Christopher Knight, a native of Standish, was recently promoted to the role of press secretary for Sen. Susan Collins, where his mission is to “work to keep Mainers well informed of (Senator Collins’) efforts on behalf of Maine in the U.S. Senate,” he said.
Knight graduated from Windham Christian Academy in 2009, where he was captain of the soccer team his senior year. He went on to study politics and public policy at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, although he said he “never expected (he) would one day be employed in the Senate.” As an undergraduate, he was one of the founding members of the school’s Mock Trial Team, and later served as the club’s president.
Knight said the college was “a terrific home to me for four years, and a great place to study politics given its prominent role in the presidential primaries.” Saint Anselm has hosted several presidential primary debates in recent years, including 2012 and this election season.
Knight began working for Collins in the summer of 2011, as an intern in her Lewiston constituent services center, and went on to a second internship in her Washington, D.C., office. After graduating from college in 2013, he was hired as a professional staff member in Washington, D.C.
He said the Senator’s office employs a number of people from Maine, some of whom started as interns like Knight.
Knight recently spoke with the Lakes Region Weekly about his work with Collins and what he misses most about Maine.
Q: What excites you most about your new position?
A: I am looking forward to undertaking the new set of challenges this job will provide. I am fortunate to have highly skilled colleagues who work on Maine’s behalf, and I know I will be drawing on their support in this new position.
Q: Why did you want to pursue a career in politics?
A: I have always been fascinated by politics and American history, although I never expected that I would one day be employed by the Senate. In school, I worked hard, pursued my interests, and took advantage of opportunities as they presented themselves. I owe a great deal to some incredible mentors I met along the way whose support and advice helped me get to the position where I am today.
Q: You worked for two years on the Senate Special Committee on Aging. What kind of work does the committee do, and how were you involved in the committee?
A: Sen. Collins is the chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, and her top priorities for the committee are to boost retirement security, increase investment in biomedical research for diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes, and combat fraud and financial exploitation that target seniors. During my time working for the Aging Committee, I helped prepare congressional hearings on all of these important topics. I also assisted with committee communications, including helping to produce the publication “SeniorSource,” a monthly newsletter that updates Mainers on the most recent news pertaining to the committee.
Q: What’s one thing you want people from the Lakes Region to know about the work that Sen. Collins and your team is doing?
A: Sen. Collins is ranked as one of the most bipartisan members of the U.S. Senate, and it is an honor to work for such an effective legislator who is dedicated to the state of Maine. In addition to her work on the Aging Committee, Sen. Collins is a leader on a range of issues, from enhancing our national security to addressing the heroin epidemic. In November of last year, she launched a bipartisan investigation in response to reports of sudden, aggressive price spikes of decades-old prescription drugs whose patents had expired long ago. These price increases have affected access to these potentially lifesaving drugs and threaten to raise the cost of health care.
Q: What do you miss most about Maine?
A: There are a number of things I miss about Maine. First and foremost, I miss my family and friends, many of whom live in Maine and northern New England. I also miss being able to go to the ocean and Sebago Lake in the summer and go skiing in the winter. I try to go home for at least a week in the summer and a week during Christmas.
Q: What do you like most about living in Washington, D.C.?
A: D.C. is a very active and exciting city. There are some excellent professional sports teams to watch and a multitude of often free events to attend. I also enjoy visiting all of the Smithsonian museums, although my favorite by far is the National Air and Space Museum.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: I started running recreationally in college, and I try to run at least two to three times every week. I’ve participated in the Army 10-Miler for the past two years, and last fall I joined several of my coworkers in Sen. Collins’ office in running the Ragnar 200-Mile Relay, a two-day race that begins in northwestern Maryland and ends in Washington, D.C. I anticipate running in the Marine Corps Marathon later this year.