The following Congress.gov interview is a guest post by Kelly Yuzawa, a specialist in legislative information systems management within the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress. Read the Congressional Tribute to Juanita Campbell.
Briefly describe your 42 years at the Library of Congress and CRS.
My 42 years at the Library of Congress have provided opportunities for growth, challenges, transition, preparation, development, and learning how to remain flexible. Change, change, and more change is the best way to describe my career at the Library of Congress. I wanted to learn everyone’s job in my unit and actually did just that. Later, I realized this fascination prepared me for what I would later be called to do in CRS. I was part of a great team of professionals, who are responsible for the quality control and data integrity of the legislative information we receive each day from the House, Senate, and GPO.
I have worked in every building on Capitol Hill–including the old building on Massachusetts Avenue, which is now an apartment building. I came to CRS after working almost a year at the National Union Catalog. My career in CRS started in the Economics Division as an editorial assistant. Back then, our typography and typesetting involved typed reports, speeches, and charts created for the analysts using a typewriter and five-copy carbon paper. I was so glad when we got our first word processors!
How would you describe your job as Supervisor for Quality Control and Data Management?
I could not have been successful as a supervisor without an excellent team of legislative information specialists. Over the years, we have had many assignments that needed to be completed each day, and it took teamwork to accomplish this.
To be clear, not only are we responsible for quality control and the receipt of data from the House, Senate, and GPO, we are also responsible for adding Congressional Record page citations to legislative information. In addition, we maintain a database of congressional staff contact information used by CRS analysts and information specialists.
What was your favorite part of the job?
I enjoyed working with people and serving others. I was able to serve Congress, CRS, and the world through THOMAS, the Legislative Information System, and Congress.gov. I took great joy in ensuring that legislative information be available, accurate, and in the system before Congress starts their day. I also enjoyed working collaboratively with our partners in the House and Senate to make sure this happened.
What was the most difficult part of the job and how did you handle those challenges?
Balancing everything was a challenge for me because I was responsible for reviewing the work, checking data, and training, in addition to performing administrative tasks. I had to start early and stay late because the work that we do is something that must be completed by the end of each day. As such, I set priorities to make sure that everything was done on time. I was never bored, and I truly did enjoy my work. It was challenging, yet rewarding.
What is the most interesting fact you learned about the legislative process while working at CRS?
When I trained, I always told the team that things are subject to change. I learned something new at the beginning of every Congress. So, we had to be flexible since the rules changed from Congress to Congress and from chamber to chamber. I loved watching how Congress resolved their differences through the ping pong process. Again, I was always learning something new.
What’s the secret to a long, happy career in the federal government and what are your plans for the future?
The secret is to always see the best in people, learn something new each day, share your knowledge with others, and look for opportunities to help others along their journey.
I’m looking forward to spending time with my daughter, family, friends, and my grandchildren who are both in high school. I’m also looking forward to working with abused women around the world. I’m planning to start a women’s Bible study and continue to encourage women through my ministry.
I plan to spend time in Australia with the ministry I have been working with for more than 10 years: Harvest Time Ministries. You don’t ever retire from life. Work continues; it’s just a different type of work.