These lawmakers did WHAT before they got to DC?

Lauren Langille, special to

What DID they do?

Legislators depart the U.S. Capitol building in Washington.
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The majority of lawmakers at the Capitol previously worked in public service and politics, according to a Congressional Research Service report, but what about the rest? With the attention on former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, we know he was a small-town wrestling coach and teacher; there are plenty of paths to winning a seat in the House.

Click to see 10 of the not-so-common professions members of the House held before assuming public office inside the Beltway. Selections were made based on information pulled from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, and official websites from individual members.

—By Lauren Langille, special to
Posted 18 June 2015

Rep. William Ballard Hurd, R-Texas: CIA

William Ballard Hurd
Source: Wikipedia

Hurd served as an undercover officer in the CIA in the Middle East and South Asia for almost 10 years. After leaving the CIA in 2009, he joined a cybersecurity firm as a senior advisor addressing challenges faced by manufacturers, financial institutions, retailers and owners of critical infrastructure. He was also a partner at a strategic advisory firm.

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.: GM executive

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI)
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Dingell worked for General Motors for more than 30 years. She was president of the GM Foundation and a senior executive responsible for public affairs. She took over the seat of her husband, John Dingell, who retired at the end of the 113th Congress.

Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.: Air Force colonel

Rep. Martha McSally
Source: Martha McSally

McSally served in the Air Force for 26 years, retiring in 2010 as a colonel. According to her website, "she is the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat and first to command a fighter squadron in combat in United States history."

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif.: 911 Dispatcher

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Torres was a 911 emergency dispatcher for the Los Angeles Police Department for 18 years, and led an initiative to increase the availability of bilingual emergency dispatchers for that region.

Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., R-La.: Heart surgeon

Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La.,
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Boustany is cardiovascular surgeon and has more than 30 years of clinical experience.

Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill.: Scientist, entrepreneur

Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL)
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At 19, Foster and his brother founded Electronic Theatre Controls, a company that has grown to manufacture over half of the theater lighting equipment in the U.S. Later, he joined Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory as a high-energy physicist and particle accelerator designer. His team discovered the top quark, the heaviest known form of matter. He is the only physicist in Congress.

Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich.: Chemist

Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Moolenaar was a chemist with Dow Chemical and director of business development with Mitech+. He also was an administrator at Midland Academy of Advanced and Creative Studies.

Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore.: Veterinarian

Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Schrader was a veterinarian and farmer for more than 30 years. He established the Clackamas County Veterinary Clinic in Oregon City, managing it while operating his farm.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas: Chief psychiatric nurse

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Johnson started her career as a registered nurse and later became chief psychiatric nurse at the Veterans Administration hospital in Dallas.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.: Vintner

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Thompson owns a vineyard north of Napa and was the maintenance supervisor for the Beringer Winery. He was a founder of Congressional Wine Caucus and serves on its leadership as a champion for the industry.