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Hill Climbers: Off the Field and Into the Office

Amanda Maddox Had Always Wanted to Be A Sports Broadcaster, But Fate Landed the Georgian on the Hill

Amanda Maddox did not plan on working in Congress. At first, she wanted to be a sportscaster.

“I wanted to be Erin Andrews,” she said, referencing the popular ESPN correspondent.

Instead, the Georgia native ended up in a much different job as deputy press secretary for Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.).

Maddox has always been an active participant in and fan of athletics. She played soccer and volleyball and ran cross-country in high school. However, she has always been, at heart, a football fan. 

“In the South, football is king,” she said. 

While growing up, she spent weekends driving to and from Athens to cheer on the Bulldogs at University of Georgia football games. When she began studying at the college in 2006, she maintained her sportscaster aspirations and majored in communications studies while working both on screen and behind the scenes at her local television station.

Although she has always had a side interest in politics and studied it in college, her switch from sports broadcasting to political communications was unexpected. 

“My only experience with politics and the whole press aspect of it was C.J. on the ‘West Wing,’” she joked. 

But as soon as she started her internship at the office of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) this past January, she knew that was what she wanted to do. 

“My second day of work, I emailed my dad and said, ‘Hate to break it to you, but I’m not leaving,’” she said.

While interning at Chambliss’ office, she continued to take on more communications responsibilities.

Since joining Hayworth’s team, Maddox has had to adjust. In addition to continuing to adapt to the world of political communications, she’s now learning about a new Congressional district in a state far from where she grew up.

“I’ve had to completely learn the district,” she said, including local industry and news outlets. She said she’s handled the switch pretty well, although she still hears local reporters and colleagues comment on her Southern accent.

But she’s not completely starting over. Maddox has found she is able to use the skills that she learned while studying communications at her new job. 

“Daily, I’m pitching news stories to national and local press,” she said. “I know what they want to hear, and I know what will catch their attention.” 

Additionally, her specialized background in broadcast journalism has come in handy when dealing with new media and television appearances. “I go to the studios, and I know what looks good and what doesn’t,” she said.

Maddox plans to go to graduate school in the near future to study communications. At the same time, she wants to keep gaining experience in political communications and hopes to become a press secretary or communications director.

And she now has a new dream job.

“I want to work for the White House,” she said. “I would love to be their social secretary.”

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