Skip to main content

Path to Advocacy: Exploring Legislative Impact

kobe barthelemy featured image copy of congressional spotlight interviewThis week, we spoke to Kobe Barthelemy, Research Assistant for the Joint Economic Committee [JEC].

Can you tell me about your career path that has led you to where you are now?

I’ve been working since I was a young adolescent, and being mindful of my approach to each position has been something that has and continues to propel me forward. Communal upliftment has been a key driver for me in every work environment that I’ve been in. When my Executive Director, Jessica Martinez, was receiving a Congressional Staff Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, she said, “We do better, when we all do better.” This quote continues to resonate with me because putting people first is how we all succeed. My prior internships with the International Rescue Committee and further emphasized this notion, and I’m extremely honored to carry this forward as a Research Assistant with the Joint Economic Committee.

Which specific policy areas or legislative issues are you most passionate about, and how do you stay informed and engaged in those areas?

Immigration is certainly a policy area that I am passionate about. As the son of two Haitian immigrants, I am committed to empowering immigrant communities and highlighting their numerous achievements despite the many obstacles they face. As an early career professional in the JEC, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring various policy areas. With close to five months of experience under my belt, I’ve already monitored general macroeconomic developments and worked on pieces spotlighting youth development and tax enforcement. The brilliant colleagues that I’m fortunate enough to work alongside encourage creativity, critical thinking, and in-depth analysis into policy areas of interest.

To stay informed, I often turn to various reporters on different platforms who provide reliable and timely research and updates. I also enjoy keeping up with reports from think tanks and NGOs and tuning into podcasts (shoutout to Planet Money, Small Doses, and the Deu Awuok Show). I will also tout my wonderful colleagues as excellent resources because of the breadth of knowledge they possess on numerous topics.

What do you believe sets Capitol Hill apart as a unique work environment, and how do you navigate its challenges in your everyday work?

Everyone on the hill is working toward a cause bigger than themselves. Although we may (often) see large spouts of disagreement between colleagues, a fundamental concept of Capitol Hill is collaboration. A willingness to work with people who may not look like you, think like you, or speak like you can be the final piece in the puzzle for change.

In my everyday work, controlling what I can control and not stressing about what’s not in my control is essential to my sanity and productivity.

What advice would you give to individuals who aspire to work on Capitol Hill?

To anyone aspiring to work on the Hill, I have three pieces of advice:

  1. Envision yourself doing the work that you’re seeking to do. Align yourself with those goals and don’t be afraid to break a sweat. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
  2. Network, network, network. Find a mentor. Tony Stephens said the shortcut to success is in a mentor – if you don’t know where to find a mentor, they don’t know where to find you.
  3. Focus on the impact of your work. Be a part of something bigger than yourself.

Word association, what is the first word that comes to mind for each of these?

Policy – Change

Networking – Success

Writing Skills – Essential

Working on the Hill – Privilege

Leadership Connect – Empowering

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

Be sure to follow the LinkedIn profile for more news and to see who is featured each week!

Gabrielle Thomas

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