Tate Bennett ’09 and Megan Spindel ’02 collaborate on Capitol Hill
The saying goes that, no matter where a Centre alum ends up after graduation, it’s likely that another Centre alum isn’t too far away. This is especially true in Washington, D.C., where numerous Centre alums venture to begin careers on Capitol Hill. This story is the first in a series about young alums working in politics in the capital—sometimes even in the same office, like Tate Bennett ’09 and Megan Spindel ’02.
Bennett and Spindel both work for Kentucky Congressman Brett Guthrie, Bennett as a legislative assistant and Spindel as a legislative director.
“I’ve worked on the Hill for nine and a half years,” Spindel says. “My job is essentially to oversee the Congressman’s legislative agenda and our legislative team. I staff the Congressman at hearings, serve as his adviser on health care and telecommunications policy, introduce and manage legislation, and interact with constituents and other interested groups. No two days are ever the same!”
Bennett agrees that working for the Congressman is never boring.
“Though I have experienced countless exciting moments while working on Capitol Hill, my fondest memories include working on report language for the upcoming highway bill reauthorization, taking part in my boss’s swearing-in ceremony with Speaker John Boehner and also having a role in the annual Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation’s D.C. fly-in the past two years,” Bennett says.
Both alums cultivated an interest in the political process during their time at Centre—and though they graduated years apart, each recalls the same class as being especially important to their interest in working on Capitol Hill.
“I particularly remember a class taught by Drs. Bill Garriott and Dan Stroup called ‘Congress: A Simulation,’” Spindel says. “The class was a great preparation for the different forces one deals with in Washington, especially on Capitol Hill. That class far and away gave me the best foundation for what I would do in life.”
“As a government major, I was able to develop a thorough understanding for the legislative process, especially in the mock Congress class,” Bennett echoes. “I now get to see the member of Congress I impersonated for a semester walking the halls of Congress on a weekly basis! Dr. Garriott also provided me with a solid foundation for my career with the federal government through his lectures on Tocqueville.”
Spindel gained unique experience in politics as a student volunteer during the Vice Presidential Debate at Centre in 2000.
“I was involved with College Republicans and was fortunate to work with Mona Wyatt in the development office on the 2000 Vice Presidential debate. I also helped through College Republicans to welcome Vice President Cheney when he arrived and worked in the spin room post-debate,” Spindel says. “Having those opportunities and the exposure to politicians and campaigns definitely made me more comfortable with politics. It was a great experience and definitely strongly connected with my ‘real life’ job now. Then, the summer after my junior year I interned with then-Congressman Ernie Fletcher and fell in love with Washington. The Hill is a captivating place and, once I came for the internship, I knew this was what I wanted to do after graduation.”
Bennett has found working with Spindel particularly beneficial.
“Megan has enabled me to quickly grow as a young professional, and I have enjoyed working with and learning from a more experienced Centre graduate,” Bennett says.
In all, both Centre alums appreciate the chance to gain experience in the political process through working on Capitol Hill.
“I am thankful for the opportunities the office of Congressman Guthrie has provided me over the past three years,” Bennett says. “Working for a member of Congress in the Kentucky delegation, I feel as though I am able to give back to the people and places that made me who I am today. I get to experience a little taste of home every day.”