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Staff Snapshots | Melvette Hill

  • Hometown: Currently living in Danbury, Conn.; born and raised in New York City.
  • Role: Director of parent leadership and family civic engagement at the Connecticut General Assembly.
  • Years of legislative service:  Seven and a half.

“Seeing students learning about civics, how our democracy works and thinking about careers in government inspires me and gives me hope for our future.”

Melvette Hill Connecticut

Why did you choose to work at the Legislature?

It was totally unexpected. I was presented with an opportunity to work on family policy and provide access and opportunity for parents, particularly to engage in government and systems change. This was manifest through our Parent Leadership Training Institute, a family civics initiative of the state of Connecticut, and through my work and collaboration in our two-generational initiative—a family economic mobility strategy.

What skill or talent are you most proud of?

I am a great listener, which makes me an excellent moderator and facilitator of panels, discussions and forums at our legislative office building. I am also able to really hear what families are saying to me about how various policy issues affect their ability to pursue their dreams, feed their families or navigate complicated support systems. Aside from policy work, moderating is one of my favorite things to do.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

“Be yourself, be a leader.” My mother told me that when I was in elementary school to encourage to me to be my own person and not give in to peer pressure. It has also given me permission to show up in this world and in legislative spaces as my authentic self.

Who or what inspires you?

Right now, I am most inspired by our child and youth leaders in Connecticut. Seeing students learning about civics, how our democracy works and thinking about careers in government inspires me and gives me hope for our future. I am enamored when I see young people testifying at public hearings and using their voices to encourage leaders to acknowledge their concerns.

What’s one thing you love about your state or territory?

I love the diversity of our state—the people, the communities, the opportunities. We are a small but mighty state. We are known to be the “land of steady habits,” and people think we are stuck in our ways, but dare I say that we are steadily innovating and many times are first in the country on policy issues.

What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?

I read like I am still in college. I have a stack of books I am currently reading. A few are “The Political Determinants of Health,” by Daniel Dawes; “Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation,” by Adrienne Maree Brown; and my daughter’s newly released poetry book, “Compilations of My Mind and Past,” by Mikayla Hill.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Use the email icon above to suggest a legislative staffer for the “Staff Snapshots” series.

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