Heard on the Hill

When you get a tattoo while traveling with the boss ...

Staffer for South Dakota rep opted for ink on a recent recess trip back home

Hannah Kagey, a staffer for South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson, got a tattoo while visiting a Sioux Falls constituent with her boss. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It was a “whirlwind” day, Hannah Kagey recalled.

The legislative assistant for Rep. Dusty Johnson trekked alongside her boss on a busy Monday during the August recess. The agenda for the day? Town halls and many a conversation with the South Dakota Republican’s constituents, or “bosses” as he refers to them, according to spokeswoman Jazmine Kemp.

After a slew of events and fielded questions, Johnson and Kagey were gearing up for their next stop: Vishnu Bunny Tattoo & Piercing — a Sioux Falls establishment owned by a Democrat whose engagement on the congressman’s Facebook page led to “meaningful dialogue” outside of his public feed and a pit-stop that would leave an indelible mark.

They were barely in the car when Kagey threw another question at the congressman — one he had likely not heard before.

“Hey, don’t you think it’d be funny if I got a tattoo?” she said.

A “giddy” Johnson was on board. As a member of Congress, he knew the feeling of being “under the gun,” but that day it took on a different meaning. This wasn’t Hannah’s first rodeo, though. As the saying goes, “third time’s the charm.”

Kagey opted for an uppercase delta on the back of her neck. It “denotes change,” the 23-year-old told HoH. She added, “It’s a good thing to experience change in life — you’re growing and becoming a different person.”

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 17: Hannah Kagey, from the office of Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., is photographed in Longworth Building on Tuesday, September 17, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Kagey got a tattoo of an uppercase delta on the back of her neck. It “denotes change,” she says. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Change” for Hannah that day meant the addition of a new image to her body of work. The delta joined a dagger on her rib cage, as well as a Queen of Spades on her leg. The Queen of Spades reflects independence while the dagger reminds her of impulsivity.

“I saw it on a wall,” she laughed.

You’d hardly know Kagey was covering up any color while on the clock. She’s partial to Banana Republic pant suits that disguise any inkling of an illustration and Oxford shoes that pair well with socks.

A self-described “tomboy,”Hannah prefers to remain outside of the box than being boxed in. She says her style is not her sole identity, it represents her personality. “Easy going” is how she describes it.

“She’s not afraid to be herself,” Kemp chimes in. “It’s refreshing when you meet someone who is authentically themselves and I think that’s who she is,” she adds.

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