While lawyers often work in politics, a number of current and former paralegals have also ventured into the political environment. Current and former paralegals have made an impact on politics at the federal, state, and local levels. Indeed, there are a variety of different career opportunities for paralegals.
Michael Strautmanis – White House Staff
Michael Strautmanis is the White House Chief of Staff to the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Engagement. He practiced complex litigation and employment law in Chicago before joining the Clinton Administration at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Strautmanis started his legal career as a paralegal at the Sidley, Austin law firm, where he met the Obamas. He later received a J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Melissa Haluszczak – Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives
Melissa Haluszczak challenged long-time incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle for the U.S. House of Representatives representing Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District. In the November 2010 midterm elections, Doyle soundly defeated Haluszczak winning 69% of the votes cast versus 28% votes cast for Haluszczak. Haluszczak, a paralegal from Coraopolis, has never held elected office and she says she isn’t beholden to her party, describing herself as a small “R” Republican. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Haluszczak was a tea party organizer in 2009 and that she favors repeal of the federal health insurance reform and supports extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, including those to rich Americans, whom she calls the “job creators.” She advocates tough immigration legislation with no amnesty for illegal aliens and would like to see the overturn of the Roe v. Wade abortion decision.
Amanda Reeve – Arizona House of Representatives
Amanda Reeve was appointed to the Arizona House of Representatives on February 17, 2010 to replace outgoing Representative Sam Crump. She represents Legislative District 6, which is a diverse district stretching from Moon Valley to New River and 40th Street to 51st Avenue. In the November 2010 election, Reeve, a Republican, won re-election to the Arizona House of Representatives. Reeve won with 37% of the votes cast defeating Carl Seel who won 34% and Teri Conrad who won 23%. In addition to being a State Representative, Amanda is a paralegal for an Environmental and Natural Resources client-service practice at Polsinelli Shughart, P.C. She has experience in Superfund defense and cost recovery, hazardous-waste defense, environmental-insurance recovery, and a multitude of other complex litigation.
Gwen M. Bruns – Springfield (MA) School Board Member
Gwen Bruns, a full-time mother of two young children, and a former litigation paralegal, was elected to the Springfield (Massachusetts) School Committee in June 2008. The Spring School Committee (similar to a school board) sets school policy, hires, evaluates and may fire the superintendent and reviews and passes the annual budget and supplementary budgets. It also approves the curriculum, the discipline policy, and textbooks, and negotiates and approves contracts for buses and personnel.