Relishing politics, USF Sarasota-Manatee senior lands job at local congressman’s district office

Senior Elizabeth Nader-Bolles works for Congressman Vern Buchanan.

Senior Elizabeth Nader-Bolles lands a job working for a congressman.

SARASOTA, Fla. (April 23, 2015)  – It’s only fitting that Elizabeth “Libby” Nader-Bolles, a senior at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, would land a job at a district office for Congressman Vern Buchanan.

Nader-Bolles, 22, grew up surrounded by politics. It was an all-consuming topic after school and around the dinner table at her home in Palmetto.

“We were constantly focused on world events and what’s happening in politics,” she said.

Though none in her family ever sought elected office, Nader-Bolles said that some of her earliest memories involve government and politics in some form, from sitting atop her dad’s shoulders at a George W. Bush campaign stop in St. Petersburg to working with her parents and siblings on get-out-the-vote drives.

Married in November, Nader-Bolles says her husband, Josh Nader, is sometimes amazed how quickly ordinary conversations somehow turn to politics.

Chalk it up to her upbringing and studies at USF Sarasota-Manatee, which have her focused on history and political science.

Nader-Bolles has front-row seat to politics and government these days.

She’s a constituent services representative at the congressman’s district office on Manatee Avenue West in downtown Bradenton.

The job is far different from the one she held last fall when she interned as an office assistant, filing papers, answering phones and attending town hall meetings with the congressman, a Republican.

When a full-time position at the office opened up this past spring, she seized on it, applied for and landed the job.

Now she helps constituents who wrestle with problems in their Social Security benefits and Small Business Administration loans, often making calls to the agencies on their behalf.

She also assists federal employees trying to navigate the Office of Personnel Management – the federal equivalent of an HR department.

But sometimes the job has her veering off into tricky situations as well, such as when folks ask about charges on cell phone bills or why their mail wasn’t timely delivered. She said she fields those calls, too, trying to be polite, patient and helpful.

“It’s surprising what people call in and comment about,” she said.

The best part of the new job?

“I enjoy getting to know people in the district,” she said. “I’ve lived here all my life and until I started working here I didn’t know everything the district has to offer, and I like being able to help, especially working with Social Security benefits. There can be a lot of confusion around getting benefits and some people really need help, and it’s nice to provide assistance to them.”

Nader-Bolles will graduate May 3 with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.