Green Mountain State Go-Getters

Posted December 14, 2007 at 6:25pm

Chesley Thurber knew Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) before he came to Washington, D.C. In fact, Thurber worked for Welch when he was the President Pro Tem of the Vermont Senate. Now he is the first-term Congressman’s legislative assistant, having been promoted recently from the position of legislative correspondent. [IMGCAP(1)]

“I’m lucky — I’ve had a unique opportunity in that I worked for him back in Vermont before he was the Congressman,” Thurber said.

In addition to his experience with Welch, Thurber has worked for the Vermont Medical Society, where he was a policy analyst and worked on state-level health policy issues. He also was a legislative assistant for the United Parcel Service, where he spent a year getting to know the legislative process on Capitol Hill.

Thurber was educated at Middlebury College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 2004 in international studies.

He volunteers once a week at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church as a tutor and mentor to a high school student.

“This is a great way to feel like you’re a part of the community here in Washington,” he said of his volunteer experience.

Thurber, 25, grew up in Lakeforest, Ill.

Calvin Garner also moved up the ladder in Welch’s office recently, with a promotion to a legislative correspondent/press aide job. He was a staff assistant/press aide. Before that, he served as a deputy communications director for Welch for Congress.

Garner earned his bachelor’s degree in 2006 from Middlebury College, where he concentrated on political science and Russian. He also played varsity rugby. [IMGCAP(2)]

Garner’s undergraduate studies brought him to Russia for a year, where he spent five months in eastern Siberia and five months in Moscow.

“The fall reminds me a lot like the fall in Vermont,” he said of Siberia.

Garner said he thinks Welch is “a great boss.”

“In terms of policy, the Congressman and I line up really well and it makes it easy to work for him,” he said.

Garner is 24 years old and is originally from Bennington, Vt.

Shayla Livingston, previously an intern for Welch, is now a staff assistant. She is from Sharon, Vt., and was a government major at Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

She has additional experience as a research translator in South America, a position she was able to procure after studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, her junior year at Smith.

She graduated from Smith in May of this year with degrees in government and Spanish.

What does she like about her current position with Welch?

“I really like where I sit — right at the front door,” she said. “I can see everything that happens in the office.”

She also likes talking to Vermonters.

“I’m learning a lot,” she said.

Her future includes a possible graduate degree in public health, and maybe a stint in the Peace Corps.

Livingston is an all-American athlete in track and field for the 400 meter hurtles, and she likes to run and salsa dance when she’s not sitting in her favorite spot in Welch’s office.

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