October 27, 2020 News & Features » Cover Story

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Lauren Schmitt, 36 

Partner, Commonwealth Strategy Group

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Scott Elmquist

What do you want to be when you grow up? A lot of children might answer doctor, firefighter, superhero, rock star. For Lauren Schmitt, it was lobbyist.

“It’s bizarre, I know,” she says.

But dinner-table conversations with a conservative dad and liberal mom taught her that it was OK to disagree. “I feel like we do better when we find compromises and work together,” she says, “rather than one side dominating.”

She caught the political bug from her father, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force and worked on legislative affairs with the military. She graduated from James Madison University in 2007 and attended graduate school for social work policy at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she interned for Aimee Perron Seibert – who founded the lobbying firm for which she now works. She calls Seibert a role model.

Schmitt worked with CSG and then in 2018 for a stint as Gov. Ralph Northam’s deputy legislative director. Back at Commonwealth, she’s taken a lead helping push forward historic legislative reform around predatory lending. She’s also fought to secure funding for the Virginia Mental Health Access Program for children. Just last week, she learned the money made it into the state budget.

Schmitt also serves on the board of Fit4Kids and the Virginia Public Access Project.

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