Anne Hall Brashier is not your typical Washington D.C. insider.
The daughter of John Rodgers and Patricia Brashier, she did not grow up with political aspirations, but she now holds the position of deputy chief of staff for Congressman Trent Kelly, who serves the First District of Mississippi.
As a matter of fact, she was an Exercise Science major at Ole Miss - with thoughts of going to physical therapy school – when on a whim in 2012, she took a summer internship working for then U.S. Senator Thad Cochran.
Her granddad, Rodgers Brashier, had gone to school with Cochran at Ole Miss, and he encouraged her to work the summer job in D.C.
“Before that, I didn’t have an interest in politics,” Brashier said. “I kept up with current events and the news, but I never saw myself doing that.”
Brashier had never run for anything as much as student council, while attending high school at Indianola Academy, and she did not run in any elections during her first three years at Ole Miss.
Then a junior, Brashier said that summer changed the course of her life forever.
“I went up there, and I loved every minute of it, but I was three years into school and an Exercise Science major, and I said, ‘I’m going to stick with PT. That’s what I went to school for, so I’m going to do it.”
Now five-and-a-half years later, Brashier is still in D.C. and right in the thick of politics.
Brashier was eventually accepted into PT school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, but her newfound passion was in D.C., and her calling became more apparent as the weeks moved on.
“(PT school) didn’t start until January,” she said. “Senator Cochran said ‘come back to D.C. and do a fall internship so that you’re not just hanging out for six months. So I went back in August and stayed.”
During the week of Thanksgiving, Cochran’s chief of staff approached her about a position that had just come open, the deputy chief of staff post. He wanted to give Brashier first shot at it.
“I said yes,” she recalled. “I remember when my dad picked me up from the airport, I said “I’m not going to PT school. I’m staying in D.C. and working for Senator Cochran.”
The news did not come as shock to her parents, who could see her growing passion for D.C. politics unfold.
“I just love the action and being in the action that you see on TV everyday,” Brashier said. “You can walk around the Capitol and the Senate and House buildings and there’s senator and congressmen and the secretary of defense, on a day-to-day basis, coming in and out.”
But it isn’t just politics in general that she passionate about.
It’s the fact that she gets to work for thousands of Mississippi constituents everyday.
“I definitely want to stick up for Mississippi,” she said. “I can’t imagine your heart being in it if you’re not fighting for your state.”
That’s a trait she learned from the best in Thad Cochran, a man who for decades did whatever was necessary to bring money and resources to Mississippi.
It’s also a trait of her new boss, who she says, always puts Mississippi constituents ahead of everything else.
“That’s one thing I’ve learned about the ones from Mississippi,” she said. “They want to see their constituents first. There’s so many that grandstand on CNN, Fox or whatever, but Congressman Kelly and most Mississippians are focused on Mississippians. If you’re from Indianola, they want to see you before they get on the national news. We make sure that all of our Mississippians are taken care of on a day-to-day basis.”
Brashier went to work fulltime for Cochran just before he announced his re-election campaign in 2014.
She remained on his staff until January 2018, just a few months before Cochran announced his retirement from the Senate.
Brashier went to work for Kelly, and since then has been promoted to deputy chief of staff. She said she oversees day-to-day operations and serves as his legislative director.
She also acts as the gatekeeper for the busy politician.
“Everything runs through me to kind of decide how the day looks,” Brashier said.
Kelly currently serves on the Armed Services, Agriculture and Small Business committees.
When Kelly was first elected in 2015, he went right to work negotiating the Farm Bill, which just passed the Congress in December, ahead of the government shutdown.
“That was a big accomplishment for the Delta,” Brashier said. “It provides our farmers with more assurances and safety nets, and the government has got their back, whether it be crop insurance or catfish inspection.”
Brashier said she has no aspirations of running for public office, and she said she sees herself one day leaving the rat race in Washington and returning to her home state.
“I want to come back to Mississippi,” she said. “I want to come back to Indianola. I tell my dad all the time I want to come back and farm.”
For now, Brashier remains in the heart of some of the nation’s fiercest battles, one of which led to a prolonged government shutdown that started just after Christmas.
But President Donald Trump’s recently-waged trade wars with countries like China have had the most impact on the Delta.
So far, Brashier said, the President has kept his promise to the farmers in America that farmers suffer the least pain as possible because of tariffs on staple products like soybeans, cotton and corn.
“We’re willing to keep supporting the President as he keeps going through these trade negotiations, in hopes that it does create a fair playing field for our farmers,” she said.
Whatever direction Hall may go in her journey, rest assured, it will be for the betterment of Mississippi.
Brashier’s journey has already taken her down roads she never thought possible, and whatever direction she takes in her career, rest assured, it will be for the betterment of Mississippi.