Name: Edgar D. Rodríguez ’16
Title: Legislative Correspondent/Aide
Organization Name: United States House of Representatives; Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35)
In one sentence, what does your job entail?
I am responsible for managing the Congresswoman’s entire mail correspondence system between constituents and her office, as well as, using constituent input (among other avenues) to help advance her legislative agenda by proposing and drafting bill ideas.
What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?
My original plan was to return to my hometown (Pomona, CA) and work in the community expanding access to healthcare, specifically for U.S. citizen children of undocumented parents. However, after participating in the Washington Semester program in the fall of 2016 and receiving a job offer, I decided to stay in D.C.
How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?
While I truly enjoyed my internship on the Hill—especially since I was interning for my representative—I still had plans to return to my community. It wasn’t until the Congresswoman asked me to join her on the campaign trail the week leading up to the general election that I began contemplating the idea of staying in D.C. after graduation. Driving the Congresswoman around to multiple campaign stops in California and Nevada and seeing first-hand the issues that she was advocating for and how it related to the work she was doing in D.C., made me realize the possibility of doing the same in Washington. Immediately after returning from California, the Congresswoman offered me the position to stay and help her accomplish the work she advocated for on the campaign trail.
Rarely do you find D.C. staff working for their home representatives. I saw the need to stay here and work for my home representative and advocate for my community because I am from there and I understand the local issues.
What were you involved in when you were on campus?
I was involved quite extensively during my time at Holy Cross through the Student Government Association. I was the assistant to the SGA Director of Student Life my freshman year, a two-term Senator, and eventually Director of Diversity. Concurrently, I was also involved in the Pre-Business program, co-founded the RSO Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A. de Holy Cross) my sophomore year, took part of several service trips, was appointed to a couple of Presidential committees under the Office of Diversity, and founded the new center for students of color, among other things.
What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I came to Holy Cross seeking an Economics Accounting major. However after my first year, that quickly changed to Political Science. While my major did not directly affect my career decisions, I have greatly benefitted from its instruction in my current job.
What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
The two greatest skills that I developed at Holy Cross are the same ones that I utilize today on a daily basis. The first is the ability to manage people. Aside from handling a legislative portfolio for the Congresswoman, I also have the wonderful opportunity to manage our internship program. Understanding the weakness and strengths of people and knowing how to utilize them to the benefit of an organization is something that took quite a bit of trial and error during my time at Holy Cross. The second skill is perhaps more common: the ability to multitask and take on different projects at the same time. For a very long time, I was the type of person that always took more than they could handle simply because I wanted to do it all. Learning to understand your capacity as a leader and how to effectively manage multiple projects early on has truly helped me balance my innate feeling of wanting to take on a lot and doing a good job at it.
What advice do you have for students on campus interested in the Communications / PR field?
I think students always fall short of pursuing their passions and, more often than not, pursue what makes them feel secure and not what challenges them. My advice for students is to try to escape the fear of judgement.
Pursue what makes you grow. There are passions out there that you may discover along the way, passions that you never knew you had. And that might not only impact your life in a positive way, but the lives of those around you as well.