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franklin county times

Farris takes path less traveled

By Staff
Kim West
His official title is administrative assistant but Russellville native Caleb Farris handles everything from scheduling appointments to interpreting documents.
Farris, 24, has worked for State. Sen. Roger Bedford (D-Russellville) since graduating from the University of North Alabama last December with a major in commercial Spanish and minors in international studies and marketing.
His duties include serving as Bedford's personal driver for political functions, coordinating his appointments and updating his database.
"This is a 24/7 job, but it's a pleasure to work for Roger," said Farris, who met former President Bill Clinton at a political rally in Huntsville last February.
"I've enjoyed meeting people and actually seeing how I can be a better servant to the state of Alabama. This job has been very enlightening, and I haven't seen another senator who works harder than Roger does."
Bedford, who has employed seven assistants during his 22 years in office, described Farris as versatile and hardworking.
"His ability to speak Mandarin Chinese fluently has not been of much use but his Spanish fluency has helped in dealing with some of our constituents," said a smiling Bedford. "He's a jack-of-all-trades and a fine Christian gentleman, and his work ethic is unsurpassed."
In only eight months on the job, Farris has also earned the senator's trust.
"What I look for is someone who is honest and willing to work hard in a confidential manner because people come to see me for both political and legal problems," said Bedford, who is also an attorney. "The one thing I require is strict confidentiality. The quickest way to get fired by me is to talk about someone else's business."
Besides his language skills, Farris also stands out because of his unique appearance. Instead of a conservative close-cropped haircut, he keeps his curly blonde hair in a neat chin-length style.
"My hair wasn't a problem for Roger as long as I wasn't all grizzly – I could either have longer hair and no beard or a beard and short hair," said Farris, who wears a long-sleeved dress shirt and tie while on the job. "One time he did mention a little trim would be nice, and he sent me to a salon with two of his interns when we were in Montgomery."
Farris, who plays the bass guitar and drums, majored in music at UNA before deciding to study Spanish.
"I've never really looked at (being a politician)," said Farris, an aspiring novelist who has already completed a rough draft of his first manuscript and started work on three more books. "I guess you could say foreign languages was a calling for me. My main goal is to be a novelist but I knew I needed to be practical – I would love to work as an interpreter for a business or the government."