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Staff Snapshots | Tara Boockholdt

April 30, 2020

What’s your role in the legislature?

I staff several committees and, as nonpartisan staff, answer questions from our representatives related to topics within those committees, such as Medicaid, public health, nursing homes and graduate medical education. 

Why did you choose to work at the legislature?

During high school, I developed a passion for the political process and knew I wanted to study political science. During my master’s program, I was hired by the Georgia Senate Budget and Evaluation Office and began to learn about and work with the state budget. Having now worked in both the House and Senate budget offices in Georgia, I have developed a strong understanding of the budget and think of it as a constantly evolving puzzle that I love trying to figure out.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?

I love that almost every day of my job is different, and I’m constantly learning about new policies and topics. Whether it is a unique representative request or a new bill that has dropped, it is always a quick rush to learn as much as possible about an issue.

What has been your greatest challenge or frustration?

As much as I enjoy the political process, it can be frustrating to work hard on collecting research and developing recommendations for an issue that is then either dropped for political reasons or morphed into something different than envisioned. It is an assumed part of being nonpartisan staff, but it is still disappointing when it happens.

What work are you proud of?

A couple of years ago, Georgia discovered that it had one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. Through the health budget, the legislature has managed to greatly increase funding for maternal health initiatives in hospitals and communities. This work has also led to the current House Study Committee on Maternal Mortality, which is spending this off-session studying the issue and developing future recommendations for Georgia. I staff and provide the research for both the health budget and the study committee and am proud of what we have been able to do so far. 

When you are not working, what might we find you doing?

Outside of the office, you can usually find me hanging out at home or at a park with my family. Between my husband and I, our 2-year-old daughter, three dogs, and a second daughter on the way, it can sometimes get a little chaotic, but I love it.

How are you staying resilient during the pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic started two weeks after I gave birth to my second daughter. Now with a newborn, a 2-year-old and a teleworking husband at home with me during maternity leave, our main goal each day is to keep structure in our day-to-day routine. We would not be surviving without our daily walks, evenings in the backyard and taking time to cook meals together. We’re trying to look on the bright side and appreciate the family time we’ve been given.

For its “Staff Snapshots” series, State Legislatures News is asking legislative staff about their role in the legislature. To suggest a staffer for this series, please use the email icon above to contact Holly South.

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