Originally published in the DC Spotlight: http://www.dcspotlight.com/features/metro-link/top-10-3-jacqueline-pelt-hometown-girl-takes-congress-to-the-community/
Political acumen, diligence and time-management are all important qualities to possess when running a local campaign. Luckily for Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), she has a skilled and hard-working campaign coordinator whose passion for helping her community enables her to meet each of these standards.
Meet Jacqueline Pelt.
In 2009, after retiring from a 34-year career with the Internal Revenue Services, Pelt began working for Rep. Norton. The born-and-raised Washingtonian started off as a volunteer, offering her assistance at Norton’s free one-day Annual Tax and Financial Services Fair. The fair, which provides free tax-preparation services for D.C.’s low- and moderate-income residents, is where Norton first noticed Pelt’s character, expertise, and work ethic.
“Once she found out I was retired, that kind of made me perfect for the position,” said 59-year-old Pelt.
Since then, Pelt has been staying busy fundraising, scheduling events, and tackling smaller day-to-day developments.
“It’s a lot of little things you have to stay on top of when you’re managing a campaign,” Pelt said. “The worst part, I would say, would be meeting deadlines, but I manage to get it done.”
However, Pelt’s job is not all sweat and grind. Being Norton’s campaign coordinator has brought her some remarkable moments.
“The best part [of the job] would be attending a lot of events, meeting a lot of people, and networking,” said Pelt. “My favorite memory was attending … a town hall meeting. [I was] sitting behind the president on-stage. That was just indescribable … It was on CNN so my family got to watch me. It was just electrifying.”
For Pelt, an additional advantage of working for Norton is the satisfaction she receives from helping the District’s underprivileged. Even if she weren’t running the campaign, Pelt would still want to serve the general public.
“I would be doing more training for volunteers to assist the needy with the free income tax service. I’m passionate about that because it’s a service … that low-income residents of the District really, really appreciate. When you can provide a free service and the recipient of that service appreciates it, it feels good,” said Pelt. “[People] have to be trained specifically for this … and that’s one of my passions. When I have free time, I look to have more students trained, so I can help more people.”