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Building Congressional Support for Employees One Positive Story At a Time

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At Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Legislative Affairs Specialist Matt Mason talks with TSO Deborah Owens. Photo courtesy of TSA Public AffairsMatthew Mason, a Legislative Affairs Specialist in the Office of Legislative Affairs, organizes TSA’s congressional outreach program to highlight outstanding employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. The program builds congressional support for employees, programs, policies, and other elements of the agency’s counterterrorism mission. Through Mason’s tireless work, members of Congress have recognized TSA employees with letters, floor statements, awards, and airport visits.

The ongoing outreach program connects elected officials with TSA employees offering congressional members a personal interaction with the hard-working, dedicated men and women of TSA.

Mason, who joined TSA in 2009 after working for two members of Congress, also helps TSA award recipients meet their members of Congress.

In addition, Mason handles congressional outreach and inquiries, prepares TSA witnesses for upcoming hearings, schedules briefings with members of Congress and their staff, and identifies key areas of lawmaker interest.

“What I do matters because I carry out TSA’s security mission and vision by educating Congressional staff and members about TSA. On an ongoing basis I try to highlight positive stories regarding extraordinary members of the TSA workforce. A few recent stories include TSOs at Chicago O’Hare preforming life-saving CPR on a passenger, a TSO rescuing a drowning father and daughter in Buffalo, an STSO saving a choking passenger at Minneapolis St. Paul, or a D-AFSD who pulled a woman from a burning car.

“What I find rewarding is to earn recognition on Capitol Hill for those employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. I believe that each one of our positive stories is worth recognition and I work hard to generate the deserving attention on Capitol Hill. For the heroic TSA life-saving story from Chicago O’Hare, Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin and Rep. Tammy Duckworth wrote letters to the TSOs involved, Rep. Janice Schakowsky gave a floor statement, and Rep. Randy Hultgren presented an award at the airport.

“It’s challenging to learn and get a handle on the type of content that most interests the Congress member. I’m always looking for innovative ways to highlight all the incredible things that our employees do, whether at the airport or in the community. I work with Public Affairs to identify stories about the integrity of our employees and share those with others. For example, Officers in Georgia and New York returned money and personal items left behind by passengers. By promoting those good acts, I was able to successfully personalize the efforts of our employees to all of Congress.”

From the Office of Strategic Communications/Public Affairs

Latest revision: 25 October 2013