Environmental Leadership Spring Break Trip

Environmental Leadership Blog Entry: Balancing Act

Sarah Cardwell

On March 11th the Environmental Leaders adjourned to Capitol Hill to meet with Danielle Beck, a Republican congressional staffer for third-term Congressman Tom Rooney representing the seventeenth district of Florida. Ms. Beck, originally from Plymouth, Massachusetts, initially came to DC as a student at The Catholic University of America with the intention to study German. In her first semester she defaulted into an American government class, and to her surprise she enjoyed it. From that point forward her appetite for politics grew as she enhanced her political experience with an array of internships. Two weeks after college graduation, Beck began working for Representative Rooney.

The Environmental Leaders were fortunate to spend an hour with Ms. Beck in Representative Rooney’s congressional office as she delineated her responsibilities as a congressional staffer.  She shared her focuses, which include the environment, animal welfare, and agriculture. The 17th district of Florida is a rural coastal district. As a congressional Republican, Rooney must balance party ties and the views of environmentally concerned citizens when combating environmental issues.

Ms. Beck stressed the vital importance of being informed on the environmental and agricultural issues she presents to Representative Rooney. In this regard, Ms. Beck exemplifies Dwight Eisenhower’s leadership characteristic of doing thorough homework: “Another quality common to leaders is their willingness to work hard, to prepare themselves, to know their field of activity thoroughly.” Two issues paramount in Ms. Beck’s work for Representative Rooney are his stance on the revised Farm Bill and the protection of the Scrub Jay, a federally listed endangered species since 1987.

At twenty-five years old Ms. Beck provided the environmental leaders with a few words of relevant advice for their post-graduation careers: take advantage of as many opportunities as you can and pursue what you enjoy. She also touched upon her future interests involving educational opportunities for children with disabilities.