Guntersville’s Frank McLaughlin is working in Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s office in Washington D.C. and he’s excited about his new role.
Sewell is Alabama’s Democratic Congresswoman representing the 7th District. Her district includes portions of Birmingham, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa as well as much of central Alabama. Hillary Beard of Guntersville is her chief of staff.
Frank, the son of Jeff and Stacy McLaughlin, had interned in Congressional offices a couple of times while earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama.
“I worked on a campaign during the election,” he said. “Any prospects of going to graduate school were put on hold because I didn’t want to do that through Zoom meetings.”
So he went to D.C. and started looking for jobs. He began to get a little discouraged because he applied for a lot of jobs and didn’t see much from his effort.
“I was sending so many resumes and cover letters, it was like giving out Halloween candy,” he said.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Hillary let him know a staff assistant job was coming up in Congresswoman Sewell’s office.
He applied, went through a couple of rounds of interviews and got the job.
“I’m very thankful to have gotten the opportunity,” he said.
He serves as the main point of contact for people calling Congresswoman Sewell’s office. He manages the phones.
“I do a variety of things,” Frank said. “When case work comes in, I contact related staff. I’m the one who writes a synopsis of a case and sends it to one of our district offices.”
A part of his job he particularly enjoys is that he also serves as Congresswoman Sewell’s driver. He picks her up in the mornings and takes her to the Capitol to vote.
“I’m a big history buff,” he said. “I’ve seen all those old pictures of the Capitol with Model T’s and Model A’s parked in front of it. You can’t get as close as you could then, but I have a special plate that shows I’m assigned to a member of the 117th Congress and I am taking her to go vote. It’s the coolest part of the job.”
Once interns are allowed again in Congressional offices, Frank will manage the interns. He is looking forward to it since he is a former intern himself.
“Being an intern is what made me want to come up here,” he said.
Frank’s younger brother William is a junior at Auburn and his younger sister Mary Crawford is a senor at Guntersville High.
“This past year has obviously been difficult on everyone,” Frank said. He said it meant a lot to him that Hillary and Congresswoman Sewell could’ve picked anyone for the opening and they chose him.
“There are a lot of qualified people trying to get these staff assistant jobs,” he said.
In his spare time, he is enjoying all that DC has to offer. He likes to walk around and look at the monuments. He took an AmTrak train to Philadelphia one weekend to see the sights there. He has driven out to Alexandria, Virginia, to enjoy that area.
“I am trying to experience everything as though it were my first time to see it,” Frank said. “The museums are closed right now, but I am looking forward to going to them when they re-open. I’m trying to take advantage of as much as I can being up here.”