Who is That Black Woman Behind Gorsuch at His Nomination Hearing?

by: James Wright Special to the AFRO jwright@afro.com
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As Americans watched the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing of U.S. associate Supreme Court justice nominee Neil Gorsuch, many wondered who the well-dressed, good-looking young Black woman sitting behind him was. It was later revealed that the woman was Mary Elizabeth Taylor, the Trump administration’s deputy director of nominations, who worked with Gorsuch’s confirmation team in terms of visiting senators and advocating on his behalf.

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch laughs as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch laughs as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Taylor was appointed to the Trump legislative team in March 22 by the president under the direction of Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs.

Taylor has strong ties to the Republican Party. She is the daughter of Kristen Clark Taylor, who worked as director of communications under President George H.W. Bush and wrote a book on her years working in the White House, “The First to Speak: A Woman of Color Inside the White House” that was published in June 1993. Her father is Lonnie P. Taylor, the president and CEO of National Job Corps Association.

Taylor attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. While she was in school, she interned with U.S. Sen. Mitchell McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2006. She was an assistant in the Senate Republican Cloakroom.

Taylor also worked with Koch Industries and the Washington Nationals front office. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science in 2011.

In 2012, Taylor was selected as a public policy leadership fellow for The Fund for American Studies (TFAS), whose mission is to “develop leaders for a free society” and its president is proud of her recognition.

“It is encouraging to see TFAS alumni playing such a prominent role at highest levels of government,” TFAS President Roger Ream said. “Mary Elizabeth is proof that TFAS is changing the world one student at a time.”

Before her Trump administration appointment, Taylor worked with lobbyist Amy Swonger.

Telly Lovelace is the national director for urban media for the Republican National Committee. He told the AFRO that he knows Taylor well.

“I am very familiar with her family,” Lovelace said. “I have watched her grow. It is a great thing to see her having success in her career.”

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