Rose Hill native Amy Hensley was recently added to the Washington, D.C., staff of U.S. Sen. Jim Webb as a legislative correspondent.
"I'm proud to have Lee County native Amy Hensley join my legislative team," said Webb. "Amy's background and experience will contribute to the world-class staff that I have recruited to fully serve the needs and interests of the people of Virginia."
In her new job, Hensley will handle issues ranging from homeland security and transportation to agriculture, which Hensley said is one issue with which she can closely relate, as she is truly a farmer's daughter.
Her parents are Edmond and Jacinta Hensley, who still live on and work a Lee County farm near Rose Hill.
Prior to joining the senator's team, Hensley was a research assistant at the Henry L. Stimson Center, where she developed an expertise in homeland security policies. In that position, Hensley said in a recent telephone interview, she analyzed writings to help provide documents for first responders on how to react after disasters - whether they were caused by terrorist activities or by accidents or natural events such as hurricanes and tornadoes.
"I got a lot of experience from that job, and I really enjoyed it," she said. "But I've always been interested in politics and in Virginia politics. This job came across my radar, so I applied and was lucky enough to get it."
Hensley said her work for the senator on homeland security issues will be similar to what she was doing at the Stimson Center but said she is most excited by the prospect of helping work on agriculture issues including helping set policy for the farm bill.
"This will give me the opportunity to give something back and contribute to my roots. My father is a farmer, so I bring an understanding of what farmers - especially those of Southwest Virginia - face. I understand the point of view of a lot of people in Southwest Virginia, and that will be a real advantage in this job. The issues there are very different from those in Northern Virginia and other parts of the state," she said.
Hensley cited strong community support and assistance during her youth as helping her obtain her position and said she hopes to be able to return that support to the community through her position.
As a legislative assistant, Hensley said she will participate in constituent meetings to learn the thoughts and ideas of those the senator serves and then "report that back up the chain."
She will also help research and evaluate legislation that is to be offered to Congress and to make recommendations on those proposals.
"The senator will consider those recommendations and then make his decision on what is the best route for him to go," she said. "A key component for the senator to best represent his constituents is for him to hear their views, and I will help get those views to him."
Hensley attended Emory & Henry College in Emory, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in economics and political science. While at Emory & Henry, she interned at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, helping educate the elderly on their legal rights. She also interned in the office of U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela M. Sargent in Abingdon. Hensley graduated from Thomas Walker High School in Ewing.