Alumnus Elected to US House of Representatives
An internship through Brockport’s Washington Program sparked a political career for John Faso ’74.
More than 40 years after interning on Capitol Hill as a student in SUNY Brockport’s Washington D.C. Internship Program, John Faso ’74 is heading back to Congress. But this time, he won’t be an intern.
On January 3, Faso will be sworn-in as a newly elected member of the United States House of Representatives.
“Winning the race and being honored with the support of the people in my district (the 19th Congressional District) was very exhilarating,” said Faso. “It was the culmination of about 15 months of work. You feel terrific after it.”
Faso, a Long Island native, moved upstate to attend Brockport and pursue his interest in government and history in the early 1970s.
“My mother instilled in me that education was a way to a better future,” said Faso.
He spent the spring semester of his senior year at Brockport in the Washington Program, interning with the Republican Policy Committee.
“The Washington Program really was critical to my career path,” said Faso. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it was for me.”
The idea for the program was conceived at a regional meeting of Western NY colleges in 1967, which was attended by Brockport Professor Emeritus Michael Weaver. Knowing that he lacked firsthand knowledge of operations in Washington, and was only familiar with what he had read in books and learned in his academic career, Weaver unreservedly committed to the idea.
Brockport became one of the first schools to adopt the Washington Program, and Faso was one of its first participants. Weaver remembers Faso as an “outstanding student.”
“It’s always gratifying for me to learn about the whereabouts of my students today, and the kinds of things they have gotten involved in over the years,” said Weaver.
After graduating from Brockport with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and History, Faso went on to receive a law degree from Georgetown University.
His political career has spanned a multitude of different roles. He served 16 years as a New York State Assemblyman, made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2006, spent three years on the New York State Financial Control Board and was a Presidential appointee to the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation for seven years, which provides training for high school history teachers, among other roles.
But nothing, he says, compares to being elected to serve in the U.S. Congress.
“Speaker [Paul] Ryan had a dinner for the freshmen and gave a talk about the room we were in, National Statuary Hall, which was formerly, up until 1854, the chamber for the House of Representatives,” Faso said. “And he said, ‘You’re one of only 12,000 people in the history of the country who has been elected to Congress.’ It’s really quite an honor.”