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Hill Climbers: Republican Revolutionary

The Republican class of 1994 was a special breed. The GOP’s triumphant return to power is a familiar story to political junkies everywhere, but the moment also had a less notable yet equally powerful effect: the political baptism of a whole generation of Republicans.

[IMGCAP(1)]Alison Lynn counts herself as one of those Republicans. In 1994, Lynn was just a college student, still forming her ideological stance. The revolution helped to complete that process: “It was a very memorable time for me. … It was a time of common-sense conservatism, where the goal of government was to operate the way families do. That really stuck out for me.—

Nowadays, the revolution reverberates for the New Jersey native in more than one way. Last October, Lynn, 35, became communications director for Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who came to Congress in the 1994 election.

Lynn did a number of things before coming to work for Thornberry. After graduating from the University of Florida in 1996, she headed to Washington, D.C., for graduate school and employment.

In 1998, Lynn graduated with a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University. Along the way, she also met her husband, Jason.

Lynn began to hone her political skills with National Media Inc. While there, Lynn worked under political consultant Alex Castellanos and helped create advertising for Republican presidential, gubernatorial, Senatorial and Congressional campaigns. Lynn would rise to become director of political and issue advocacy for the communications firm.

After she left National Media, Lynn held positions in the advocacy organization Citizens for Better Medicare and then the Republican National Committee.

[IMGCAP(2)]In 2003, Lynn returned to the public relations world, becoming assistant vice president for Dittus Communications Inc. After two years with the firm, Lynn left to work as a speechwriter for the secretary of Transportation. That job gave the Republican some bipartisan exposure since she worked for Democrat Norm Mineta.

“He was just the nicest guy,— Lynn said. “He would call me to thank me for speeches I wrote, which isn’t something that secretaries always do. They are very busy.—

Lynn would also work as a speechwriter for Mineta’s successor, Mary Peters.

In 2007, after nearly a decade in Washington, Lynn made her debut on Capitol Hill as communications director for Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas). After nearly a year and a half at that job, Puerto Rico lured Lynn away. She began working for the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration/Office of Gov. Luis Fortuno as the director of strategic communications.

“I had a lot of friends in the Latino community because of my time at the RNC,— Lynn said. “Fortuno ran on a conservative platform in 2008 and won. He’s a rising star, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.—

It required the “perfect storm— to draw her back to the Hill just nine months into her new job at the PRFAA, Lynn said.

“I only wanted to come back if it was with the right Member,— she said. “Mac is now a more senior Member with a lot of bipartisan experience. I knew that I could put my 13 years of experience in Washington to good use with him.—

All of the Thornberry staff refers to the lawmaker on a first-name basis, which Lynn said reflected the approachable manner of her new boss.

Charting this staffer’s chronology in Washington might be a little difficult, but outside of work, Lynn’s life is pretty straightforward. Lynn is still married to the man she met in graduate school and is now mom to two boys: Preston, 4, and Harrison, 2.

When not on the Hill or taking care of her boys, Lynn likes to stay involved in her community. That includes teaching Catholic education classes to first-graders at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Alexandria, Va. Lynn also organizes a monthly women’s book club, or what she calls a “majority mommy club— because nearly all the members are mothers.

The group mixes erudition with fun, too. Lynn said she got turned on to the popular “Twilight— book series through the club. Lynn recently went with her fellow club members to see “New Moon,— the latest movie installment based on the book series.

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