you navigate its challenges in your everyday work?
What makes the Hill unique is the access to information. If you like to learn, this place has everything you can imagine. Every day you will have an opportunity to see history being made firsthand which still never gets old. The challenges are the same that you’d have at any job, but I think having a good attitude and remembering why you work in public service typically makes the bad days feel worth it.
Word association, what is the first word that comes to mind for each of these?
Policy – Impactful
Networking – Crucial
Writing Skills – Concise
Working on the Hill – Rewarding
Leadership Connect – Useful