WORKING ON THE HILL: Not Happy In Your Job? Step One To Healthy Change — Count Your Blessings

This post came about today because early this morning as I was walking Twister, our exuberant Black Lab, I was somehow reminded by a magnificent oak of the fact I couldn’t see the trees for the forest on my first “bad” job on Capitol Hill.

My backyard, as seen from my home office. Lovely old Silver Maple on the left, Rose of Sharon and pines in the back, neighbor’s cherry tree on the right.

Here’s the background: My first job on the Hill was as press secretary for a Maryland congressman. It was a great experience, as I learned so much from Don Baker, a superb Washington Post reporter, about journalism and the news process, and I absorbed volumes about the ways of the Hill.

But then I got over-confident, talked my way into a job working for an older Texas congressman as his chief of staff, and promptly realized I had screwed up royally.

It truly was not a good fit. He was set in his ways, which, after all, had gotten him re-elected multiple times during an era when old-guard conservative Democrats still ruled the Lone Star State. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Not Happy In Your Job? Step One To Healthy Change — Count Your Blessings”

WORKING ON THE HILL: *Look Who’s ‘Movin’ On Up’

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Greg Brooks is now chief of staff for Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio). The Brooks and Wenstrup connection goes back to 2012 when Brooks served as political director. Brooks has filled just about every other key staff slot for Wenstrup in the years since. He is a 2010 Magna Cum Laude graduate in government with a BA from Centre College.

Stephanie Dougherty is Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner’s new legislative counsel. She moves over to the Hill after a two-year stint with the U.S. Climate Action Network as government affairs director.

Stephanie Dougherty, Legislative Counsel, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)(Screen shot from Facebook)

She is a 2009 graduate of the Seattle University School of Law and a 2005 BA graduate in political science and business from Texas Christian University.

Ben Martello is now senior adviser to Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.). Martello’s BA in politics was awarded in 2002 by Salve Regina University. He was previously district director for Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.).

Ben Martello, Senior Adviser, Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.)(Screen shot from Facebook)

Christine Ravold has set up shop as communications director for Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), coming over from the Capital Research Center where she was communications officer. Ravold completed her BA in English and communications in 2013 from Rosemont College. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: *Look Who’s ‘Movin’ On Up’”

WORKING ON THE HILL: Studies Reveal Unexpected Profiles Of Hill Staff Pay, Demographics

When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi released the results of her July survey of Congressional Compensation and Diversity on September 26, it prompted Casey Burgat, senior fellow for the R Street Institute’s Governance Project, to run a comparison with data on HIll staff he uses in his analyses.

Casey Burgat, R Street Institute Governance Project Senior Fellow (screen shot from C-SPAN)

Pelosi’s results were based on responses from more than 5,000 respondents to a survey that was sent to 10,000 Hill employees. Burgat uses data obtained from Legistorm, the widely used compiler of official congressional information about salaries, staff backgrounds, employment histories and much, much more, as of March 2019.

For the most part, the Pelosi and Legistorm data are close, but Burgat found some significant differences, especially with regard to issues like salary and gender distributions by position. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Studies Reveal Unexpected Profiles Of Hill Staff Pay, Demographics”

WORKING ON THE HILL: Look Who’s Being Promoted

Recent Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Kate O’Connor is the new chief counsel for the Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on communications and technology. Kate has worked on the Hill for five years on the Senate side, but this is her first committee gig. She’s a 2014 public policy BA graduate from the University of Chicago.

Marsha Espinoza is Rep. Linda Sanchez’s new chief of staff, marking a return for Espinoza as she was communications director for the California Democratic representative in 2008-2010. In the years between, Espinoza worked for Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Califo ), was an Obama political appointee at the Department of Homeland Security, and became a partner at Swann Street Partners. Espinoza received her MA in communications from Texas State University at San Marcos in 2007, and her BS in education in 2002 from New Mexico State University. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Look Who’s Being Promoted”

Looking For The Recipe For Your Office’s Culture? Just Add Salt

By Bret Bernhardt

We talk a lot about influencing our culture in the macro, but what about closer to home? What’s the culture like in your office? Is it warm, friendly, selfless, welcoming, and open? Or is it coarse, backstabbing, self-serving, and overly ambitious?

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

Now, what is your role in that culture? Do you strive to bring it to a higher level or do your actions or inactions contribute to an unhealthy environment? We can look for the answer in the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

He said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13) What does this mean? Continue reading “Looking For The Recipe For Your Office’s Culture? Just Add Salt”

WORKING ON THE HILL: Here’s What Modern ‘Tent-Making’ Looks Like

When Paul made his many missionary trips around the known world after his encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, he supported himself by making tents.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), left, with Open The Books’ President Adam Adrzejewski, center. (Photo courtesy of Open The Books).

Being a highly educated individual who was formerly part of the Establishment in Jerusalem (Paul studied under Gamaliel, one of the most respected doctors of law in Israel at the time of Jesus), it’s instructive that Paul turned to what we would today likely consider a blue-collar job to support himself.

Without even remotely suggesting that I am in any way comparable to Paul, I am following his approach to supporting himself in his work. In other words, I do have a “real job,” covering Congress as a correspondent for The Epoch Times.

I love Congress and being an old-school journalist who puts a premium on being scrupulously factual, and now this 30-year career makes possible the great privilege of editing HillFaith “on the side.”

This photo is from a recent “pen & pad” session with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who is accompanied by Adam Adrejewski, the founder and president of Open The Books, a non-profit group that is achieving amazing successes in making government at all levels more transparent, and thus more accountable. That’s yours truly to Adam’s left.

Ernst was discussing a significant package of reforms in federal spending that I will be reporting on next week.

WORKING ON THE HILL: Women Staffers Turn To Wardrobe Rental Services

Many congressional staffers are in high-visibility, high-pressure positions that, unfortunately, also come with comparatively low pay, so there is a premium on making every dollar earned go as far as possible.

That’s a key to growing popularity among women working on the Hill of wardrobe rental services. Roll Call’s Mary Ellen McIntire has a great post this morning on services like Rent the Runway. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Women Staffers Turn To Wardrobe Rental Services”