WORKING ON THE HILL: Learning To Pray For Your Enemies

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.

Photo by Alessandro Bellone on Unsplash.

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.

“Bob” (not his real name) is evidently from New York and was extremely agitated by the headline on the story, “Trump’s National Day of Prayer Nettled Critics, but America is Still a Praying Nation.” Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Learning To Pray For Your Enemies”

*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’”

Saturday’s Despair Will Be Forever Replaced By The Love Of Sunday’s Risen Savior

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.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

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.

That was Paul. He, too, was headed to a miraculous encounter, on the road to Damascus with the Risen Savior who would change everything for him. Years later, Paul would then share with the believers at Rome these incredible truths about Jesus Christ and about them: Continue reading “Saturday’s Despair Will Be Forever Replaced By The Love Of Sunday’s Risen Savior”

*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 Is Being Promoted On Capitol Hill This Week

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

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 Almond heading 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.

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 MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted On Capitol Hill This Week

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:
Leslie Shedd with Clemson University Quarterback Trevor Lawrence at the White House (Screenshot from Facebook).

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”

WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Broad Coalition Of Advocacy Groups Urge Staff Pay Raises

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.

Dear legislators:

On behalf of the undersigned bipartisan group of civil society organizations and individuals, we encourage you to raise the funding levels appropriated toward the compensation of your U.S. House of Representative staffers. Continue reading “WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Broad Coalition Of Advocacy Groups Urge Staff Pay Raises”

STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Being Promoted On Capitol Hill This Week

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

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.

Daniel Bucheli (Screenshot from Facebook).

You may know Daniel Bucheli as president of the Republican Communicators Association but he’s also just returned to a familiar position, Communications Director for Rep. Ross Spano (R-FL).  Previously, he served a stint with the Trump re-election campaign as Deputy Press Secretary and before that was Spano’s CD. Johns Hopkins University awarded Daniel an MA in public policy and political communication in 2015 and in 2010 he earned a BA in government and world affairs from the University of Tampa.  Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Being Promoted On Capitol Hill This Week”

STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Being Promoted On The Hill This Week

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

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 Spencer appears to be in it for the long run (screen shot from Facebook).

Tanner Spencer was 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.

Now handling scheduling duties for Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is Mark Waits, moving up from Deputy Scheduler/Assistant to the Chief of Staff. Mark is a 2019 political science BS graduate from Utah Valley University. Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Being Promoted On The Hill This Week”

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

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

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, press secretary for Sen. Martha McSally. Screen shot from Facebook).

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.

Caroline Goodsen has made the move from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) to serve as Military Legislative Assistant to Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI). Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted On The Hill This Week”

WORKING ON THE HILL: Data Shows Dramatic Declines Since 1981; Kosar Tells Committee The Congress Needs Bigger Staff

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.

Kosar’s comment came in his mid-January testimony before a hearing of the House of Representatives’ Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress concerning the growing inability of the First Branch to fulfill its constitutional roles.

The cause of that growing inability is clear: Congress is starving itself of the most critical resources, especially experienced staff, to do its many jobs, according to Kosar. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Data Shows Dramatic Declines Since 1981; Kosar Tells Committee The Congress Needs Bigger Staff”

There Is A BIG Difference Between A Fact And An Inference

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:


 

Working On The Hill: Is Having Ambition A Good Or Bad Thing?

By Bret Bernhardt

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.

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

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?”