Novel Plan

By Mike Magner
Congress Daily AM
January 28, 2008

With two novels in her head demanding to be put on paper, Cathy Travis has ended a 25-year career as a House staffer to become a full-time author.

An adviser and press secretary for Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas, for the past 18 years, Travis has written one book, "Constitution Translated for Kids," that explains the nation's guiding document for fifth graders.

The book was inspired by one of the 1992 presidential debates, when independent candidate Ross Perot made statements about the Constitution that were "just plain wrong," Travis said. No word on whether Perot has since read Travis' 100-page book, but thousands of elementary- and middle-school students have.

Travis, 48, wants to move into fiction, starting with a story of a young girl learning about civil rights in the South, followed by a book based on the contested presidential election in 2000, she said.

Travis has been involved in politics since her youth in Jonesboro, Ark. A close family friend was former Rep. Bill Alexander, D-Ark., a fraternity brother of her father. Travis fondly recalls passing out literature for Alexander and telling people to "vote for my Uncle Bill."

After Travis graduated from Arkansas State University in 1982, Alexander helped her get her first job in the Office of the Doorkeeper. Travis spent several years working on the House floor, did a stint in the deputy whip's office and helped out on several campaigns before joining Ortiz's staff in 1989.

"Whether through her infectious laugh or her candid advice, Cathy always left a resounding impression on those she met and worked with," Ortiz said. "Cathy remains a trusted member of my family, and I will always seek her counsel on matters political and personal."