Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 25, 2014

School’s Out for Veteran Lobbyist | Downtown Moves

Michael A. Resnick, who has spent the past 44 years lobbying for the National School Boards Association, has retired. The NSBA’s associated executive director for federal advocacy and public policy turned in his attendance card for the last time at the end of November.

Resnick started at NSBA in 1969, after a stint with the Treasury Department’s Office of General Counsel. It’s a remarkable tenure for someone in the advocacy business, even one headquartered in the less partisan and high-pressure King Street association row over in Alexandria, Va., (as opposed to the K Street pirates who are responsible for so much of the popular culture’s perceptions of what makes a lobbyist a lobbyist.)

Regardless of whether you’re a K Streeter or a King Streeter, though, it involves working with Capitol Hill. It doesn’t sound like Resnick has the highest regard for the current Capitol environment. “We no longer see predictable, orderly policymaking on Capitol Hill. In the past the political parties had different views, but compromise and accommodations could be made,” he said in a statement announcing his retirement. 

Until the NSBA finds a replacement, Reginald M. Felton, the group’s assistant executive director for federal advocacy and public policy, will fill Resnick’s role.

Former Harkin Aide Gets NIH Award

Erik Fatemi, the former staff director for Senate Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has picked up the National Institutes of Health Director’s Award, the first time someone outside NIH has gotten the award.

Fatemi, who now hangs his hat at Cornerstone Government Affairs as a vice president called the award “an extraordinary and humbling honor,” in a statement.  Harkin’s subcommittee is responsible for allocating spending for NIH.

Fatemi, the grandson of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., started at Cornerstone back in October. “Erik Fatemi stands out in my mind as one of the most effective staff members I have worked with on Capitol Hill,” NIH Director Francis S. Collins said in a release announcing the award.

Washington Post Colleagues Reunited

Frank Ahrens, a former Washington Post reporter and editor for 18 years, has been hired at BGR Public Relations, reuniting Ahrens with his old Postie colleague, BGR President Jeff Birnbaum.

Ahrens comes over from Hyundai, where he had decamped to after leaving the Post. Ahrens had moved to Seoul with his wife, Rebekah Davis, a foreign service officer, and he worked there for the global car company. “During his many years at the Washington Post, Frank covered everything from the Federal Communications Commission to the financial crisis of 2008. At Hyundai, he led the company’s public relations efforts worldwide. BGR PR’s clients will be well served by Frank’s experience as a reporter, editor and advocate,” Birnbaum said in a release announcing the hire.

Wall Street Journal Mainstay Heads to Brookings

David Wessel, a veteran journalist at the Wall Street Journal, is heading to Dupont Circle to become the founding director of the Brookings Institution’s new Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy.

“I’ve been a daily journalist since the day after I graduated from college in 1975, and I’m finishing my 30th year at the Wall Street Journal. It’s time to try something new,” Wessel said in a release, adding that he is excited to work with the Hutchins team “to build a new non-partisan center that sheds light on the crucial fiscal and monetary policy challenges of our time.”

Wessel will continue to contribute to the WSJ, according to the Brookings release.

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