Simmons, a senior Democratic policy adviser, has worked for the Agriculture Committee since 1993.
She now handles commodities, conservation, credit, energy, research, and crop insurance, but says that over the years she has worked on just about every issue that comes before the committee—except nutrition and biotechnology.
Simmons, 49, came to the committee when she was working for then-Rep. (now-Sen.) Tim Johnson, D-S.D., who became a subcommittee chairman in charge of conservation.
She grew up on a corn, soybean, and livestock farm in Iowa, and started in Democratic politics at age 9 handing out bumper stickers for then-Rep. Berkley Bedell, D-Iowa. She studied politics at Cornell College in Iowa, and started in Washington in 1986 as an intern for Bedell.
Simmons still goes home to Iowa but has missed the grain harvest for the past two years because the development of a new farm bill has been so drawn out.