Alumni Spotlight: Award Winner Heather Mizeur Talks Politics with TWC

Alumni Spotlight: Award Winner Heather Mizeur Talks Politics with TWC

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Christian Holm
October 02, 2014

When John Kerry’s campaign advisors looked for an innovative legislative whiz to construct the health care plank of his 2004 presidential platform, they found one in their own back yard: 10-year Capitol Hill veteran Heather Mizeur ’94.


Mizeur’s experience with the Kerry campaign segued into her own runs for office over the next decade: first as a Takoma Park, Md., City Council member, then a Maryland state delegate and, this year, a Democratic candidate for governor. Through it all, Mizeur has represented her home district in Annapolis with distinction - and she’s happy to bring TWC interns along for the ride. Her office and her gubernatorial campaign hosted more than a dozen students over the past several years – experiences she hopes inspire them the way her TWC program inspired her in 1994 as a student from the University of Illinois.


The 2014 Alumni Engagement Award recipient, Mizeur graciously shared the following insights and advice with her TWC family:


You’ve achieved so much in public service at a pretty young age. Why is it so important for young people to represent us in our government?


I love the energy, enthusiasm and idealism that often characterizes youth. We fight hard for what we believe. We know that community matters. We are relentless in pursuit of justice. And I’m particularly excited about the millennial generation and its commitment to equality in all forms.


What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?

It’s always hard to pick just one because covering 50,000 uninsured children and providing 35,000 low-income women with free family planning services is as meaningful to me as successfully passing marriage equality and guaranteeing environmental protections against the threats of fracking. We don’t ever achieve these victories alone, but I was proud to play a leading role in all of them.


A semester in Washington helps many of our interns determine their strengths, weaknesses and career paths. How was your time at TWC a clarifying experience?


That singular opportunity – a chance to live and work in the cradle of federal politics – was all I needed to open many doors for a lifetime career in public service. I never moved back home to Illinois. Interning gave me a great opportunity to start a full-time job as a legislative assistant for a member of Congress, and that began a decade of service to the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. From there, I served on the City Council in Takoma Park, spent eight years as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and recently finished the most beautiful journey of all – running as a Democratic candidate for governor.


What is the best advice you would give to interns who want to pursue a political career?


Go for it! We need you and your talents, innovation, ideas and co-creative potential. You have a voice that is connected to your higher self. Listen to it. Be fearless and know that you absolutely can create transformational change if you stand up for what you believe in and reflect those possibilities to the world.

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