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Congressional Fellowship Introduces Auditor to the Legislative Process

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DCAA’s Corporate Audit Manager Jacque Hlavin spent 2019 as a Congressional Fellow working for Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D – FL) as a policy advisor. This opportunity was possible through the Brookings Legislative Fellowship Program.  Her first two weeks in the program were a “boot camp” on how Congress works. Then she was off to work in the Congressman’s office where she was responsible for writing bills and amendments, meeting with the Congressman’s constituents, preparing remarks for hearings and meetings, and performing special projects. 

During her time in the Congressman’s office, she was involved in several highly important issues.  First, she wrote three amendments for the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), one of which was for the repeal of the Defense Cost Accounting Standards Board.  Through the support of Congressman Hastings and a lot of coordination and coalition building, the amendment was voted into the House NDAA, made it through conference committee, and was signed into law.  “I can actually say I was the originator of an amendment that became law,” stated Jacque. Another issue she worked and is extremely proud of is developing and implementing a roundtable in the Congressman's district for Youth Mental Health and Suicide.  This represented work with Florida state and county governments, youth organizations, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  The roundtable brought this issue to front and center, not only why it is an issue, but how the gap could be bridged between schools and students to ensure students are aware of available assistance.

Now that she is back working at DCAA, she is able to apply skills she learned in the Congressman’s office to her current position.  One lesson she learned is it did not matter whether you were in a Democratic or Republican office, if you learned to hear the underlying message then you could shape a bill both parties could support.  She applies this lesson at DCAA, as she explained, by “listening to what the issues are for both a requestor of an audit and the contractor.  Find out what their needs and wants are, including those they might not expressly tell you, consider your position, and then work together to get the best for the taxpayer.”