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Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants



Becky Jensen Tallent

In the summer of 2003 we hadn't yet spent much time shooting on the House side, but we heard that these three Congressmen were going to introduce an unusual immigration bill. That's when we met Becky, who was working for Rep. Jim Kolbe, an 11 term Congressman from Arizona. Becky was new to immigration as an issue-- her background was in resource & energy issues-- but she and her colleague, Margaret Klessig, came up with an inventive approach that snagged John McCain as a Senate cosponsor and caught the White House's eye.

Becky started working on Capitol Hill in 2001 for Sen. McCain, then went to the House side to work for Congressman Kolbe. In 2005 Becky and Margaret were reunited when the first bicameral, bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill was introduced. That bill brought together several offices we‘d been filming with, including Sen. McCain, Sen. Kennedy and Rep. Gutierrez. By the end of that year Becky returned to Senator McCain's staff, this time to work primarily on immigration policy.

Like many staffers, Becky wasn't working on the issue which brought her to DC, but she became a major force behind every major immigration bill since 2003. These days Becky is John McCain's legislative director.

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