Despite promises of a “post-partisan” America, the divisive nature of 21st century politics is unattractive to many young people. But shortly after graduating from Colorado State University, Mallori McClure immediately moved to Washington, D.C., to begin a career inside the beltway. She believes it’s time for people her age to take a stand, and McClure did not hesitate when she got her chance to make an impact.

“Alexander Hamilton said that those who stand for nothing fall for anything,” McClure told The Heritage Foundation. “We can stand up for conservative principles and the founding principles that made our nation great.”

As a legislative assistant for Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), McClure is on the front lines of the daily political battles that shape our nation’s government. Yet she also feels fortunate to be helping her congressman represent Colorado Springs, where she spent most of her childhood.

“I love what I’m doing right now and all the issues that I’m working on,” McClure said. “It’s unique and fun to work for your home district – people call the office and I know them. I’m so far away, but I still feel pretty connected.”

McClure attended Colorado State on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, completing three and a half years of the program before leaving for medical reasons. With the possibility of a military career behind her, she decided to take her political science degree to the nation’s capital, where she interned for Sen. Wayne Allard, who spent 12 years in U.S. Senate before deciding against seeking re-election in 2008. After becoming a staff assistant for the Republican Policy Committee, she moved over to Rep. Lamborn’s office. Even though it’s been an unusually lonely two years for Republicans in Washington, McClure believes she’ll be joined by many more like-minded politicians and staffers in the coming months.

“We’re all really excited and looking forward to November,” she said. “I was just home in the district a couple weeks ago. Colorado’s kind of crazy when it comes to politics, and it shows us that we can’t predict anything and it will be a wild ride, but the American people are definitely anti-establishment and anti-incumbent right now, and we’re going to see a change.”

McClure credits The Heritage Foundation for making her job easier with extensive research that she often relays to her boss.

“I knew about Heritage, but not until I got to D.C. did I realize how valuable they can be and how much they know and how willing they are to work with staffers,” McClure explained. “I use a lot of their resources when I’m making policy recommendations.”

In the age of thousand-page bills that are often not read by their sponsors, Heritage has helped the legislative assistant wade through big government bureaucracy. But regardless of the issue dominating Washington during a given week, McClure came to town with core principles that she will never trade in.

“As a Christian, I feel called to live a life of compassion, justice, mercy, and service to others, but I firmly believe in giving ‘hand-ups,’ not ‘hand-outs’,” she wrote. “Entitlement programs never encourage anyone to better themselves or their place in life and a person simply cannot feel good about themselves if they are using a system where they will never be independent.”

Rep. Lamborn’s work on the Committee on Natural Resources has inspired McClure to consider a possible future career in the field.

“I’ve grown to love handling committee assignments on natural resources,” McClure said. “The past couple of months, with the oil spill, have been trying and challenging. But I can see myself working in that industry.”

Wherever she ultimately ends up, it’s safe to say that Mallori McClure has already found her calling. As some young conservatives sit on the fence about working in politics, this young woman is proving that it’s still possible to find a perfect fit.

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