Working With the People

Lawmakers roll up their sleeves to work alongside their constituents in a variety of jobs, including convenience stores.

December 07, 2018

WASHINGTON – From UPS deliveries to making espressos at Starbucks, U.S. representatives and senators have worked side by side with their constituents in one day gigs cross the country, Congressional Quarterly reports.

Through the NACS In Store program, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), got behind the counter at a Dandy Mini Mart. For his part, Reed has no problem ditching the coat and tie for a store uniform. NACS In Store brings convenience and fuel industry retailers, members of Congress, and communities together by offering U.S. legislators the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of our industry and local c-store operations.

Many companies and trade associations like NACS organize shifts at stores, usually sans members of the media to keep everyone comfortable. However, congressional members usually promote their appearances after their shift ends.

Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) has taken moonlighting to the extreme, claiming to have “worked” at more than 400 jobs over the past three decades. Graham has been a bricklayer, jet pilot and theater actor. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) was a driver-helper for UPS over the summer, and said she learned the “proper lifting and proper handling of a package as you get off of a truck.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) pulled a stint as a Starbucks barista. “Learning how to mix these drinks and do it with speed ... it gives you an appreciation of how hard they work,” she said.

Reed said the best thing these “jobs” does for lawmakers is gives them a chance to meet people from all walks of life. “It’s something different and something fun because you’re right there with employees,” he said.