STAFF MOVES: These People Are Climbing The Ladder On The Hill

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Suzanne Lane is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s new digital director, moving over from her previous slot with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Suzanne is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in political science and government.

Kayla Rillo, Legislative Assistant to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)(Screen shot from Facebook)

Kayla Rillo moves over to the legislative assistant slot in the office of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) from a similar slot with Rep. Paul Cook (R-Calif.). Kayla is a 2015 political science graduate from Seton Hall University.

Svetlana Matt goes from legislative assistant to Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) to his senior counsel. Svetlana earned her law degree in 2012 from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: These People Are Climbing The Ladder On The Hill”

Is This How You Would React To A Big Setback At Work?

Quarterback Nick Foles went from being Super Bowl MVP with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 to breaking his clavicle in his first game with the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year.

To put Foles’ situation in a congressional staff context, imagine getting a big promotion from a good job on an important House staff to a bigger Senate slot that pays more and demands everything you’ve got.

Then a couple of weeks after starting, the chief of staff who hired you leaves and the new guy has his own favorite for the position you just took over. You can see where it’s going and it ain’t looking good.

So how do you react? Check out this video of Foles laying out his reactions for reporters to an injury that sidelined him at just about the worst possible time:

Why ‘Water Bears’ May Present An Unsolvable Dilemma For Survival Of The Fittest Advocates

No, this post is not about polar bears or Alaskan brown bears, even though they do spend a great deal of time in the water. This post is about the tiny anthropods known as “Tartigrades” that are found in waters around the Earth, including those that are freezing and those that are quite warm.

Yes, this is a bear in the water, but it’s not a tardigrade, AKA “water bear.” (Photo by Brent Jones on Unsplash).

Doesn’t really matter to Tardigrades what kind of environment they are in because they possess an absolutely unique ability to survive in virtually any environment, including, according to scientists at the University of California Sand Diego (UCSD), everything “from dangerously high radiation levels to chillingly low temperatures to exposure to deadly chemicals. They’ve even been launched into space as part of a project to transfer life forms to the moon (and crash-landed there with the Beresheet lander spacecraft earlier this year).” Continue reading “Why ‘Water Bears’ May Present An Unsolvable Dilemma For Survival Of The Fittest Advocates”

Moved By Compassion, Jesus Put Forth His Hand And The Leper Was Healed

Here’s the backstory to the amazing encounter of a hurting Hill aide and a searching Vietnam veteran

By Bret Bernhardt

When was the last time you felt compassion in your work on the Hill?

Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for senators Don Nickles and Jim DeMint.

This challenge shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially if you’ve ever spent time answering calls as a staff assistant. Or try listening to a constituent’s opinion as a legislative correspondent or a legislative assistant.

And try working with a difficult person for months as a caseworker, not to mention our interactions with our fellow staffers. Continue reading “Moved By Compassion, Jesus Put Forth His Hand And The Leper Was Healed”

WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Look Who’s Movin’ On Up

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Matt McNally now occupies the chief of staff’s office for Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) after two years in Gotham City as director of its federal affairs operation. Previously, McNally was communications director for Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). He is a Roger Williams University graduate.

Jacob Stubbs has his first position on a congressional staff, serving as a legislative assistant for Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). For two years prior, Stubbs was a special assistant in the Department of Homeland Security. He has an MA from Yale Divinity School and a BA in government and religion from Berry College.

There’s a new professional staff member for the Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Alan McQuinn. He’s a “Hook’em Horns” kind of guy, earning a BS in 2013 in political communications and public relations from that big school in Austin.

Got a scheduling question involving Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa)? Ask the new scheduler, Tony McComiskey. The new gig comes after three years in various capacities with former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.). McComiskey’s BA in political science and government was awarded by Gettysburg College in 2014.


Think You Want To Go Back Home And Run For Congress?

It’s not unusual for congressional staffers to return home at some point and stand for election as their neighbors’ representative in the nation’s capitol.

Rosemary Bechi (Screen shot from Facebook)

Sometimes they win, sometimes they don’t. Rosemary Becchi, former tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, is making major strides toward being among the former, having raised, according to the New Jersey Globe, more than $387,000 in her bid for the GOP nomination for Congress in the seventh district.

If she wins her primary against two opponents, Becchi will take on Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J., a freshman who will be running for re-election for the first time. Becchi has the endorsement of FreedomWorks America and Maggie’s List.


LOOKING FOR A HILL JOB?

Check out this five-part HillFaith series by Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for Senators Don Nickle (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). Bernhardt has a wealth of experience, insider insight, how-tos and obscure terms (know what a “golden reference” is on the Hill?), plus lots of helpful links.

The Best Resources for Finding a Job On the Hill

Where Your Best Job Lead is on Capitol Hill May Surprise You

Getting in the Door on Capitol Hill

Here’s Nine Valuable Tips for Interviewing Well on Capitol Hill

Working on Capitol Hill is the World’s Best Job (Or at Least My Best Ever)


If Clarissa Rojas’s Life-Story Doesn’t Inspire You, Nothing Will

Clarissa Rojas, 23, is one of the youngest communications directors working on Capitol Hill, having begun serving in that position earlier this month for Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.).

Clarissa Rojas, center, is flanked by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, left, and Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan, right. (Screen shot from Facebook)

But her latest position is not her first on Capitol Hill. Rojas previously served as press secretary for Rep. Nannette Diaz Barragan (D-Calif.) and before that as press assistant in the same office.

It’s not just her age that makes Rojas noteworthy, it’s the tough road she’s had to travel to get from a hard life in California to a congressional staff position. It’s a journey that Roll Call’s Kathryn Lyons describes well in a superb profile today. If you read nothing else today, read this one.

Congress Needs Bigger, Better-Paid Or More Experienced Staffs?

What do you say if a former boss asks you for a few minutes to chat, then closes the door and explains that she wants to pick your brain about reshaping her staff to advance her legislative agenda more effectively?

Do you say “hire more staff” or “let some people go and pay those you keep more?” Perhaps the solution is to start looking for replacements for all of the key slots, but then how do you avoid merely hiring a new version of the same-old-same-old?

Alan Wiseman of Vanderbilt and Craig Volden of UVA are co-directors of the Center for Effective Law-Making and they recently did a thoughtful memo for the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress on what makes productive legislative staffs. Some of their conclusions, posted by legbranch.org, will surprise even Hill veterans.