Alumni (National Fellow)

Laura Blessing

National Fellow
M.A. University of Virginia (2010)
Ph.D. University of Virginia (2014)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Dream Mentor:
Andrea Campbell
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fields of Interest:
American Political Development
Political Parties
Tax Policy


Laura Blessing, Ph.D., joined the Government Affairs Institute as a Senior Fellow in 2015. Blessing’s areas of expertise include the politics of tax policy, legislative politics, the legislative process, the state of partisanship, Congressional operation and history, and Executive-Legislative relations. Blessing earned her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia during which time she taught courses on Congress, the Presidency, and media and politics for students at both U.Va. and Sweet Briar College. After defending her dissertation, she worked on Capitol Hill as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. She served as the legislative assistant for tax policy for Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee. Blessing is currently working on a book on the politics of tax policy from the mid-century to today.

Thesis Description:

The New Politics of Taxation: The Republican Party and Anti-Tax Positions
Blessing’s dissertation, “The New Politics of Taxation: The Republican Party and Anti-Tax Positions,” investigated the development of our current tax politics. In the mid-1950s to mid-1970s a balanced budget consensus and low levels of politicization were apparent. Since then, these have changed, with profound consequences. This transformation has been caused, not by ideological or economic factors, but rather by a national Republican party-building strategy. This is evident in a number of different measures, both qualitative and quantitative, from roll call votes and party platforms to the coordination strategies of national party leaders. The party has used an explicitly anti-tax strategy to win elections and build a powerful coalition of many otherwise disparate groups.

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