An Interview with Michael McQuerry


Tell us about your new role.

As of January 3, 2023, I am the Chief of Staff to Congressman Shri Thanedar, representing the 13th Congressional District of  Michigan. The district covers most of Detroit, the Downriver area, and other suburban cities outside of Detroit. Being the first Chief of Staff for this newly configured congressional district is like coming back home in a sense. When I first came to Washington, DC in 1994 I was afforded the chance to work for the former Congresswoman Barbara Rose Collins who represented the – then – 13th Congressional District of Michigan – this is like a dream come true because, in essence, I’m coming full circle in my career.

What inspires you to work in such a competitive industry like politics?

When I was elected Student Body President at Jackson State University in 1993 I caught the political bug. I knew then that politics was a way to help those that needed the most help. It also showed me that by compromising and building coalitions with other groups you could move mountains by supporting important legislation.

What does success look like for you?

Success to me means making sure those that come behind me have it easier in their life than I did. Success means everything that I touched or had the chance to mold is making this world a better place. Success means being a good steward in this world and never having any regrets whatsoever.

How does it feel to work with a member from your hometown? 

It’s like a dream come true working for Congressman Shri Thanedar. Knowing his background, how far he has come and the love he has for the city of Detroit makes it seem as if I never left the city of Detroit upon my graduation from the University of Detroit High School and Academy. I knew I was going to be returning to Detroit in some capacity and coming back as Chief of Staff for the 13th Congressional District is the icing on the cake of my career.

Congressman Shri Thanedar proudly represents the people of Michigan’s 13th Congressional District

How can more African Americans get more involved in the political process?

Voting – hands down – Voting. We have to hold our politicians accountable and the way voting rights are being attacked is crucial that we do our civic duty by voting in each and every election.

How do you navigate working on Capitol Hill as an African American man? 

As an African American you navigate Capitol Hill with your eyes wide open. If you blink you can miss some important things. You have to always be willing to take chances and do things that are beyond the normal things in your life that you are used to. Capitol Hill is a unique place with unique people. Get in where you fit in but also – each one teach one – and bring someone along your journey of working on Capitol Hill if you can.


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Chief of Staff
Congressman Shri Thanedar