Great post today in Roll Call by reporter Alex Gangitano titled “Politicians Worry About Millennials But They’re Already Running The Hill.” If you work on the Hill, you knew that before today but Gangitano’s post puts some interesting human faces on the reality.
Gangitano quotes Chris Carter, 31, who is chief of staff for Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), who at the age of 25 was Hudson’s district director and moved up to his present position at age 29.
“When you get constituents who come up to D.C. to lobby … I do think it’s a little surprising to them when they come in and are talking about a very important issue and they’re sitting across from a 20-something who’s in a senior role in an office,” Carter told Gangitano.
The Roll Call reporter also talked to Matt Klapper, who became Sen. Cory Booker’s chief of staff four years ago at the age of 31. Klapper was blessed to have more experienced people around to help him:
“Having little to do with my age, and more to do with being relatively new to the Hill, I had a steep learning curve when I became chief of staff — if anything, people were eager to lend a hand and help show me the ropes,” he said of joining the staff of the New Jersey Democrat.
Gangitano also talked to Mitchell Rivard, Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.) chief of staff, age 28, and Joe Hack, who became Sen. Deb Fisher’s (R-Neb.) chief of staff at age 27. Hack started on the Hill nine years ago as an intern in then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).
Also quoted in the post are Caroline Cash, 29, chief of staff to Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), and John McCarthy, 27, chief of staff to Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.).
Klapper quotes something his boss told him that has stuck with him and that strikes this former young Hill chief of staff (at age 28, for Rep. Jim Collins, R-Texas) as especially useful to remember: “My boss [Booker] likes to say, ‘purpose, not position. I’ve found that won’t only help you keep your compass and stay happy, it will help you accomplish far more.”
That’s solid advice whether you are 28 and working on the Hill for a senator or representative, or 58 and running a K Street lobbying firm working the Hill on behalf of clients.
And it brings to mind an even more basic question that has been discussed here on HillFaith and will be a continuing topic of discussion in the days ahead.