She didn’t win her congressional bid two years ago, but former South Carolina state representative Katie Arrington hasn’t let defeat dull her desire to serve … in fact, she has been making quite a name for herself in our nation’s capital despite not holding elected office.
Arrington – a top cybersecurity analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) – was honored a year ago with the Wash100 Award, “a highly coveted and prestigious” recognition awarded to public servants.
In receiving that award, she was hailed as a “politician-turned-defense official who is trying to shake up the acquisition bureaucracy” at the Pentagon, where she has worked since January of 2019.
Last month, Arrington was honored with the secretary of defense medal for exceptional civilian service owing to the “outstanding leadership” she has displayed during her two years at DOD.
And this week, Arrington was honored once again for her efforts on behalf of our national security. Specifically, she was chosen as one of the Federal 100, a recipient of “the original and most prestigious award in federal information technology.”
According to the group’s website, those who receive this honor “have gone above and beyond to show how technology can be leveraged to make government run better.”
Far too often, politicians are appointed to bureaucratic positions as favors – failing to distinguish themselves in these appointed roles.
Not Arrington. She has shredded that perception … emerging as a true cybersecurity champion.
Arrington defeated two-time incumbent congressman (and former two-term governor) Mark Sanford in the GOP primary for the Palmetto State’s first congressional district in June of 2018. Shortly thereafter, she was involved in a near-fatal car crash that knocked her off the campaign trail for several weeks.
Thanks in large part to Sanford’s refusal to endorse her candidacy, Arrington was narrowly defeated in the 2018 general election by Democrat Joe Cunningham.
Last fall, Cunningham himself was narrowly beaten in his bid for reelection by another Lowcountry state representative – Republican Nancy Mace of Daniel Island, S.C.
Mace has received mixed reviews since taking office – especially as it relates to her perceived vacillation on former U.S. president Donald Trump, her former employer. As a result, some frustrated Trump backers have encouraged Arrington to run against Mace in 2022 – although she has yet to indicate whether she is interested in such a bid.
Will Arrington return to the political arena? Stay at the Pentagon? Or parlay her DOD success into a lucrative private sector position? We shall see … in the meantime, she continues to excel at her role in keeping our country safe. She is also proof positive that even the highest-profile defeats are but temporary setbacks for those who are truly determined.
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