Nearly every day of his work week, Jehmal Hudson JD ’06 walks from his office on First Street up to Capitol Hill. “Yeah,” he says. “No brief case, no laptop. Just my mouth. My job is all about relationships.” The relationships are at a high level: Hudson is the lone Congressional liaison for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The people he talks with are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Natural Resources Committee, and the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
In his role, Hudson stays informed and shares information around a wide range of energy issues. Among other things, FERC is responsible for ensuring the safety and reliability of the nation’s electricity grid; making sure utility costs are just and reasonable; regulating the sales and transmission of natural gas; and approving and relicensing hydroelectric projects. Since the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the independent agency has also had the authority to enforce compliance with energy regulations. It recently forced a $410 million settlement with JP Morgan Chase for market manipulation.
Hudson’s environmental interest was stirred at Vermont Law School through working on lead paint/tenant/landlord issues in his home city of Brooklyn. But it was his internship in the office of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that introduced him to the world—and potential power — of politics. “That’s where I discovered I could make more difference,” he recalls. “Not on the science side of the law, but the side that needs interpersonal skills.”