Staff Snapshots | Jessica Harmon
July 29, 2021 | State Legislatures News | Print
For its “Staff Snapshots” series, State Legislatures News is asking legislative staff about their role in the legislature. If you’d like to suggest a staffer for this series, please email Holly South at NCSL.
Hometown: Jellico, Tenn.
Title: Director, Office of Fiscal and Management Analysis, Indiana Legislative Services Agency
Years of legislative service: 13
The best advice she’s ever received: “Find your sanctuary.” It can be an activity or a physical place—anything that provides you with the ability to refresh, recharge, contemplate and reflect.
Why did you choose to work at the legislature?
I became interested in the work that nonpartisan fiscal staff do for state legislatures while I was a graduate student at the University of Kentucky. One of my professors had served as the chief economist for Kentucky’s Legislative Research Commission. She had some fascinating stories to share, but I was really drawn to her passion to provide the legislators with credible, reliable, objective research. She impressed upon me the need for this type of public service, and I have pursued this path ever since.
What skill or talent are you most proud of?
I have been told that I’m a good listener, and I have found that listening is paramount to leading.
Who or what inspires you?
My children inspire me to be the best version of myself that I can be. I love how determined, courageous, energetic and thoughtful they are.
What’s one thing you love about your state?
Indiana has a beautiful statehouse. I feel fortunate to work in such a lovely and historic place every day.
What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?
My husband and I enjoyed watching the show “Lost” when it originally aired. We have started watching the show again and l listen to a podcast, called “Lost: Down the Hatch,” that recaps each episode. I regularly listen to anything by Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn. I also enjoy Broadway musicals like “Hamilton” and anything by Stephen Sondheim. I’m currently reading “The Poppy War,” by R.F. Kuang.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.