Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.
Jon Wright is a Legislative Assistant in the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs
My boss describes me as the office’s “utility infielder,” because I help the Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs manage Department-wide special projects as a legislative assistant in the Secretary’s Congressional and state government liaison office
During my time at Commerce, I have had a wide variety of responsibilities and experiences from responding to Congressional oversight inquiries to staffing a Congressional delegation led by Secretary Locke to South Korea to build support for the U.S.–Korea Trade Agreement. The experience in government that impacted me most, however, was serving as a liaison to the Coast Guard Florida Incident Commander during the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill where I advised him on handling the concerns of federal, state, and local elected officials. It was my job to help ensure that the people who represent Floridians and Florida business owners were being heard. The response team and the administration were committed to addressing the economic and personal impacts of the spill, and I was proud to play a part in that.
During this year’s State of the Union address, the president laid out a vision for winning the future by challenging our nation to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world. As a member of his administration, and concerned citizen, I try to rise to this challenge every day by making sure that government is helping American businesses create innovative jobs that will translate into higher wages and more security for all Americans, particularly those young Americans coming out of college. This is what drives me every day as I work to further the mission of the Commerce Department and participate in initiatives like the White House Business Council where I direct Congressional and state government outreach.
Growing up in Paducah, Kentucky, my parents and my community taught me that those who have an opportunity to serve the public should be thoughtful and humble stewards. I believe that stewardship in government means doing the job well and for the right reasons. I have certainly encountered that stewardship with the leadership of the Commerce Department, and this is no more evident than in Secretary Locke’s leadership with the National Export Initiative—President Obama’s goal to double U.S. exports within five years.
After graduating from law school, I took a risk in heading out on the campaign trail instead of joining a firm or stepping into a more traditional career. I am thankful every day that I chose the path of public service early in life. I would encourage folks who are just graduating to make the jump—they will not regret it. Every day I feel lucky and humbled to be a part of the Obama administration.