Washington's Top Power Couples
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Lyndon Boozer & Karen Anderson
The only constant in Washington is change. Overseeing it and being fluid enough to adapt to it is an art honed by Lyndon Boozer and Karen Anderson, who work hard to create a stronger nation through better, more dynamic economic policies and technological advancements. Lyndon is a veteran Democratic lobbyist for AT&T, who through a range of advocacy and telecommunications initiatives is shaping the way we communicate—how fast it is, the ease of access, and more. As the managing director of The Hamilton Project, Karen assembles the country's brightest captains of thought to distill broad ideas into workable policies that will help America bounce back from the recession and ensure that the economy keeps growing.
In 2008, when Karen was asked to be part of the Obama transition team, as chief of staff to Council of Economic Advisors chair designee Christina Romer, she understood the weight of the invitation. "It was daunting," she says. "It felt like the bottom was falling out of the economy and there was a sense we could go over a cliff." She worked 15-hour days at the White House while pregnant with her second son, leaving the position only two days before he was born. "Tyler's a very Zen toddler," says Karen of her two-year-old, one of the couple's two children, along with nine-year-old Kyle. "I'm convinced it's because he got so much excitement in utero."
Since that time, Karen's involvement with The Hamilton Project has sustained her love for policy work. "When you're working in government, there's a limit to how much time you can discuss issues and bring in different perspectives. As outsiders we have the luxury of time. In 2007 one of our goals was to explore universal health care and how to lower costs. We commissioned four papers to show different ways of getting there. It was a home run, and some of that thinking informed later policy discussions."
Lyndon, meanwhile, has been entwined in politics and public service ever since his mother's boss, President Lyndon B. Johnson, discovered that she had named her baby, Kyle Lyndon Boozer, in his honor. Legend has it Johnson told her that if she switched his first and middle names, he would extend her maternity leave. It was an easy decision, Lyndon says. (In 2007, to give back to his namesake and honor the Johnson family legacy and its loyalty to his family, he spearheaded the effort, alongside members of Congress, to name the Department of Education building after the 36th president.) Lyndon worked at the US Telecom Association and the Federal Communications Commission early in his career, during the rise of the cable industry, wireless communications, the Internet, and, subsequently, social networking. "Communications is an extraordinary and revolutionary area to be working in," says
Lyndon, whose advocacy at AT&T has contributed to broadband expansion and closed the digital divide, making new products and services more affordable ("Smartphones are now two-for-one," he says). Currently, he is working on spectrum issues to meet consumer demand for innovative products.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIP DAWKINS
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.