NAME: Nicole Mahrt
JOB TITLE: Public Affairs Director of the Western Region of the American
Capitol Weekly: How did you wind up at AIA?
Nicole Mahrt: In college I wanted to be a psychologist but I got a C in
psychology and an A in government so I switched majors. Then, I did an
internship at the end of college on a statewide campaign for Treasurer and,
then, ended up working for the Legislature. Eventually, I did a
gubernatorial campaign and worked for Pete Wilson at the Trade and Commerce
Agency and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Then I went to a PR
firm and then to AIA, and I have been at AIA for six years.
CW: What are the current legislative issues that you are keeping a close eye
NM: Worker’s compensation is a key issue for us. When I came to AIA they
said we are always working on worker’s comp reform. It has been fun to be
part of the effort to gear up for reforms, see reforms, and now we are
trying to protect the reforms. That has been my main responsibility over the
last six years: educating the media about the [reform] issues.
CW: Does the Governor’s bond proposal have any implications for the
NM: I think the most important thing about the bonds is that we support the
Governor and the Legislature’s desire to fix the levees. I think certainly
Katrina has brought up a lot of issues and made everybody look at their
flood protection. Making sure that something gets done with the levees is
the most important thing that can come out of that, protecting health,
safety and property. We certainly support the governor and Legislature in
CW: What do you like to do with your free time?
NM: I have an old house and I am currently in the process of remodeling it
so that is taking up any free time I have. I am constantly at Lowe’s and
Home Depot and obsessively talking about home fixtures and things like that.
I have two dogs, a Labrador and Golden Retriever mix, so I am always doing
things with them. Also, sadly, I do like reality TV. I will admit to
watching American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.
CW: Have you ever been hurt on the job?
NM: No I haven’t, but I previously walked with a herniated disk so I was
proud of that. I thought that was true commitment to my cause. But no, I
haven’t been injured on the job. I have had death threats though. In 1994,
when the Worker’s Comp reforms were going on I had a couple people send me
e-mails that were not very kind. I felt bad that those people disagreed with
me but I believed in what we were doing and I believed that the system
needed to be fixed