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Hill Climbers: Surviving a Member’s Scandal

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Memphis native Hannah Walker weathered the storm of a Member scandal and is now the Washington-based director of government relations for the Food Marketing Institute.

Rooney’s brother, then a member of South Florida’s Water Management District Board, told Walker that the then-
Congressional candidate was in need of some organizational help for his bid.

Starting out as a volunteer during the primary, Walker moved up to campaign director for the fall election. And once victory had been secured, she made her way back to Capitol Hill.

Last fall, almost three years after her return, she began giving serious thought to a career change.

Like retiring Members exasperated by the daily political warfare, Walker, too, began to wonder if she could accomplish more outside the marble corridors than within them.

“I looked at the end of last year, and we didn’t have any great accomplishments to be proud of … and it just sort of wears you down after a little bit,” she said.

The deliberative lawyer took over, as she consulted with many trusted friends and colleagues about leaving the place she loved.

Though fatigue with gridlock played a role in her departure, Walker still holds the institution and the people it represents in the highest esteem.

“I loved every minute of working on the Hill, I really did. [It’s] such an honor … to serve 700,000 constituents and that you get to work for them and with them on some pretty exciting things. It was amazing,” she said.

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