LI’s Graduate of the Week: Passionate Public Policy Pro Jessica Talbert

Ohio native Jessica Talbert first became interested in politics as a student at Flagler College in Florida.  Her passion for politics and participation in public policy only grew.  

Now, Jessica has worked in most areas of the public policy process, ranging from the executive and legislative branches to PACs, lobbying groups, Capitol Hill, and political committees.

Jessica came to the Leadership Institute first for the Capitol Hill Staff Training School in November 2010 and returned for the week-long Campaign Manager School in December 2010.

“I highly recommend the Leadership Institute for conservatives who want to get firsthand training in a variety of topics from campaign management, public speaking, grassroots, and the list goes on,” Jessica said.  “In addition to offering great training, the Leadership Institute also brings together conservatives from across the nation, creating relationships that will last our entire careers.”  

Jessica continued, “Having volunteered in numerous capacities with campaigns, I attended LI’s Campaign Manager School to learn the overall operations of a campaign. I was amazed by the experts who spoke at this training…. This training was thorough, extremely informative, and overall a great experience.”  

Jessica worked in government affairs in D.C. for seven years, but, as she explained, “once Republicans took over the House, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to get firsthand experience working on policy and legislation.”

So, Jessica registered for LI’s Capitol Hill Staff Training School in November after the elections. She joined 146 other conservatives, making it the largest training in LI’s Steven P.J. Wood Building at that time in the Institute’s history.

“My goal in attending the Capitol Hill Staff Training School was to network with the students and seasoned Republican staffers,” Jessica said.  “The class provided a well-rounded explanation on the various issues facing job seekers and also what to expect after finding a position on the Hill.”

Jessica got a job working in the Washington, D.C. office of Congressman Steve Austria (OH-7), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, in February 2011.

As his legislative assistant, Jessica handles appropriations and policy issues concerning judicial programs, transportation and infrastructure, homeland security, health care, Medicare, Social Security, education, and labor.

In college, Jessica said she “was honored to intern for Congressman John Mica in his district office where I learned the importance of constituent services.  I then spent a semester in D.C. interning with the Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy and Congressman Dave Camp. This was a unique semester because I simultaneously interned with the Executive and Legislative branches, which was an eye-opening experience on how our government really operates.”

“After my semester in D.C.,” Jessica reflected, “I knew I wanted to live here after college.  Two days after graduation,
I moved to D.C. and started my career.”  

Her first job was at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Then, she moved to do policy research on substance abuse issues at a small firm. Before moving the Capitol Hill, Jessica most recently ran a political action committee in the health care industry.

As Jessica worked during the day, she attended law school
at George Mason University School of Law in the evenings. When she wasn’t working or going to school, Jessica was volunteering in politics.

“As an attorney, I volunteered in Alaska last year for the Senate contest and also volunteered as the Election Day Coordinator in Stark County for the Ohio Republican Party,” Jessica said.  “Campaigning is also a passion of mine, and I have volunteered on a Florida State Representative race and Team Ohio.”

LI is offering the Conservative Career Workshop November 15-16, similar to the Capitol Hill Staff Training School that Jessica took last year.  Register now to reserve your spot.
To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at