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Capitol Currents: Policy, Networks, Growth

maximus gomez featured image copy of congressional spotlight interviewThis week, we spoke to Maximus Gomez, Staff Assistant & Legislative Correspondent for the Office of Representative Ami Bera (D-CA, 6).

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

I have always had a passion and a drive to help give back to my community. I felt that public service was the best way to combine both my talents and my passion. This is what led me to get my bachelor’s degree in political science, and it is also the reason why I pursued internships at both the state and federal level during undergrad. Being part of something greater than myself is a big reason why I chose to become a staffer on the Hill.

I did an internship in the Fall of 2022 in the office where I currently work. This experience solidified my interest in working in Congress. During my internship, I built genuine relationships with staffers and tried my best to be a sponge in my limited time in D.C. These relationships I developed and my willingness to learn played pivotal roles in my return as a full-time staffer. Through some luck and guidance from mentors, I was offered an opportunity to return to the office I had interned for. It was a no-brainer to accept an offer to serve my hometown representative, and finally be able to give back to the community that helped me become the person I am today.

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

While I figure out which policy areas I would eventually like to focus on, I have found great joy in attending a multitude of briefings and hearings to learn more about a variety of topics that I had not been previously exposed to. I always start my day by listening to the Up First podcast, and for a good laugh, I listen to Pod Save America. Otherwise, I check various news bulletins, read CRS reports, and talk to legislative staffers in our office about the most relevant issues. I have also found social media to be a great (and at times hilarious) resource to stay up to date on events, although I take information from social media with a grain of salt as it is not always the most reliable.

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

Build genuine and authentic relationships. Networking is essential to finding success on the Hill, but I preach quality over quantity when it comes to relationship building.

Be comfortable with asking for help. At some point someone on the Hill has gone through whatever obstacle you may be facing, and I have found that most people are willing to provide advice and support to help you overcome these challenges. You simply just have to ask for help.

Know your “why.” It is important to know what drives and motivates you.

Describe a challenging or rewarding project that significantly influenced your growth as a professional. How did you handle the challenge, and what did you learn from the experience?

Working as the intern coordinator in our office has been both a challenging and rewarding experience. With each new group of interns, I learn more about myself as a staffer and as a leader. It is through this responsibility that I have matured and become more comfortable in my current role. I know the influence a good supervisor has in shaping an intern’s experience on the Hill, and I take great pride in ensuring that their time in our office is fulfilling. I have also learned that the better I train the interns, the more responsibility they can take on, leaving me more time to focus on my career development.  

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

For me, it is how mentally stimulating this place can be. In a constantly evolving world, staffers work tirelessly to keep up as best as they can. There are always new issues to take on and old ones that require fresh solutions. Whether it is a briefing, career development classes, a report, or a new face in the halls, there is always more to learn and explore. I have also found it to be one of the most supportive climates I’ve ever been a part of. The fast-paced environment makes it easy to experience burnout, but there are plenty of staffers willing to offer support and advice when you need it most.

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

Policy – Change 

Networking – Authenticity  

Writing Skills – Concise 

Working on the Hill – Stimulating 

Leadership Connect – Engaging 

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.