Bill Sweeney

Chief of Staff, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow

Albion Majors: Political Science

Bill Sweeney is Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan). In his more than 15 years with Stabenow, he has served in a number of positions in her organization, including a fundraiser, Speechwriter, Senior Communications Advisor, and Deputy Chief of Staff. He was named Chief of Staff in December 2014.

Sweeney is a native of Wayne, Michigan. After graduation from Albion College in 1998, he worked as a fundraiser for the gubernatorial campaign of Doug Ross in Michigan and then worked on the campaign that elected now-Senator Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. House of Representatives in Wisconsin. He started working for Stabenow in 1999.

With what organizations were you involved as an Albion College student?

  • Student Volunteer Bureau
  • Michigan Campus Compact
  • Student Senate
  • Committee to Bring the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt to Albion
  • Kellogg Center Building Committee
  • Ferguson Building Committee

What is a memorable moment from your time in the Ford Institute?

Mock Senate was one of my favorite experiences in Ford. We were terrible. We screwed around and didn’t follow directions and were unabashedly hostile to the TA who played the Vice President. We foreshadowed the nihilism of the Tea Party by 20 years.

What advice would you give to current and prospective students?

You’re spending four years of your life at a liberal arts college – so get the most out of it. Broaden your horizons–take classes in the fine arts, music, literature, economics, chemistry, biology–you will never again in your life have the chance to do these things, so do it now or you’ll regret it later. Employers will never care about what classes you took, so take things that YOU find interesting and that expand your horizons. You’ll find those classes pay off a lot more in the long run.

How have Albion and the Ford Institute prepared you for your current career?

Ford teaches you many things – how to think critically, how to write beautifully, but most importantly how to lead through service to others. Every day, I’m using the lessons I learned in the Ford Institute.

What is the outlook for positions and opportunities within your field?

Every day brings something new on Capitol Hill. We love having Albion students in to intern.

What did you do for your Ford internship?

I worked at the Albion Volunteer Service Organization (AVSO) in downtown Albion for my internship, where I helped secure a $2 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation for capacity-building.

Ford Alumni: We would love to hear from you!