Lobbyist, Malkin & Ross
It’s all Rep. Paul Tonko’s fault that Jessica Schafroth got into politics.
When Tonko was a first-term congressman, he gave a speech to a group of Girl Scouts in Schafroth’s hometown.
“He gave a speech about the need to have more women in politics,” says Schafroth, who was 9 at the time. “I don’t know that I knew too many really strong women, so that resonated with me.”
“So I blame Paul Tonko,” she adds with a laugh.
Today Schafroth is a lobbyist at Malkin & Ross. Her accomplishments since starting there in 2004 include passing the Family Health Care Decisions Act, which had been stalled for years, and the Wage Theft Protection Act, which sped through the Legislature in a mere eight months.
“I think a lot of people think that lobbyists are evil or bad or whatever, but I think a lot of good can be done from being involved in the process,” says Schafroth.
How did your past jobs get you to where you are now?
“I started doing campaign work, as opposed to having an internship on the inside or coming out of law school. Then I worked for a client of Malkin & Ross, but wanted to get into politics, so I called one of the lobbyists, and they were, by coincidence, hiring. So within a week we came to an agreement on me coming here.”
If you weren’t working in politics, what would you be doing?
“Maybe I’d be the backup tambourinist for the Rolling Stones, or the radio announcer for the New York Yankees.”
What will your business card say in five years?
“I don’t see leaving here. I really love my job. I have pretty much unlimited growth potential. This firm lets us work on the issues we want to work on. We have great clients, and it’s a great group of people.”
If you could have a superpower, what would it be, and why?
“My superpower would be to get people to always tell the truth. Why? I think a lot of what we do in Albany is to try to counter stuff that’s not true. I’d like to have a superpower that people would be required to tell the truth. There’s always a way to come to a rational conclusion if you know what the truth is. You spin your wheels otherwise.”
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