From the Adirondacks to the Senate

Charlotte Ward (Photo provided)

In November, like many recent college graduates, Charlotte Ward returned home for Thanksgiving. Unlike most college graduates, she came back with her new boss, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, in tow.

Ward is a native of Jay and a correspondence assistant in Schumer’s office. On the day before Thanksgiving, the senator and his staff were in the area for Schumer’s annual visit to Essex and Franklin counties. That day, they visited the Wild Center in Tupper Lake and the Lake Placid Center for the Arts — two places where Ward spent a lot of time in her adolescence.

“It was very full-circle and so moving just because the places that we visited I had grown up in,” Ward said. “I spent a lot of time at the LPCA, I attended concerts, musicals there. Our school took us on field trips there a lot and I was part of a couple of musicals there myself … it was so full-circle and I couldn’t believe what was happening.”

Ward, 22, is a graduate of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She has a degree in policy studies, specializing in business and government. Before college, she was a student at Keene Central School, where she helped start the Model United Nations team as her senior project. Ward had planned to go into foreign relations when she started college, but after taking a class on public policy, she realized her true passion was domestic matters. She switched her major and started thinking about working in Washington.

The summer after her sophomore year of college, Ward had her first encounter with her future boss, babysitting Schumer’s grandson during his family vacation to the Adirondacks.

Charlotte Ward and Sen. Chuck Schumer visit the Lake Placid Center for the Arts on Nov. 22, 2023. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

“I didn’t know (it was Schumer’s grandson) ahead of time, but I was pleasantly surprised because at the time I really looked up to Senator Schumer,” she said. “They treated me really well, really respectful, and it was great seeing them so thoroughly enjoy the Adirondacks and go into the community.”

In the summer of 2022, after her junior year of college, Ward applied for several internships at the state and federal levels. She got a call back from Schumer’s office offering her a legislative internship in Washington.

“The internship was, I like to think, successful,” she said. “I had one more semester of college (after that). I graduated early and I was going to come back to do another internship and instead, I was hired. I was very, very happy to return. … It’s beyond my wildest dreams to end up in D.C.”

Ward currently works in Schumer’s office reading constituent emails. She also helps the office’s legislative correspondents with editing and meetings. She said that working on Capitol Hill was always a goal of hers, one she feels “fortunate” to have achieved so early in her career.

“What’s very exciting is being around a bunch of young people who are on their A-game and just so passionate and focused about the issues they cover. Here I feel like people get excited about coming into work and it’s so inspiring coming out of college and seeing that and having hope for the nation,” Ward said. “It’s exciting as a person who loves policy to be able to go to the Senate and watch from the galleries landmark legislation be passed. When I was an intern, that was the summer of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act for schools, so incredibly neat.”

In the future, Ward hopes to continue working in the sphere of public policy, eventually going back to school to get a Master’s of Business Administration or Master’s of Public Administration. For now, though, she’s appreciating every second she spends in Schumer’s office.

“I’m trying to focus on being so grateful for where I am right now and I will go wherever this journey in policy takes me in the Senate. I just completed my first year, so I’m really happy where I am,” she said.

Though she is living her dream in Washington, she said it is her childhood in the Adirondacks that helped her develop a strong work ethic and a sense of duty.

“Our communities are able to thrive because of the skill and dedication each person contributes. When I came to D.C. for my internship, I wanted to emanate the grit, perseverance, caring and wholehearted attitude I had been taught growing up,” Ward said. “I want more young people to feel empowered by a unique background and go out into the world prideful about their abilities. I’m thankful for my family, friends and the greater Adirondack community. I’ll never forget where I come from and I hope I’ll be able to give back to the community one day.”


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