“At least they don’t offer you the kid’s ticket,” Amelia Schoeneman said about her youthful appearance when she goes to see a movie.
Schoeneman is in her third week as the district representative for Jasper, Mahaska, Keokuk and Marion counties for Rep. Dave Loebsack. She admitted she was nervous when she applied for the job and even more so for her interview.
“I’m so young, I know I’m 23, but I look like I’m 16,” Schoeneman said. “My main worry with the interview was that, ‘I look like I’m 16, I have to look like a soccer mom.’ I went through my entire closet to find the clothing that would make me look most grown-up.
“It was this two-hour process to attempt to look older,” she added jokingly. “I don’t think many people do that in their lives. I was really nervous.”
Schoeneman recently moved to Newton to be closer to the constituent base she helps serve.
“Now, I’m stationed in Newton, which is exciting. More boots on the ground,” Schoeneman said. “They actually asked me to move here. I was living in Des Moines and I said, ‘Sure.’ It’s pretty centrally located for the places that I go for Loebsack.”
As a district representative, she doesn’t help with elections, but instead she provides constituent services for Loebsack.
“If nothing is going on, I’ll go around and introduce myself to people. I let them know who I am and what I do,” Schoeneman said.
Since she started the job, she has made the rounds. She has sat in on Jasper County Board of Supervisors meetings and taken part in Loebsack’s recent stops in Colfax and Newton and has visited the other counties that fall under her jurisdiction.
Despite her young age, Schoeneman is a political veteran and majored in political sciences at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.
“The first political campaign I ever worked on was when my mom had me door knock for (John) Kerry when I was 13. I loved it,” Schoeneman said.
After college, she took a job with a Des Moines-based non-profit organization, which is how she wound up in Iowa. Through a family friend, she discovered the opening to become the fifth district representative to work for Loebsack and the Quad Cities native leaped at the opportunity.
“I really liked hearing other people’s perspectives and just really got into listening to people,” Schoeneman said. “I really wanted to help folks out with whatever issues or concerns they might have. That’s really what this job is. I’m the eyes and the ears on the ground for Congressman Loebsack.”
“I listen to everyone’s concerns,” Schoeneman said. From local residents, to veterans who may have an issue with Social Security benefits, to local businesses that are looking for help with a federal grant. Even counties and cities that need help with a project from the federal level, that’s what really got me interested — I want to help people.”
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.