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

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Meredith Pohl (Screenshot from Facebook).

There’s a new Texan on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, namely, Meredith Pohl, who joins the staff as Counsel. Meredith was previously clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She is a 2018 graduate of the University of Mississippi Law School and earned her BA in Political Science and Government from Purdue University in 2015.

Coming on board as Special Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, working for Ranking Minority Member Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is David Mapp. Serving as Special Counsel is David’s first position in Congress.

Tameka Barber comes on board the staff of Rep. David Scott (D-GA) as a Constituent Services Representative. Tameka earned her MS in Leadership/Project Management in 2011 from Walden University and her BS in Psychology in 1997 from Howard University.

Andrea Jones has saddled up with Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) as a Policy Adviser for the Values Action Team. Previously, Andrea was a Research Assistant in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation. She earned her BA in Political Science and Government in 2017 from Liberty University where her tenure also included a project abroad at Oxford 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)

FAMILY: Data-Driven Studies Show Fathers Are Massively VIP To Kids

When federal policymakers named one of the most important social welfare efforts aimed at helping feed children in poverty, they dubbed it the “Women, Infants and Children” (WIC) program.

Fathers somehow were left out.

Father and daughter. Priceless. (Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

At one level, that title simply reflected the depressing reality that millions of fathers sire children, then fail to support them financially, much less emotionally or in any of the multiple other ways revealed by data-driven studies highlighted earlier this week by Dr. Patrick Fagan on Marripedia.

For congressional staffers in positions to influence federal policymaking on families, these studies offer strong evidence of why the greatest failing of present government social welfare initiatives may well be the glaring lack of coherently integrated efforts to support fathers and encourage them to be there for their families. Continue reading “FAMILY: Data-Driven Studies Show Fathers Are Massively VIP To Kids”

This Analysis Of Hill Staff Is Unlike Any You’ve Ever Before Heard

Bill Walton graciously invited me to come on his show recently and we talked for 25 great minutes about why Hill aides are among the least well-known, but most influential groups in the nation’s capital, Christian apologetics, HillFaith, journalism, and much more.

Screenshot from the Bill Walton Show.

These two graphs from my response to Bill’s opening question set the tone for the rest of what proved to be a delightful conversation:

“If you were asked, who’s the most influential but least well-known group in Washington, DC, if you really understand how things work in this town, you would say immediately, ‘Congressional Staff.’ There are about 20,000 of them. They are mostly young men and women, highly educated, very motivated, and very smart.

“They have a passion for public service and politics, who are also routinely over-worked, underpaid, and almost nothing gets done in Congress without them. They have tremendous power by virtue of their positions to influence public policy in this country, yet they may well be the most invisible power center in the nation’s capital.”


 

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

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Rhona Craig, Communications Director for Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD). Screenshot from Facebook.

New Communications Director Rhonda Craig has taken over the thankless tasks of corralling the journalists, PR hacks and other disreputable characters covering Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD).  Rhonda earned her MPPM in public policy analysis this year from Georgetown University and her BA in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri.

Tjesis Thatte has a return engagement in the office of Rep. Antonio Cardenas (D-Calif.) as Chief of Staff, following a stint at the Internet & Television Association (NCTA). Before that, Tjesis was Deputy Chief of Staff, Legislative Counsel and other posts for Cardenas, beginning as a legislative intern. Continue reading “STAFF NEWS: Look Who’s Movin’ On Up The Hill This Week”

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

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Clare Paoletta, House Energy and Commerce Committee (Screenshot from Facebook)

Returning to the Hill as a Policy Analyst for Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee is Clare Paoletta, working for Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). Clare was previously Project Coordinator for the National Association of Community Health Centers and before that an Intern for Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). Clare expects to complete a MS degree this year from Georgetown University and she is a 2018 graduate with a BA in political science and government, and biology from Fordham University.

Making the transition from two years as Special Assistant to President Donald Trump in the White House to Senior Policy Adviser to Rep. Larry Buschon (R-IN) is Kelly Collins. Kelly has also previously worked for Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and for Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR).  She is a 2016 graduate of the University of Dayton in Spanish and international studies.

Christine Leonard is the new Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, working for the chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Christine is a Hill veteran, having worked as Senior Counsel for four years for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and before that as Legislative Assistant to Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA). She was also Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for two years under President Barack Obama. Christine law degree was awarded in 2001 by Boston College Law School. Continue reading “STAFF NEWS: Look Who’s Movin’ Up On The Hill This Week”

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

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Closing several professional loops is Brett William Doyle, the new Senior Adviser to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) on the Congressional Oversight Commission. The move marks Brett’s return to the Hill after stints at EPA and the USTR. Previous to those slots, he worked for Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) on the Senate Republican Policy Committee and before that as a legislative correspondent for Toomey. Brett’s BA in history was awarded in 2010 from Lafayette College and he earned a certificate in joint professional military education in 2020 from the U.S. Naval War College.

Becky Shane, Staff Assistant, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.)(Screenshot from Facebook).

New on the Hill is Becky Shane, taking on the challenges of being a Staff Assistant to Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.). Becky received her BA in philosophy, politics, economics and history in 2019 from Claremont McKenna College.

There is a new Special Counsel on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and his name is Patrick J. McCormick, working for Chairwoman Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Before making this move, Patrick was Chief Counsel for the committee. He received his law degree in 1984 from the Catholic University of America Columbus Law School and his BA in 1977 from the Jesuit University in Wheeling, WVA. Continue reading “STAFF NEWS: Look Who’s Movin’ Up On The Hill This Week”

‘We Are Not Closing Down This Church’ — California Pastor Warns Officials

Pastor Jack Trieber of North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California, is appealing to all Americans for aid in his congregation’s struggle to exercise their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.

In an impassioned Facebook video, Trieber declared “we are not closing down this church” as a result of more than $52,000 in fines levied against the congregation by Santa Clara County officials, based on Covid guidelines issued by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Trieber joins Grace Community Church of Los Angeles and Pastor John MacArthur in defying Newsom’s guidelines that bar indoor meetings in churches.

Grace, represented by the Thomas More Society, has won four court decisions but county officials’ most recent retaliation was cancellation without prior warning of a parking lot lease that had been in force without problems for 45 years.

With resistance to seemingly unreasonable Covid-related restrictions growing, especially among Christian congregations, the issue is certain to assume greater prominence on Capitol Hill when Congress returns after Labor Day:


Shouldn’t You Be Following HillFaith By Now???

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY: Polyamory, The Next Step Down The Slippery Slope

Hundreds of congressional staffers are in positions of influence regarding family and social policy in the U.S., so developments like the growing acceptance of polyamory in elite media like the New York Times should be of interest.

Glenn Stanton (Photo courtesy of Focus on the Family).

Not sure what polyamory is? What it’s not is polygamy  — one husband, many wives — nor is it polyandry — one wife, many husbands.

What polyamory is is pretty much what any group of two or more sexually involved individuals say it is. Continue reading “MARRIAGE AND FAMILY: Polyamory, The Next Step Down The Slippery Slope”

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

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Joy Lee is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s new Press Secretary, moving up from the Deputy Press Secretary position. Joy began her congressional career working as a Press Assistant for the California Democrat in 2015. Joy earned a BA in digital and broadcast journalism in 2014 from the University of Georgia.

Joy Lee, Press Secretary to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (screenshot from Facebook).

Heading over to the Biden for President campaign is Larry Sandigo after serving for more than a year as an adviser to Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ). Sandigo becomes Latino Vote Director for the Biden campaign. Larry received his law degree from Boston College Law School in 2011 and his BA from Baylor University in 2008. Continue reading “STAFF NEWS: Look Who’s Movin’ On Up The Hill This Week”

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

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Mary Kate Carter is the newest professional staff member on the Senate Finance Committee, working for the Chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Mary Kate was awarded a BA in French and International Trade from Clemson University in 2018, and an MA in International Trade and Investment Policy from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs earlier this year. Continue reading “STAFF NEWS: Look Who’s Movin’ On Up The Hill This Week”

WORKING ON THE HILL: Hearing Of The Select Committee On The Modernization Of Congress On Staffing Issues

Earlier this summer, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress convened a hearing on staff compensation and benefits. The basic issue — what to do about low pay and high turnover rates — was the central question of the day.

Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) is chairman of the panel, while Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) is vice-chairman. In his opening remarks, Kilmer offered this analysis of the problem:

“Staff are the backbone of this institution. They are dedicated public servants who are here because they want to do meaningful work. They choose careers on the Hill despite the long hours, the lack of job security, and lower pay compared to what they could make in the executive branch and private sector.

“Congress is fortunate to attract such talented and hard-working staff. The challenge is keeping them here. We know that turnover rates for House staff are really high and while there’s churn between Hill offices, the typical staffer leaves the Hill after 4 or 5 years.

“That’s right about the time they’ve picked up a lot of institutional knowledge and policy expertise. As unfortunate as this pattern is, it makes sense. For a lot of staffers, the desire to serve the public is eventually outweighed by the need for a better work/life balance, and the need to make more money to afford housing, support families, and put kids through college.

“This reality puts Congress at a disadvantage compared to the executive branch and the private sector. The bottom line is this: until Congress can offer competitive pay and benefits, Congress will continue to lose talented and smart staff. And rather than view them as replaceable, we should create an environment that encourages the best staffers to stay.” (Emphasis added)

The following video of the hearing is long at more than 90 minutes, but the two featured witnesses — Casey Burgat, Director of the Legislative Affairs at the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, and Kathryn Pearson, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota — provide an intelligent, detailed and compelling analysis of what must be done for Congress to address these problems:


HT: Kevin Kosar of the R Street Institute for pointing this video out to yours truly via email.

WORKING ON THE HILL: There’s Good News And, Mostly, Bad News About Staff Salaries

If you worked for a couple of years on the Hill beginning in 2000 at the end of the Clinton presidency and the dawn of the second Bush White House, then came back this year in the same position, you would probably see a 35 percent pay hike.

That conclusion is based on Legistorm’s calculation of annual increases in the median staff salary for members of the office staff of a senator or representative. It was $39,673 in 2000 and is presently $53,660, a 35 percent increase.

That’s the good news. Pay for congressional staff has risen steadily during the previous two decades. Unfortunately, it’s still common for lower level staffers to be paid salaries that require having roommates to share housing costs, or other income sources (which should be disclosed). Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: There’s Good News And, Mostly, Bad News About Staff Salaries”

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

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Eric Shalloway is moving up to Staff Assistant for Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), after serving the Florida representative as an Intern. Eric received his BA in public policy earlier this year from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Danielle Cohen (Screenshot from Facebook).

Danielle Cohen is the new Communications Director for Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). Danielle previously was the acting CD for Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo) and before that was DeGette’s Digital Press Secretary. Danielle received an MA in media and communications in 2018 from George Washington University and a BA from GWU in 2017 in political communications.

Jessica Martinez takes over as Legislative Director for Rep. Mark Veazey (D-TX) following three years as a Special Adviser to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Member Jessica Rosenworcel. Martinez graduated in 2013 from the University of Utah with a BA in French studies and international and global studies.

Promoted from Legislative Director to Deputy Chief of Staff for Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) is James Hampson. He’s a 2012 graduate of Penn State with a BA in public relations and sociology.

Over on the Senate side of the Capitol, Maria Jeffrey has been promoted from Press Secretary to Director of Speech-Writing and Strategic Communications for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Maria is a 2011 graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati with a BA in classics and classical languages, literatures and linguistics.


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)


 

Are Moral Truths More Reliable Than The Claims Of Science?

The headline above no doubt strikes more than a few of its readers as impossible to prove or, worse, just plain non-sensical and therefore not worthy of serious consideration.

But, as Erik Manning asks in a recent post,  which of the following two statements put forth by Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland would you say is more certain to be the Truth?

  1. Electrons exist.
  2. Torturing babies is always and everywhere wrong.

Before you answer, did you know that there was a time not that long ago when the way electrons were described by reputable scientists would make no sense to today? Now ask yourself how that compares to the certainty that it is always and everywhere evil to torture babies?

Why should somebody working on Capitol Hill for a senator or representative ponder this stuff? Because you are part of the law-making process in this country and it is crucially important that those who make the law understand the nature of reality as fully and logically as possible.

So take a few minutes to read and ponder Manning’s analysis. It may even help you resolve the issue the next time your boss asks you “how should I vote when this issue comes to the floor?”

Go here for the full Manning.

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”