Being a journalist covering Congress and national politics, I often hear from readers reacting via email to something I’ve reported, usually in positive terms but not always. Once in a while, a message comes soaked with insults and venom.
I got such an email earlier today reacting to my March 20 story in The Epoch Times reporting on criticism sparked by that news photo you probably saw of Vice President Mike Pence leading prayer in the Oval Office for the Coronavirus Task Force he heads and for the nation in its response to the coronavirus Pandemic.
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”
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.
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.
It’s the day after the unthinkable happened to the disciples. They didn’t understand why Jesus chose to die on the cross for their sins and for ours, and that tomorrow, Sunday, He would live again. Then everything, EVERYTHING! would be changed forever.
For now, though, as the disciples huddled in fear and terror that they would also be killed as followers of Jesus, another man was likely celebrating that the “Jesus Problem” had been, he thought, dealt with by the Sanhedrin, decisively and finally.
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.
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.
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.
Donald Stevens is the new guy in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s office, serving as Counsel via Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). Stevens is a 2014 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. He also earned an MA in history in 2010 from the University of Oregon and a BA in chemistry in 2007 from Stanford.
Over on the House side, Ashlee Rossler has saddled up as Legislative Assistant/Counsel for Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio). Ashlee’s law degree was awarded by the University of Wisconsin School of Law in 2019 and she received her BA in international relations and political science from Syracuse University in 2015.
It must be Counsel Week on the Hill because number three here is Ronce Almondheading over to fill that duty for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee via Ranking Minority Member Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Ronce’s law and political science MA are both from Duke University, while his BA in history comes from George Washington 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.
Leslie Shedd is the new Communications Director for the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Republicans, working for Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking minority member. Leslie earned her BA in political science and french from Clemson University in 2001 and her law degree in 2007 from the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law. Leslie is a devoted Clemson fan.
Moving over from the O’Rourke presidential campaign staff to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) as a special adviser is Allison Hunn. You may also know Allison from the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs where she served as a special assistant from 2013 to 2015. Allison’s BA in french was awarded by the University of Virginia in 2011. Her law degree came in 2018 from the University of California at Berkley. Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted On Capitol Hill This Week”
A coalition of good government groups, think tanks and concerned individuals urged four key leaders in Congress in a March 4 letter to support increased pay for the 20,000 mostly young men and women who work for senators, representatives and committees.
The letter was addressed to House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Minority Member Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), chairman of the legislative appropriations subcommittee, and Rep. Jamie Herrera Buetler (R-WA), the ranking minority member of the subcommittee.
Got a question about member services on the House Republican side? Natalie Joyce is who you need to see because she’s the new Deputy Chief of Staff for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Natalie has been with McCarthy since January 2011. She’s a 2008 BA graduate in communications and public relations from Mississippi State University.
First jobs on the Hill can be both exciting and challenging as Rachel Marshall is now discovering, being the new Legislative Assistant to Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.). Before coming aboard with Speier, Marshall was with with the Campaign for Youth Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union. Rachel was awarded her BS in political science in 2009 from Ball State University and her law degree in 2016 from the American University Washington College of Law.
Aryn Fields is now Communications Director for Rep. JaHana Hayes (D-CT). Previously, Aryn was Press Secretary for Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) and before that interned in the personal staff office of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). She is a 2018 MA graduate in political communication from American University and she earned a 2016 BA in government from California State University at Sacramento.
Tanner Spencerwas just promoted to Senior Legislative Assistant for Rep. Jim Banks (R-IND), from his prior duties as a Legislative Assistant. Tanner has been with Banks since serving as his campaign field director in 2016. He’s a 2016 graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in public administration.
Jake Johnsen has set up shop as Chief of Staff for Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY). Jake is a 2009 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in political science.
Natalie Johnson is now Press Secretary for Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), moving up to the Senate side after serving Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and the House Republican Conference. Natalie’s BA in political science was awarded in 2015 from James Madison University.
Congress is the “first branch” because the Founders intended the Republic’s national legislature to be “the fountain of all lawmaking authority and governmental action,” according to Kevin Kosar, vice-president for research partnerships of the R Street Institute.
If Joe tells you that two plus two equals four, he’s told you a fact. But if he then tells that you two is the square root of four and you conclude Joe has something more than basic math skills, you’re making an inference. But how do you know if your inference is accurate?
Are facts and inferences really so different? That’s an important question if you work on Capitol Hill. Consider these two claims: The federal budget has a huge deficit this year and it’s all X’s fault. You know which of those two claims is a fact but how do you determine if the inference is true or false.
J. Warner Wallace, NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective and founder of coldcasechristianity.org, spent years cracking old unsolved murders, so he knows a few things about the difference between facts and inferences, plus knowing how to judge the accuracy of an inference:
The simple answer is yes, but it depends on the kind of ambition it is. Regardless of our ideology or political affiliation, most everyone who works on Capitol Hill shares a similar energy, passion, and ambition.
Interestingly, these character traits look similar among staff and Members of Congress across the political divide. What separates them is the purpose for which they are used.
Take the example of the Apostle Paul. Before his conversion on the road to Damascus, he was passionate, zealous, and ambitious. Then look at Paul’s personality after his conversion. He continued to be passionate, zealous, and ambitious but the difference — and it’s a big one — is that these energies were re-focused on love of God rather than love of the law. Continue reading “Working On The Hill: Is Having Ambition A Good Or Bad Thing?”