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This Week’s LION: Ann Kaufman

This Week’s LION: Ann Kaufman

One of the great mysteries in leadership theory is that no one has come up with a way to predict leadership. Everyone can recognize a leader after they have achieved something worthwhile, but who has the crystal ball to pick that person while they are still a nobody? Maybe someone should interview Congressman Tom Marino because he apparently knows the secret. The evidence is in his campaign manager and district representative, Ann Kaufman.

Ann M. Kaufman is a Williamsport native, whose father owns and operates the Kaufman Funeral Home and Cremation Services located on Northway Road in Williamsport. She attended St. John Neumann High School, graduating in 2010. After high school, she initially pursued studying music, but Ann realized quickly she had a political itch she had to scratch. So, a bachelor’s degree in Government Law and National Security from Misericordia University was followed by a master’s degree from Pittsburgh University in Public and International Affairs. Toying with the idea of working for the FBI or CIA, she cooled toward the idea when picturing years locked into a tiny cubicle pouring over data.

Ann grew up in a family that talked about world affairs around the dinner table and was quite active in politics. So, it was quite natural during her years of schooling for Ann to be an active volunteer in local Republican politics, especially in the campaigns of Tom Marino. After graduating from Pitt, she was offered a position on the campaign, and when the campaign manager moved to Tennessee, Anne was tapped on the shoulder to take over.

If Ann Kaufman is not the youngest person to be campaign manager for a member of the US Congress, she must be one of the youngest. She also might be one of the best. In the 2016 election, in a highly competitive environment, Congressman Marino earned over 70% of the vote, the highest he ever received. This was about 8% higher than the previous election. Obviously, this is a tribute to Congressman Marino and his campaign team, but the chairwoman in her mid-20s who headed up the operation deserves serious recognition.

Ann Kaufman’s day job, however, is serving as the District Representation for the Central District, one of three districts covering the fifteen counties that Congressman Marino represents. She must interact with constituents who have problems with federal programs such as social security, IRS, etc. Most folks would not find this very stimulating work, but Ann loves interacting with people. She finds that connecting with people from all walks of life is what makes life worth living.

At the same time, she must also represent the Representative. Among other things, this means dealing with folks who might be unhappy with Tom Marino. Ann works hard to listen to their concerns, and then attempt to effectively communicate the process of how government works and the congressman’s position. She admits that not everyone comes away in agreement, but at least they realize their voice was heard.

When asked about something she was particularly proud of, Ann quickly mentioned a problem involving the state Medicare program where more funds were being withheld than should have been. Because of a computer glitch, people were not getting the money from the Commonwealth that they expected. She could easily have passed on the issue, given that it was not within the congressman’s purview, but she wanted to help. She looked into it, and the state Medicare office recognized the error and endeavored to work on the problem. It was obvious to Ann that this meant months in the future, and in the meantime, elderly and disabled people living on a fixed income were suffering. Through Congressman Marino’s intervention, the problem was rectified in two weeks.

Ann Kaufman is also working hard to build the next generation of leaders. For that reason, she was one of the driving forces in initiating a Lycoming County Young Republican organization, which is specifically designed to engage the younger generation in supporting candidates and even running for office themselves. On February 10th, serving as chairwoman, she presented the petition to the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg with twice the number of members required. Last year at this time there were nine such chartered YR organizations in Pennsylvania, today there are 31, the fastest growth in the United States.

For those who want to follow a leader like Ann Kaufman, the first meeting of the LCYR will be held at the Lycoming County Republic Party Headquarters, located on the first floor of the Williamsport Building, located on Market Street in Williamsport on February 26th at 7:00 p.m.

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