COMING EVENTS: Can We Build A House United In 2021?

Faith & Law, the collegial, bipartisan  gathering of congressional aides who are followers of Jesus Christ and who seek to integrate their faith with their professional life, is convening an important Zoominar a week from today. Here’s the official description:

“Have rancor and hyper-partisanship in our politics gone so far that recovery is impossible? Is America now a fading, failing democracy? Or can we come together as one nation to revitalize our experiment in ordered liberty in the 2020s?”

David Blankenhorn is president of Braver Angels.

“[David Blankenhorn is the featured speaker for the noon forum.] He is president of Braver Angels, a citizens’ organization working for less rancor and more goodwill in politics and society.

“Before co-founding Braver Angels, David led the Institute for American Values, a think tank on civil society he founded in 1988. He also founded the Mississippi Community Service Corps and the Virginia Community Service Corps and co-founded the National Fatherhood Initiative.

“The author of four books, David grew up in Jackson, Mississippi; graduated from Harvard College in 1977; received an M.A. in history from the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, in 1979; and lives today in New York City.”

If you work on Capitol Hill, you will very likely find this forum and discussion informative, thought-provoking and educational. Click below to register in advance.

Please register online to receive webinar details.


 

Keeping Calm In The Post-Election Storm

By Bret Bernhardt

Every two years, Washington and Capitol Hill usher in a season of change and transition following elections and the coming of a new Congress.

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

By design, no one is exempt from this change.  It may be that the member or candidate you work for or will work for has lost, retired, been reelected, or just won for the first time.

And everyone is facing the transition from an old Congress to a new one, which brings a myriad of changes, including numerous changes in committee leadership and membership.

Even if you are in the same office when the 117th Congress convenes in January 2021, there will be numerous changes as well. Members increase in seniority, bringing changes within an office and a shuffling of staff. Continue reading “Keeping Calm In The Post-Election Storm”

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

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Samuel Adepoju is the new District Representative for Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ). Samuel was previously a Building Manager at Rutgers University where he also earned his BA in Urban Studies and Affairs in 2019.

Allison Dong (Screenshot from Facebook).

Taking on new duties as Digital Communications Assistant in Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN) office is Allison Dong. This is Allison’s first job on Capitol Hill, after tenure at the Department of Defense (DOD) as a National Security and Innovation Fellow. Allison’s BA in International and Global Studies is from the University of Indiana. She was also a Public Diplomacy intern at the Department of State in 2018.

Julia Prus has saddled up with Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) as a Tax Legislative Assistant, following her tenure at the Department of the Treasury as a Special Adviser for Legislative Affairs. Julia is a 2016 graduate of Miami University (Ohio) with a BA in Political Science. 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:

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)

WORKING ON THE HILL: What A Conversation Today Between Thomas Jefferson And Martin Luther King Jr. Might Be Like

By Bret Bernhardt

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

Working on Capitol Hill provides many opportunities unlike those found in other workplaces.  Recently, my wife and I along with a close friend took a bike ride around the Tidal Basin where the monuments of Martin Luther King and Thomas Jefferson stand.

It struck me that these two men now stand juxtaposed via their monuments across from one another and I wondered what conversations they might be having.

Jefferson, the father of the Declaration of Independence championed the ideals of freedom and equality, yet was a living contradiction as a slave-holding Virginian.  While he attempted to reconcile this glaring incongruity, he died without doing so. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: What A Conversation Today Between Thomas Jefferson And Martin Luther King Jr. Might Be Like”

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

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Austin Heitzinger is the new Staff Assistant in the office of Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). Austin was previously a Public Affairs Intern for SKDKnickerbocker. He also has extensive campaign experience in Oklahoma. He earned his BA from Central State University in Oklahoma in Political Science and Government in 2018, and he will complete his MA in Strategic Public Relations from George Washington University in 2021.

Mollie Cramer (Screenshot from Facebook).

Mollie Cramer moves up from an Internship to Press Assistant for Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). She previously did an Internship in 2017 with Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL). Mollie graduated this year with a BA in Political Science and Government from Cornell.

Mark McKinnon is now National Security Adviser to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). Previously, Mark was an adviser to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in the Pentagon. He is a University of Mississippi graduate. 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:

Morgan Nunnery (Screenshot from Facebook)

Moving up to Staff Assistant from an internship with Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN) is Morgan Nunnery. Morgan earned his BA in economics this year from the University of South Carolina.

Also moving to a Staff Assistant position is Hailey Webre, joining the operation of Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), following internships on the House side with Representatives Clay Higgins and Garrett Graves, also of Louisiana. Hailey graduated last year from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a BA in organizational communications.

Rachel Alger is the new Community Liason for Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA). Previously, Rachel was a Communications Specialist for two Washington State legislative committees.

Owen Reilly has joined the staff of Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY), serving as a Legislative Assistant. Owen previously worked for two years (2014-2016) in the office of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). He graduated from the Indiana University School of Law in 2014 and the State University of New York at Fredonia with a BA in English and Philosophy in 2006. So if you ever need to talk Chaucer and Causal Fallacies, you know who to look up!

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)


 

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

Courtesy of Legistorm:

Christopher Cox (Screenshot from Legistorm).

Got a question about Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) concerning her views on civil rights, native Americans, technology, health or families (and lots of other issues as well)? Then the person you need to talk to is Christopher Cox, Clarke’s new Senior Policy Adviser. He is moving up from being Clarke’s Senior Legislative Assistant. Christopher is a 2016 MPH graduate of Jackson State University in health policy and management, and he earned his BA in political science and legal studies in 2013, also from Jackson State University.

Sheresh Khan (Screenshot from Facebook).

Sheresh Khan is the new Legislative Director for Rep. Lou Correau (D-Calif.). Sheresh was previously Legislative Assistant in the Correau office. Sheresh started on the Hill as a Legislative Assistant for Correau in 2017. Sheresh is a graduate of the University of California at San Diego.

Also moving up to a Senior Policy Adviser position is Elizabeth Arevalo, working for Rep. Ted Leiu (D-Calif.). Elizabeth, who has worked for Leiu since 2015, was previously a Legislative Assistant. Elizabeth graduated with a BA in political science in 2014 from Notre Dame University.  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???

WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: These Are The Top 10 Best, Worst Paying Offices For Staff

Senators traditionally pay their staffs somewhat more on average than House members, but the latest comprehensive salary data from Legistorm makes clear that is not necessarily always the case.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) pays the highest average staff salary in Congress.

Scan through the top 10 highest average staff salary offices and you find seven senators, two House members and one non-voting House member.

At the other end of the database, all 10 of the lowest-paying members are in the House. Continue reading “WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: These Are The Top 10 Best, Worst Paying Offices For Staff”

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.