Friday, April 10, 2009

Staff Profile: Melissa Cavanaugh, Legal Counsel

Melissa Cavanaugh, Minority Leader Brad Jones’ Legal Counsel has spent much of her adult life working at the State House. In fact, Cavanaugh began working in the Republican Leader’s office as an intern back in 2000. Intrigued by government and law, the North Andover native went on to attend law school at Suffolk University, where she graduated with a JD in 2006.

Cavanaugh’s experiences on Beacon Hill range from being an intern for now retired Representative Mary Rogeness to being an office assistant while attending law school full time. Now, the married attorney conducts legal research on various issues of concern to the Minority Leader and the caucus. When the House isn’t in session, you can find Melissa reading and analyzing pieces of legislation filed by other members. She offers a legal interpretation of the language to the Minority Leader and in some cases she throws in her own opinion on a particular issue. Additionally, Cavanaugh researches and drafts legislation in the areas of Public Safety, the Judiciary, and Ethics. Because of her legal expertise, she played a significant role during the Joint and House Rules Debate and Ethics Legislation. A jack of all trades, she also works with the Budget Director and Policy Analysts to analyze the state budget.

Cavanaugh says her father, who is a small business owner is the kind of person she thinks about when reflecting back to why she got involved in state government. She says she always noticed the impact of government, both good and bad, on the lives of hard-working citizens. Cavanaugh wanted to get involved to hopefully impact the lives of those hard-working citizens, like her dad, in a positive way. As far as her education is concerned, she went to law school because she felt that it would give her the tools necessary to help people in ways that they simply cannot help themselves.