Senior Advisor to the House Committee on Homeland Security and IMPACT Co-Founder Angela Rye dishes on her love of politics, founding the organization and how we can all contribute to helping D.C.'s public education system.
When did you first realize you loved the law and politics? Well, I’ve known I wanted to be a lawyer since the age of six when I and couldn’t even spell it correctly. I wasn’t really into politics until I got to law school and joined the National Black Law Students' Association. I was exposed to so much and during my last semester I interned with Congressman Maxine Waters, which was such a phenomenal experience. I worked with a few non- profits and then went to the Hill in 2007.
You’re the co-founder for one of the most popular and well respected organizations for young professionals in D.C. Why did you start Impact? We started Impact because we saw a major need for young professionals to connect on a bigger level. There were a lot of happy hours, but nothing to really connect people strategically. We host events that revolve around our three core principals: civic engagement, economic empowerment and political involvement. To us, the nexus of those three things is really what makes you successful as a young professional in the nation's capitol.
Education has become a huge subject in the national media, especially D.C. public schools. How do you think we can change our system? As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, so it has to be more than just the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. The teachers and students need to take responsibility too. In order for us to see a real difference, we have to start with the school first. Everyone will have to make sacrifices to see some change happen.
You serve as a senior advisor to the homeland security committee and run an organization among other things. What’s a regular day like for you? No day is ever the same. I usually try to start out my day by checking emails. I really don’t like to let 24 hours go by without responding to someone. Sometimes I’m preparing for a hearing, multiple meetings, traveling, an IMPACT event -- it’s always something different.
How do you find time to balance everything? When I find it, I’ll share it. I try to have fun -- the things that bring you joy are so important to have. I also stay grounded by my relationship with God, family and friends.
You’ve been working on the Hill since 2007, a few years before the Obama administration. How have things changed? There’s a lot of new energy and so many more young people. I love how the youth have become so involved in politics since he took office. I’m always meeting someone new as well. D.C. has definitely become more exciting.
What’s next for you? I hope to continue being well established, looking down the road in ten years I hope to have my student loan debt paid off, to be a wife, mother, find a balance and continue to make an IMPACT.