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Hill Climbers: Political Enthusiast Loves the Hill

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Michelle Schwartz has always loved politics. She got her start volunteering in Bill Clinton’s New Jersey headquarters and now works for Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

After a stint working in Schumer’s Washington, D.C., office, Schwartz decided she wanted to go back to school to be able to work on judiciary issues.

“I always thought that I would like law school,” she said, “but I hadn’t really decided what I would do with a law degree.” She enrolled in Yale Law School, a program she said was attractive to her because of its focus on policy.

After graduation, Schwartz moved to Los Angeles to clerk for a federal judge, then returned to the District to work for the law firm Williams & Connolly LLP, where she did litigation.

Then it was back to the Hill.

“I had a great experience at the firm,” she said, “and got to do all sorts of the things young lawyers dream about ... but I really missed the Hill.”

Her first job back in the Capitol was in Lautenberg’s office, where she worked as senior counsel. She then moved on to legislative director and is now deputy chief of staff. And her career has come full circle: She has worked on the very issue that helped guide her political career, New Jersey’s lack of a media market.

She explained how ensuring that New Jersey outlets — specifically the one commercial television station licensed in New Jersey —cover New Jersey news has “been a big issue” for Lautenberg.

“The Senator has been working really hard to make sure that they actually live up to their obligations as a New Jersey station, as opposed to acting like another New York television station,” she said.

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