Staff Snapshots | Jill Turetsky
Dec. 22, 2021 | State Legislatures News | Print
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Role: Director of Senate Media Services
Years of legislative service: 25
The best advice she’s ever received: “Don’t yell, people hear you better when you lower your voice and acknowledge their perspective.”
Why did you choose to work at the legislature?
I moved from New York to Austin, Texas, in 1996. I had just finished an MFA program in photography at Pratt Institute and was looking for a job in my field. A family friend worked for the Texas Historical Commission and told me the Texas Senate was looking to hire for a session-only position in the Media Services department printing black-and-white photographs in the darkroom. I fell in love with Texas and the Legislature and was offered a permanent position at the end of that 75th session.
What skill or talent are you most proud of?
Advancements in technology over the last 25 years changed the way our department records photography, and audio and broadcasts have expanded from video of Senate proceedings to include web livestream. I’m most proud of my adaptability—this was a hidden skill for me. Education and reaching out to experts for advice are key to growing and changing.
Who or what inspires you?
My father inspires me, he is a lifelong learner and active in his community. He took up yoga in his 70s and founded an arts organization that brings live music concerts to his town square, and he received a state grant to open an art gallery/theater. When I was a child, he was an administrator for a program that got New York City kids off the streets and into the schools for the summer. He’s always working to make his community a better place for all people.
What’s one thing you love about your state?
I love the diversity of the landscape and the spirit of the people who are proud to live here. My son just got his driver’s license and we’ve been visiting small towns all around the Hill Country. There is a lot of history in the town squares and pride for bragging rights for the best barbeque.
What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?
I’ve been listening to the music of Charley Crockett. I saw his performance on Austin City Limits and loved the sound of his old-style country music.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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.