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October 31, 2014

Patty Hobbs is nearing end of her career at JSU

Spent most of her professional life in D.C.

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Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 12:36 am | Updated: 10:55 am, Tue Jun 3, 2014.

As the end of June approaches, Patty Hobbs is looking forward to doing something she’s been wanting to do for a long time -- sleep late.

Hobbs is retiring as director of public relations at Jacksonville State University, a position she’s held for the past six years.

“I’ve been either working or going to school for the past 40 years,” said Hobbs. “I’m no where near a morning person, so I’m looking forward to not having to get up early. I do my best work a little later in the day.”

After graduating from Weaver High School, Hobbs enrolled at Jacksonville State University where she received bachelor’s and master’s in education. She taught school three years in Weaver. She was 25 and knew there was a world out there that she wanted to explore. She found her niche in the nation’s capital.

Over her dad’s strong objection, she moved to Washington, D.C.

“I didn’t have a job and didn’t know anybody, but I always loved government and politics and I knew it would be alright,” said Hobbs. “My parents weren’t happy about it. It took me about six weeks to find a job, because I only wanted to work on Capitol Hill.”

Hobbs landed her first job as a staff assistant in the office of Wyoming Rep. Dick Cheney.

“Washington was a much different place then, before terrorism,” Hobbs said. “You could sit on the front steps of the capitol and watch the sunset, something you could get arrested for now.”

Hobbs’s next move was to the White House where she was an administrative assistant in the counsel’s office.

“I was really lucky to spend three years in the Reagan White House,” said Hobbs. “It was a wonderful time for me. Ronald Reagan was a great man and I felt honored just to be in his presence.” 

She’ll never forget her first year at the White House. It was 1983 and in the fall of that year, terrorists bombed the American barracks in Lebanon. Hobbs went home for Thanksgiving and when she returned to Washington, the first concrete barriers were around the White House. 

“Since then, there’s been more and more security in Washington,” she said. “It’s almost unbearable now what you have to go through when you live there and work for the government.”

From the White House, Hobbs went to work at the U.S. Department of Education where she spent the next 21 years. She gained a wealth of experience in several areas and was privileged to work on the staff of five Secretaries of Education. Her last job there was the director of Internal Communications for her favorite -- Secretary Rod Paige. 

After 27 years in Washington, Hobbs decided it was time to come home and be with her parents. She drove into town on Aug. 1, 2006, and on Aug. 2, began her job as director of the Jacksonville State University Child Development Center at McClellan. After almost two years in that position, Hobbs came to the JSU campus to the public relations office.

After she retirees, Hobbs hopes to travel and take a few road trips across the United States. She’s looking forward to relaxing this summer, but she’s already making plans to go back to work.

“I’m actually planning to start a (very) small company with a friend and do some freelance marketing and public relations work, but it will definitely be part time,” she said.

Hobbs lives with her mother, Ruth Hobbs, a former high school math teacher. Her father, Gene Hobbs, who was self-employed, died in 2012. Hobbs has a brother, Steve, who lives in Pell City, and a sister, Cindy Burford, also of Pell City.

Hobbs is president of the Cheaha Republican Women Chapter of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women and is a member of Harmony Christian Fellowship Church.

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