Tony Hammond, ’78, is an American history buff.
It’s advantageous, then, that since the 1980s he has been able to have a career in politics and government in Washington, D.C.
He currently serves as one of four members of the leadership team for the Postal Regulatory Commission.
He was appointed to this role by two different presidents.
Passion for public affairs
Hammond has had many titles in the nation’s capital. He has worked alongside senators and met President George W. Bush. Now, he is with the agency that oversees and regulates the United States Postal Service.
The Hickory County native already had a passion for public affairs when he started college as a political science major. During college, he continued to work on his family farm to help pay for his education.
He also became involved in some local Republican campaigns.
Hammond remembers the positive influence of many professors in his department, especially Dr. Alice Fleetwood Bartee.
“My professors placed the emphasis on vigorous discussion in political topics, rather than stifling differences,” Hammond said.
“That encouraged my activities in public affairs, even though many of those professors and I were on opposite sides of some political issues. But that’s what I appreciated about my education at Missouri State – those differences were respected and encouraged.”
Rising to leadership positions
After graduating, Hammond joined the staff of then-Congressman Gene Taylor. Most of Hammond’s time was spent on Capitol Hill.
“One of the great things about working for a congressman is that you get to meet people from all around the country and from completely different experiences.”
He worked for the Missouri Republican Party next, then the Republican National Committee. Around 1999, he started a private consulting company. He served as senior consultant on the presidential campaign of Steve Forbes, and later worked on the Florida ballot recount that decided the 2000 presidential election for George W. Bush.
In 2002, he was appointed to the Postal Regulatory Commission by Bush. Hammond had handled direct mail and marketing in the private sector, and, “I had years of handling postal matters on Capitol Hill because Congressman Taylor was the ranking member of the House committee that dealt with the post office while I worked for him. Those experiences gave me the background to be nominated.”
He was reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2013. “My current term runs until October 2018, no matter who wins this presidential election, so I am concentrating on my current job right now. Once you’ve committed to public service, you always have to be willing to consider anything that comes up. I have no idea what’s going to be next!”
What a commissioner does
Hammond says many people have questioned why the Postal Regulatory Commission exists separately from the United States Postal Service.
“The Postal Service is a huge federal operation, and for more than 40 years, they haven’t received tax dollars for operating expenses,” he said. “They have to rely completely on the sale of postage and products, so Congress created the Postal Regulatory Commission to make sure they are held accountable for their prices and products. It’s our job to protect customers and ensure fair competition.”
Exploring American history
When he isn’t working, Hammond — a history minor — likes to pay respect to American figures and landmarks, from the somber graves at Arlington National Cemetery to the towering figure of the Washington Monument.
“I love to explore the most historical city in the United States.”
He also returns to Missouri several times a year to visit family.
“I hope this year to make it back to Springfield and Missouri State. I have heard about the emphasis on university advancement, and that impresses me quite a bit. I want to drive around and see all the changes.”