The Nature Of The Battle: Knowing The Enemy

By Bret Bernhardt

As followers of Jesus working on Capitol Hill, how are we to view the tumultuous events that have unfolded before us across the country?

This is an important question because we are seeking to integrate our faith into our daily practice. It helps shape our views about public policy but also our personal conduct. Now is the time for us to engage in the hard conversations because we are called to influence and usher in God’s Kingdom here on earth.

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

With this in mind we need to understand the nature of the battle. By the battle I mean the way in which we perceive and respond to the world around us. The recent events we have been witnessing — the virus, racial unrest, and threats of anarchy — are part of this battle.

These events are not a one-off phenomenon but have at their core the fallen nature of mankind. For example, the virus and the steps to mitigate it have precipitated actions and reactions that have been at work within our minds and spirit for quite some time. Continue reading “The Nature Of The Battle: Knowing The Enemy”

STAFF NEWS: Look Who’s ‘Movin’ On Up’ This Week

Making the big jump from the Illinois House Republican Caucus to Capitol Hill is Aaron DeGroot, who is the new Communications Director for Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill). Aaron is a cum laude graduate in economics from George Mason University in 2015.

Maura Weaver is the new Scheduler for Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), following a three-month stint with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential effort. Maura is a Hill veteran, having previously worked for Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). Maura earned an MPP from Temple University in 2019 and a BA in international and global studies from Arcadia University in 2017. Continue reading “STAFF NEWS: Look Who’s ‘Movin’ On Up’ This Week”

STAFF NEWS: Look Who’s Movin’ Up On The Hill This Week

Courtesy of Legistorm:

A sharp crop of rookies comes to Capitol Hill this week, starting with Lucy

Lucy Gardner (Screenshot from Facebook).

Gardner who is taking on her first challenge in a congressional job, as a Staff Assistant on the Senate Appropriations Committee for the Chairman, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Lucy’s BA is in communicative disorders from the University of Alabama in 2019. She also studied at Reformed Theological Seminary.

Joe Vaughan has signed on as Director, Diversity and Inclusion for the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee for Diversity and Inclusion. Joe’s BS degree in global business and public policy was awarded by the University of Maryland.

Katie Nichols makes the big jump from Capitol Hill intern to Staff Assistant

Katie Nichols (Screenshot from Facebook).

for Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.). George Washington University awarded Katie a Masters in Professional Studies in 2019 and she earned a BA in political science from Loyola Marymount University in 2017. She served Hill internships for Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.).

There is a new Executive Assistant/Scheduler working in the Hill office for Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ) and his name Micaiah Thomas. Micaiah’s BS in political science and government was awarded in 2020. Micaiah is also taking on his job on Capitol Hill.

Another Hillsdale College grad joins a congressional staff as William Turton becomes Legislative Assistant to Rep. Mark Green (R-TN). William received an MA in politics last year from the illustrious Michigan school that accepts no government funding. His bachelor in political science and government came in 2017 from Clemson University.


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)


 

What’s In An American’s Name? Quite A Lot, Actually

There is quite a debate brewing about whether or not religion and faith have been growing or declining in this country in recent years. Regular HillFaith readers will recall this post on Glenn Stanton’s case for optimism.

Photo by Andrew McQuaid on Unsplash

Now along comes Lyman Stone, an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) with a deep-dive look at the data, combined with a well-informed and balanced historical perspective. If you work on Capitol Hill, you will benefit from Stone’s work, as it advances the debate in a healthy way. His basic conclusion is:

“By any measure, religiosity in America is declin­ing. As this report will show, since peaking in 1960, the share of American adults attending any religious service in a typical week has fallen from 50 per­cent to about 35 percent, while the share claimed as members by any religious body has fallen from over 75 percent to about 62 percent … Continue reading “What’s In An American’s Name? Quite A Lot, Actually”

STAFF NEWS: Look Who’s *’Movin’ On Up’ On Capitol Hill

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Sarah Selip is the new Communications Director for Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA). Sarah was previously founder of 917 Strategies and before that a public relations strategist for Shirley & Bannister. She earned her BA in public relations, advertising and applied communications from St. Vincent College in 2017.

Oriana Pina, Hispanic Media Director for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)(Screenshot from Facebook).

Taking the reins as Hispanic Media Director for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is Oriana Pina. She comes to the Schumer staff from the SKDKnickerbocker LLC communications strategies firm where she was a Senior Associate. Oriana was awarded an MA in global communications and public diplomacy from George Washington University in 2015 and a BS in international relations in 2012 from the home of the Seminoles, Florida State University.

Now serving as Deputy Counsel for Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is John Ehrett, following nearly two years as an Associate in the firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP. John earned his JD from Yale University School of Law in 2017 and completed his BA in government as summa cum laude at Patrick Henry College in 2014.

Leaving The Hill:

After more than three years as Chief of Staff for Rep. Antonio Cardenas (D-Calif.), Miguel Franco is moving to NBC Universal as Vice President for Government Affairs. Miguel received his BA in political science from the University of Southern California in 2007.

Sunil Varghese put in almost two years as Counsel to Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is now Project Director for the International Refugee Assistance Project, Inc. He received his JD in 2007 from Georgetown University Law Center and both a BA in government and a BBA in management information systems in 2002 from the University of Texas.


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)


AND DON’T MISS THIS GREAT HILL STAFF STORY FROM WEDNESDAY!

STAFF NEWS/EARLY EDITION: Long-Serving COS Is Praised By Boss After Nine-Year Run

With the average tenure of a congressional aide in a position traditionally being less than two years, it’s not often that we see somebody doing the same key job for the same Member of Congress for nearly a decade.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), left, departing chief of staff Mark Pettitt, right. (Photo courtesy of Brooks).

Such a person is Mark Pettitt, the departing chief of staff for Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) ever since the Alabamian was first elected to Congress in the Tea Party Revolution of 2010.

It helps that Brooks and Pettitt have been close friends since their high school days, a fact that perhaps accounts for the heart-felt respect and affection the congressman expressed in announcing the departure: Continue reading “STAFF NEWS/EARLY EDITION: Long-Serving COS Is Praised By Boss After Nine-Year Run”

HARD FACTS: There’s More Than One Way To ‘Trust The Science’

If you work in any position on Capitol Hill, here’s a must-read analysis by True Horizon’s Bob Perry of what is likely the most frequently repeated truism of the coronavirus pandemic. Click on the last line below to read the rest of Perry’s post:

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

“I have made the case before that scientism is a dangerous belief system. And the COVID-19 Pandemic has done nothing but prove the point. In their response to the virus, many in power exhort us to ‘trust the science.’

“Listen to the doctors. Their wisdom should guide the trajectory of our collective futures. But accepting that view greatly depends on your understanding of what science is … and whose science you’re trusting.

The truth is that science never provides answers to anything. Scientists do.” 


 

STAFF NEWS: Look Who Is *’Movin’ On Up’ On Capitol Hill

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Rodney Hall is now the Military Legislative Assistant to Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS) after serving in the same position for Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.). Rodney is a Major in the Mississippi Army National Guard and his service included deployments to Afghanistan, Syria and Kuwait. He earned his law degree in 2019 from the University of Mississippi and his BS in business administration and management from the University of Maryland University College in 2012. He is also a proud 2008 graduate of Marion Military Institute. Thank you for your service to this nation, Rodney!

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrande (D-NY) has recruited a new speech writer, Sarah Pierz, who previously worked for current California Attorney General and former Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.). Sarah is a 2011 graduate from Northwestern University with a BA in economics. She was awarded her MS in advertising in 2017 by Boston University.

Lina Francis has moved over to the Sierra Club as Deputy Chief of Communications from the staff of Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) where she was Communications Director. Lina is a Hill veteran, going back to 2006 when she was an intern for then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). Continue reading “STAFF NEWS: Look Who Is *’Movin’ On Up’ On Capitol Hill”

WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Do You Know The Difference Between ‘Science’ And ‘Scientism?’

Mark Twain famously remarked about how “lightning” and “lightning bug” look and sound an awful lot alike, but they are two entirely different things. Philosopher Kenneth Samples sees much the same relationship between “science” and “scientism.”

Photo by Alex Kondratiev on Unsplash

That difference is hugely significant for Members of Congress, and even more so for their staffers, who must know the difference if they are to render the most credible and useful advice and analyses for their law-making bosses.

So what is the difference between science and scientism? Samples first quotes the National Academy of Sciences’ definition of the former as “the use of evidence to construct testable explanation and prediction of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process.” Continue reading “WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Do You Know The Difference Between ‘Science’ And ‘Scientism?’”

*STAFF NEWS: Look Who Is ‘Movin’ On Up’ On The Hill

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Alex Swann is the new Scheduler/Executive Assistant for Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV). Alex previously worked as an intern for the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. He is a 2016 graduate in theatre from Reed College.

Joining the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee as a Professional Staff Member is Lucy Koch, moving up from a research assistant position for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) on the same panel. Lucy is a 2017 graduate of Haverford College with a BA in Spanish and economics. Continue reading “*STAFF NEWS: Look Who Is ‘Movin’ On Up’ On The Hill”

Leadership Lessons For Capitol Hill From The Original ‘Star Trek’

Those of a certain age will recall the original “Star Trek” television series with William Shatner as Captain Kirk, which was the genesis of the movie franchise and the second generation TV series featuring Patrick Stewart as Kirk as well.

Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

If you work on Capitol Hill these days, odds are Star Trek is not the first place you would think of for valuable lessons on leadership, but Christian philosopher and Reasons to Believe scholar Kenneth Samples, writing on his excellent “Reflections” blog, offers a thought-provoking case to the contrary.

Samples notes that Kirk relies mainly on two subordinates, Dr. Spock, the ship’s science officer, and Dr. McCoy, the ship’s medical doctor, for advice when tough decisions are called for: Continue reading “Leadership Lessons For Capitol Hill From The Original ‘Star Trek’”

*STAFF NEWS: Look Who Is ‘Movin’ On Up’ On The Hill

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Ian Fury has departed the staff of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to join up with Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) as Communications Director. Ian’s BA in political economy was awarded by Hillsdale College in 2014. Ian’s hometown is Houston, Texas, and he has an affinity for a certain Major League Baseball team there.

Thomas Mills is the new Legislative Assistant to Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), coming over to the Hill from the Environmental Protection Agency where he was Deputy Public Engagement Director. Thomas received a BS in economics in 2016 from Millsaps College.

Allison Childress (Screenshot from Facebook).

Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ) has a new Digital Press Secretary, Allison Childress. Previously, Allison was Scheduler for Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). Before that, Allison was a field organizer for the Arizona Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign. She is a 2017 graduate of the University of Arizona in law and public policy.

Chu Wang has taken up duties as Senior Counsel to the House Agriculture Committee, working for the Chairman, Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN). He is a 2008 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School. Continue reading “*STAFF NEWS: Look Who Is ‘Movin’ On Up’ On The Hill”

A Quick Briefer For Hill Staffers On Church Meetings, First Amendment Worries And Coronavirus

Thousands of churches and synagogues across the country have moved their regular services from meeting together in one facility to gathering “together” via Internet teleconferencing. It’s a suitable approach for coping with a temporary problem.

But what if the problem becomes more long-lasting, with official directives banning gatherings of 10 or more people continuing past the end of April and well into … well, who knows how long? That’s when things could get very complicated and when that happens, Congress almost always gets involved.

PJMedia Managing Editor Paula Bolyard has a thoughtful, accessible look at why the situation is a challenge for Bible-based congregations now and a warning of what could be coming down the road.

Bolyard’s title sets the context: “Should Church Violate Shutdown Orders? The Answer Is More Complicated Than You Might Imagine.” That’s why Hill staffers need to know this stuff, regardless of whether they are followers of any particular denomination or faith, or none at all. Continue reading “A Quick Briefer For Hill Staffers On Church Meetings, First Amendment Worries And Coronavirus”

STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Movin’ On Up On Capitol Hill This Week

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Congressional staffers are scarce on Capitol Hill this week, thanks to most offices moving to telework status, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t still getting promotions.

House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) adds legal muscle to his staff with the addition of Ashleigh Wilson as Legislative Director/Counsel. Ashlee comes to the Hill from Bowman and Brooke LLP. She earned her law degree in 2011 from the Wake Forest University School of Law. Her BA from Wofford College came in 2008 in Philosophy. So if you want to talk about the ontological argument for the existence of God … Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Movin’ On Up On Capitol Hill This Week”

Navy Experts Ran A Coronavirus-Like Pandemic War-Game In 2019; The Results Were Eerily Like Real-World 2020

U.S. military strategists and planners continually run war-games to prepare for potential scenarios of future conflict, but did you know they also do these exercises for situations like world-wide disease pandemics?

Photo by Carlos Esteves on Unsplash

“Called Urban Outbreak 2019, the war game involved 50 experts who spent two days coordinating response, containment and messaging efforts around the notional pandemic,” according to military.com.

“Some of the conclusions, such as the way forced mass quarantine can backfire and trigger additional disease spread, and how the mortality rate is better than the overall number of disease cases in assessing the scale of an outbreak — have been proved out through the response to the novel coronavirus,” military.com reports. Go here for more. And believe me, there is much more you will want to know if you work on Capitol Hill.