With congressional staff beginning to return to Hill offices in some numbers and many more still working from home, the question of whether senators and representatives need larger personal staffs is likely to get more attention in coming months.
Thanks to COVID-19, many staffers accustomed to doing jobs on the legislative or media side have had to learn more about the difficulties and challenges of effective constituent case work. And having most staff working from home has created a host of new challenges, as well as new ways of getting important things done.
Would hiring larger personal staffs well-serve the public? Would your boss be able to serve his or her constituents more effectively if more staff members were available?
Cast your vote below. Leave a comment. And don’t worry, it’s all anonymous, so share your thoughts and don’t be bashful!
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.
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.
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.
Katie Earle is the new professional staff member in the office of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Republican staff. Katie comes over to the House side following her tenure as a national security fellow for Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND). She is a 2019 MA graduate in security studies and military operations from Georgetown University, while her 2012 BA from Middlebury College was in Russian studies.
Another significant move on the Republican side of things is that of Erik Kenney to legislative director for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Erik’s 2013 BA in political studies is from Marquette University.
New evidence that Hill staffers sometimes meet, work in some proximity, fall in love, then get married: Natalie Smith, legislative counsel for Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA.) and Matthew Ellison, deputy policy counsel for the House Democratic Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC). HillFaith sends blessings and best wishes to the newlyweds.
Ebise Bayisa is the new House Judiciary Committee counsel on the Democratic side. The judiciary slot is Ebise’s first position on a Hill staff, as she formerly worked for the U.S. Sentencing Commission as a senior attorney. Her law degree was earned in 2005 from the American University Washington College of Law.Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who Is Being Promoted On The Hill!”
Being an aide or intern to a senator or representative in Congress is a lot like what it must have been for Daniel, the Old Testament prophet who at a young age found himself among a small group of conquered Judeans being groomed for the court of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Part of the group’s three-year study and preparation for service to the King involved adherence to a royally prescribed nutritional course that conflicted in key respects with the dietary regimen of the Jewish faith of Daniel and three of his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
It probably seems like a small thing, and working on Capitol Hill can be among the jobs that make doing it on a regular basis extraordinarily tough, but sitting down for meals with your spouse and kids may well be among the most important things you can do for them.
That’s according to a huge 2016 cross-sectional national study highlighted this week by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI), headed by its founder, Dr. Patrick Fagan.
“The study of 8,500 adolescents found that 60% of adolescents shared family meals five times a week or more,” Fagan said in an email to HillFaith.
“The greater the frequency of family meals, the fewer were symptoms of depression or emotional difficulties, and the more frequent was emotional well-being. On the particular measure of being shielded from symptoms of depression girls benefited more from frequent family meals than boys did,” Fagan said.
The abstract of the study, which was based on multiple regression analyses of a variety of factors, described the results as indicating “frequent family meals may have a protective effect on the mental health of adolescents, particularly for depressive symptoms in girls.
“Interventions that aim to increase the frequency of family meals are needed to evaluate whether family meals alone can have an emotional benefit for adolescents.”
So, tempting as it always is to stay at the office another hour or two, consider setting at least one or two nights a week to be home in time for that meal around the family table with the most important people in your life.
The full study is available at the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. For more about the keys to happy, healthy families, check out MARRI. See also the Marripedia.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) had the highest rate of staff turnover in 2019, according to rankings calculated by Legistorm. But there may be more to their stories than first thought.
Senators and representatives tend to create their own unique staff universes that to some degree reflect themselves, so a lot of attention is paid to those with the highest and lowest turnover rates.
The Problem-Solvers Caucus has added Jessica Gail to its ranks as communications director, working for Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). Now in her seventh year, this is Jessica’s fourth position on the Hill since first joining the staff of Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) in 2013. She is a 2007 graduate with a BA from the University of Indiana at Bloomington in broadcast journalism and religious studies.
Holly Reagan Hinjosa is now policy adviser for Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), covering environmental protection and public lands issues. Holly is a native Texan but earned her BA in international and global studies from the University of Wyoming in 2015 and her MA in natural resources management from the University of Idaho in 2019. Holly’s Hill career began in 2016 as an intern for Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted On The Hill”
Data compiled by Legistorm finds three Senate Republican freshmen among the top 10 best-paying solons in the upper chamber of Congress, according to a report published just before the Christmas break.
“Among the top ten highest paying Senate offices, three first-term senators made the list: Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) with a median office salary of $81,823, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) with a median of $75,728 and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) with a median of $75,275,” according to Legistorm.
Just outside the top 10 in the 11 spot came another GOP freshman, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), with a median average salary of $73,259.
Here’s hoping you had an absolutely wonderful holiday and that you are revved up about being back on Capitol Hill “tanned, rested and ready” for the second session of the 116th Congress in 2020.
Here’s what you can expect to find on HillFaith in coming months:
First, what they didn’t tell you in college about Jesus Christ, including the intellectually challenging multitude of facts, evidence and logic from history, science, archeology, medicine and personal experience. Give it a fair hearing and then decide for yourself what it means for you. He changed my life and He can yours, too.
Second, when I say “been there, done that, let’s talk,” it’s a humbly sincere invitation. I’ve spent four great years on a congressional staff and another three decades covering Congress and the rest of the federal government as a journalist. I love the Hill and have profound respect for the people who work here. And I just might have some insights that haven’t occurred to you. And always off-the-record!
Finally, working on the Hill is tough, exciting, frustrating, rewarding and valuable. There are moves afoot aimed at making working for a senator, representative, committee or congressional agency more fulfilling, effective and perhaps even lucrative. You’ll find news about these developments, too, plus regular looks at who is moving up and who is moving out.
There’s no other web site in the world like HillFaith, so enjoy it and let’s all together work to make America a better place for everybody here.
If this post looks familiar, that’s because it appeared on the site a couple of days ago when yours truly forgot to change “2019” to “2020” on the WordPress publication scheduling function. Don’t worry, it’s still 2020, not 2021! 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.