Gina Powers: State House lobbyist thrives on volunteer work
MANCHESTER — Gina Powers needs to remind herself every now and then that she’s busy enough.
In addition to the frenzied life of a State House lobbyist in Concord, Powers sits on two boards of directors and volunteers with children and teens who have lost a loved one. It’s a busy schedule for most anyone. It’s also a telling example of Powers’ commitment to serve in the community.
“I guess I do have some doubts sometimes as to whether or not I’m doing enough,” Powers said. “I’ve tried to do as much as I can. I love the volunteer work that I do and I try to get involved with as many boards as possible.”
At 31, Powers plans to keep up her hectic pace with the added recognition of being a member of the New Hampshire Union Leader’s 40 under Forty Class of 2016.
“It’s something that I’ve strived for because there have been a lot of people that I look up to that have received this award,” she said.
One of those people is Powers’ husband, E.J., who made the 40 Under Forty list in 2010 and wrote Gina’s nomination letter.
“I got a little teary eyed, and that’s very uncharacteristic of me. He did a really nice job,” she said. “I’m happy to be joining him.”
The couple met while students at Saint Anselm College, where Gina was a history major who intended to go into teaching. Powers had already completed her classwork when she realized one flaw in her plan — she wasn’t entirely convinced she wanted to become a teacher.
“I just said ‘I can’t do this if I’m not absolutely sure.’” she recalled. “So then I went the politics route, which doesn’t make much sense, but it worked for me.”
Powers is a senior government relations adviser for the Concord firm of Rath, Young and Pignatelli, where she started after graduating Saint Anselm in 2006. She has accomplished much since then, helping guide a paycheck equity bill through the Legislature in 2014.
“That’s probably one of my proudest accomplishments up here,” she said. “The Senate passed it unanimously and there was bipartisan support for the bill. Sometimes that’s not the case with lots of legislation up here.”
Powers also sits on the boards of Moore Center Services and the Mary Gale Foundation. She has also volunteered for more than five years with Merrimack Home Health and Hospice’s “Good Grief” youth program. Powers’ motivation to help grieving youths came from personal experience. Powers was 14 when her 29-year-old sister, Jennifer Rotondi, died after battling leukemia.
“I just thought I would love to be there for these kids and share my experiences with them because I know what it’s like,” she said. “I always hope that I’ve helped them, but every single time I know that they’ve helped me.”