WORKING ON THE HILL: If You Use Your Office’s CRM, You Need To Know This About That

Every one of the 535 congressional offices has one of these, and every one of them requires continuous attention from at least one staffer and helps everybody else do their jobs.

Screenshot from legbranch.org.

They are the Constituent Management Systems (aka CRMs) that, according to legbranch.org’s Samantha McDonald and Melissa Mazmanian, “help offices manage the ever-growing volume of constituent communication.

“They enable communication with citizens by logging, tracking, and categorizing, and responding to incoming contact. When a person calls a Member’s office, attends a meeting with a Member, sends an email, postal mail, fax, or shares a social media post, that information is logged into the CRM.” But CRMs are not unmixed blessings and here’s why: Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: If You Use Your Office’s CRM, You Need To Know This About That”

WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Young Congressional Aide Reveals How He Makes It In D.C. On $45K

Victor Yang has worked on Capitol Hill for three years, presently as legislative assistant to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and previously as a staff assistant to Rep. Charlies Crist (D-Fla.) and an intern for Rep. Juan Vargas, another California Democrat.

Victor Yang (screen shot from Facebook).

Even if you’ve never met Victor, he may look familiar to you because he appeared on CNBC last week in the cable outlet’s “Millennial Money” series of profiles.

He talked at length about how he lives in one of the most expensive cities in America on a salary that is well below the median national household income of $55,880.28 (for 2018, the most recent available full year). Continue reading “WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Young Congressional Aide Reveals How He Makes It In D.C. On $45K”

STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted On The Hill

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Anne Gordon returns to the Hill as tax counsel to Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) after a long absence. Gordon was previously an intern in 2002 to Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ). In between, Gordon was most recently with Pricewaterhousecoopers LLP. She received her LLM in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center and her JD from Boston College Law School in 2011.

Dan Lindner and friend (Screen shot from Facebook).

Got a question for Rep. Norman Torres (D-Calif.)? New communications director Dan Lindner is who to call. He was previously in the same slot for Rep. Raúl Manuel Grijalva (D-Az.). Dan’s MA in political science came in 2011 from American University and his BA from San Diego State University in the same major was earned in 2006. And no, that is not a journalist Dan is cuddling in the accompanying photo. Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted On The Hill”

New Index Finds Huge Majorities Of Americans Back Religious Freedom In Public And Private Life

Massive majorities of Americans across the political spectrum support maximum toleration and accommodation of religious practices in the public and private realms, according to a newly launched annual survey.

The accompanying chart dramatically demonstrates that support for religious freedom is overwhelmingly bipartisan, cutting across the ideological and party spectrums. The yellow areas indicate opposition, while the blue areas represent support for religious freedom.

The 2019 Religious Freedom Index from the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty is a nationally representative survey of 1,000 individuals who were asked a battery of 21 questions designed to measure opinion on six major dimensions of religious freedom in America. Continue reading “New Index Finds Huge Majorities Of Americans Back Religious Freedom In Public And Private Life”

Task Force Says Congress Needs Bigger, Better-Paid Staff

Congress, as the First Branch, has the power of the purse, but not enough staff to carry it where it needs to go

A report by the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Task Force Project on Congressional Reform finds that Congress desperately needs to enlarge its staff and improve pay and working conditions if it hopes to regain equal footing with the executive branch.

If you work here, you need to read this report. (Congress by Stephen Walker on Unsplash)

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, liberal or conservative, the issue of restoring the ability of Congress to go toe-to-toe with the executive branch is a constitutional priority. And the task force makes clear that expanding congressional staff and paying staff better is a key first step in that effort.

“Congress today is overwhelmed. After decades of self-imposed disinvestment in expertise and staffing, Congress lacks the resources and knowledge to stand on an equal footing either with the executive branch, or with the tens of thousands of lobbyists employed in Washington (many of whom are former staffers now earning multiples of their Capitol Hill pay),” the task force wrote. Continue reading “Task Force Says Congress Needs Bigger, Better-Paid Staff”

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”

One Very Stark Photo Shows Why Politics Matters Whether Or Not You Are A Christian

Believe it or not, there are actually millions of our fellow Americans who think politics is not something they need or want to think or care about. What Congress, the President and the courts do every day is just not very important to them.

These folks include devout fundamentalist Christians, people who go to church maybe once or twice a year on the traditional holidays, and others who think religion is a joke. In other words, a lot of the people served by congressional aides have little or no concept of the relevance of government to their daily lives.

Cross-examined.org’s Dr. Frank Turek explains why everybody should pay attention to politics, using a satellite photo that shows in vivid black-and-white the most essential difference between North and South Korea. And he makes some points you might find useful over the holidays when family and friends back home ask about your job on Capitol Hill.