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York College Political Science grad finds herself in ‘heart of politics in Pennsylvania’

 Naomi George stands in the rotunda at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building.
Naomi George stands in the Rotunda at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building.

Naomi George went straight from the halls of YCP to the halls of government. The transition was seamless, because when she graduated from York College in 2018 with a BA in Political Science, she had already begun working at her job while still in school. Shortly before she was awarded her degree, she began working with the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) in Harrisburg. Throughout the spring semester, she worked two days a week in Harrisburg and took classes the other three days.

Naomi is a legislative assistant and lobbyist for the Bar Association. On a daily basis during the year since graduation, she has kept tabs on legislation related to just about every aspect of the law.

“Any time the House or Senate is in session, my co-workers and I head to the Capitol,” she says. “We go to committee meetings with the bills we’re tracking.” It’s a continuation of the work she started during college. But even before that, Naomi was building the foundation for her first job with three internships in Harrisburg, the first after graduation from Big Spring High School near Carlisle.

A wealth of experience

“I interned at a lobbying firm and got my feet wet to see what lobbying was. I thought I might like to do it as a career,” Naomi says. She attended Hofstra University in New York, then transferred to York College after one semester “to be closer to Harrisburg and the heart of politics in Pennsylvania.”

The next summer, she interned at the state Department of Banking and Securities, where she wrote for the Communications Office. The following summer, she was an intern at a lobbying firm where she learned how to gather information about pending legislation.

“Almost every day I watched the Senate or House session. It was a great experience to learn how legislation really works,” she says.

Anyone would be fortunate to enjoy a job as much as Naomi does. “It’s pretty exciting,” she says. “I spend most of the day at the Capitol. At the office, the PBA has a political action committee, and we get lots of fundraiser requests that legislators are hosting. I monitor all of those.”

With the PBA’s purview spanning all aspects of the law, Naomi might track bills on animal, family or health law. She spends a lot of time in legislative committee meetings and monitors floor discussions of bills that the PBA is following.

Working with the director of the PBA’s Legislative Department and a legislative counsel, she helps prepare reports to keep PBA members up to date on bills the association is tracking. She also writes for association’s publication.

Career preparation

York College let Naomi study close to home. She also found that her professors and projects gave her solid preparation for what she deals with daily at work. The professor in her State and Local Government class was the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of State. “I appreciated his real-world experience in the field,” she says.

A course in News Media taught her about bias in the presentation of stories, and she learned about electioneering in the class Campaigns, Parties, and Elections. She spent a lot of time digging in the archives for a major research project on the history of female elected officials in York County. “Having to collect all my thoughts in a big paper was very helpful for the job I do now,” she says.

Fighting a good fight

While the swirl of activity is exciting, Naomi says the difficulty of getting legislation passed, something that’s out of her control, is sobering. “Any bill that doesn’t make it across the finish line in two years must be introduced the next session,” she explains. “Something like 400 bills are passed out of thousands. It’s a big victory when we can get bills passed.”

So, Naomi and her team soldier on. “We’re always trying to identify a few initiatives we want to work on each year,” she says. But even coming to an agreement on an issue in the Bar Association can be challenging. “We have to take an official position before we can lobby,” she says. “Four hundred lawyers have to approve the policy. There’s a lot of internal process before it’s our official policy.”

But once that stand is taken, it’s back to the marble corridors of power. “Then we go to the Capitol to get it done,” she says.

Explore the political science program at York College.