By CHLOE EKLUND
“Sesame snack?” Tony Sermonti offered me as we sat at the deli inside the Olympia Capitol building during a rare mid-morning break.
It’s the busiest time of year for Sermonti, as the Policy and Legislative Director of the Department of Licensing. “We are working on four agency request issues right now. It can get busy this time of year,” he said.
Sermonti has a lot on his plate all year actually. Not only is he responsible for advocating the DOL’s policies, representing the governor, and setting and accomplishing the DOL’s agenda, he has another “part time gig” as an Advance Associate to The White House.
“It is all about building relationships and networking. I’ve always been a conversationalist. I was always interested in making things happen and being politically active.”
Sermonti coordinates with the press to handle national and local press logistics for President Obama and The White House Press Corps for presidential events. One of his most exciting moments was traveling to Washington, DC for a White House operation during the last presidential campaign in 2012.
Sermonti has worked with past presidential candidates and government officials as well. He was a spokesperson for John Kerry, handled public affairs and the press for John Edwards, was appointed by Governor Gary Locke and researched bills, mail tracking, and “learned how it all works,” from Sen. Keiser.
It would be understandable for one to be intimated by Sermonti’s impressive resume, but his easy-going, friendly, and humorous demeanor has a way of putting those around him at ease. Aaron Broom, a long-time friend of Sermonti’s said, “I first met Tony in 2009 at a fundraiser for Pride when he was president. He later he became one of my client’s. I have seen social Tony and professional Tony, and although he can be a bit of a character at times he is consistently a good guy you can count on in any situation.”
A recommendation by Bernie R. on LinkedIn describes Sermonti as a “conscientious, easy-to-work-with, change agent.” Broom, described him as a “Boy Scout” because of his good character. Incidentally, Sermonti was an Eagle Scout in his youth which is the highest rank you can earn in scouting.
Despite Sermonti’s busy schedule, he doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Along with helping the DOL crack down on identity theft in Washington State by using facial recognition on licenses in 2011, he plans to continue working for The White House and meeting the challenges of the Department of Licensing.
Sermonti’s persistence and hard work have paid off and it’s only a matter of time before he finds something else to fit onto his plate.