With news and politics in her blood, Johnson finds excitement on Capitol Hill as director of communications for Kirkpatrick.
She became the communications director for the Arizona Democratic Party — the role that first introduced her to Kirkpatrick, with whom she felt a strong connection. After 2 1/2 years as spokeswoman for the Arizona Democrats, Johnson left to take a job with Kirkpatrick’s campaign.
The congresswoman is a “tough Arizona, Western woman,” Johnson said. “I find her to just be a genuinely good person.”
Johnson partly credits her success in politics to her earlier years in journalism. Good news judgment — and the ability to respect and understand reporters and editors — makes her a strong voice for Kirkpatrick’s office.
“The editor is the person who organizes the sock drawer — who, when they’re erasing the chalkboard, leaves no little mark unerased. We’re all about details, we’re about precision, accuracy and I think, I would like to believe that’s a commodity,” she said. “If I’m working for someone, I want them to have the confidence that they’re going to get a quality result from me.”
Although she’s an Arizonan at heart, Johnson appreciates the uniqueness of Washington and knows that no Capitol Hill staffer can take his or her position for granted.
“It truly is the people’s capital. You can go out onto the Mall, and wander the Smithsonians, take tours of our Capitol, see our monuments, read the words of Lincoln — and it’s just so open and accessible,” she said.
Johnson also appreciates that while it is possible to figure out some semblance of a work-life balance in Washington, not everything fits into a neat schedule, and politics is often a seven-days-a-week kind of job.
“You know, jobs don’t always begin the moment you set foot in the office or the minute you leave the office,” she said. “But whether it’s done from, you know, my living room, while I’m out walking my dog — it’s going to get done.”
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Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.