Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

Posts in "Staffers"

December 16, 2014

Legislative Counsel Staffer Remembered as Funny, Positive

 Legislative Counsel Staffer Remembered as Funny, Positive

(Courtesy of the family of Ed Leong)

Edward Leong, 61, a staffer in the Office of Legislative Counsel for 36 years, died on Dec. 7 at his home in McLean, Virginia, after a nine-year battle with lung cancer.

“He was funny, caring, and brilliant,” said Sandra Strokoff, the legislative counsel of the House. “We work totally behind-the-scenes and he was completely OK with that. He was all about making sure that the legislation drafted was as good as it could possibly be.” Full story

By Clark Mindock Posted at 2:57 p.m.
Campus, Staffers

December 11, 2014

Hill Staffers Demonstrate in Wake Of Garner, Brown Protests

Garner 440x330 Hill Staffers Demonstrate in Wake Of Garner, Brown Protests

Cummings and Black join Hill staffers in a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol. (Clyde McGrady/CQ Roll Call)

Hill staffers gathered on the steps of the Capitol Thursday for a demonstration of solidarity with those rallying over the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.

Senate Chaplain Barry Black began the proceedings by reading a specially prepared prayer. “Today, as people throughout the nation protest for justice throughout the land, forgive us when we have failed to lift our voices for those who couldn’t speak or breathe for themselves,” Black said, a reference to Garner’s last words of “I can’t breathe,” also now used as a rallying cry among protesters. Full story

December 9, 2014

Nan Natcher Settles Into Post-Hill Life

natcher005 070214 440x298 Nan Natcher Settles Into Post Hill Life

Natcher takes one last look around the Cannon Rotunda before leaving the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

This is what Nan Natcher knew about the great-great-uncle who worked for the same place she was going: He didn’t miss a vote for more than 40 years. No pressure, then, for the great-great-niece of the late Rep. William H. Natcher, D-Ky., who voted 18,401 straight times in a distinguished career representing Kentucky’s 2nd District.

Now Nan Natcher, who worked for one of her uncle’s successors, Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., for more than four years, has left the Hill to embark on a private sector career in Nashville, where she is brand print manager for North Star Destination Strategies, which works on community branding, economic development and tourism, among other issues. Full story

December 2, 2014

Former Hill Staffer Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault

Former congressional staffer Donny Ray Williams Jr. pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court Tuesday to four charges of sexual assault in a plea deal that could keep him out of jail.

The Washington Post first reported the news Tuesday night. The guilty plea is the latest development in a case that has been ongoing for more than two years. In 2012, Williams was indicted on 10 counts of sexual assault for allegedly assaulting four women after drugging their drinks between July and December 2010. At the time he pled not guilty. Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 10:10 p.m.

December 1, 2014

GOP Spokeswoman Resigns After Criticizing Obama’s Daughters

459617362 440x310 GOP Spokeswoman Resigns After Criticizing Obamas Daughters

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images News)

There will be no pardon for Elizabeth Lauten.

The communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher, R–Tenn., has resigned amid backlash over a Facebook post criticizing Sasha and Malia Obama for their behavior and appearance during last week’s turkey pardoning event at the White House, according to multiple media reports.

“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get your both in those awful teen years but you’re a part of the First Family. Try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again, your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department,” Lauten wrote on Friday.

The comments from Lauten, who used to manage new media for the Republican National Committee and also worked for ex-Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., quickly went viral and inspired an adverse reaction. Her name became a hashtag on Twitter, and the online community vented about her scrutiny of the girls’ facial expressions, body language and demeanor. One of Lauten’s critiques of the Sasha, 13, and Malia, 16, drew particular outrage: “Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar,” she wrote. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 10:47 a.m.

November 26, 2014

Report Outlines Constituent Meeting Do’s and Don’ts

cummings019 102214 440x292 Report Outlines Constituent Meeting Dos and Donts

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., talks with a constituent in between events in Baltimore. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Constituent participation is the key to scheduling meetings on Capitol Hill, according to a new report from the Congressional Management Foundation.

“Our number one factor in scheduling a meeting is if a constituent is in the group,” one House scheduler wrote in an anonymous survey by the CMF. “Constituents from our district take top priority over any other type of request.”

The CMF’s 15-page report, released on Nov. 20 and titled, “Face to Face with Congress: Before, During, and After Meetings With Legislators,” is based on nearly 450 responses from legislative staff surveys conducted between 2010 and 2013. It details advice for scheduling, conducting, and following up after meetings with congressional staff. Full story

November 24, 2014

Two Veteran Capitol Hill Staffers Honored for Leadership

Cresswell award recipients 440x293 Two Veteran Capitol Hill Staffers Honored for Leadership

Hawkings, left, and Evans, right, were honored last week. Pomerantz, center, won the award in 2012. (Photo courtesy of the Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership)

Two veteran Hill Staffers have been recognized for their commitment to public service and their leadership at a reception last week in the Capitol Building.

Bruce Evans, chief of staff for Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Betsy Wright Hawkings, chief of staff for Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., received the William E. “Eph” Cresswell Congressional Staff Leadership Award from the Stennis Center for Public Service on Nov. 19. (Hawkings is married to Roll Call Senior Editor, David Hawkings.)

To be nominated for the award, which is given out once per Congress, a Hill staffer must have served at least 10 years in Congress, display effective leadership skills and work across the aisle. A member of Congress or a Senior John C. Stennis Congressional Staff Fellow can nominate a staffer, and the winners are selected by a committee of Stennis fellows.

David Pomerantz, the House Appropriations Committee’s Democratic staff director, received the first Cresswell award in 2012. The award’s namesake served as the chief of staff for the late Sen. John C. Stennis, D-Miss., and was a former chairman of the Stennis Center Board of Trustees. According to its website, the Stennis Center for Public Service is a legislative branch agency established in 1988 “to promote and strengthen publish service leadership in America.”

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 12, 2014

Pack Up Your Troubles: Members Begin Moving Out

office005 1021141 440x292 Pack Up Your Troubles: Members Begin Moving Out

Eskandani, left, Weiss, right, Aimee Wall and David Uhlich from the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley, check out posters while packing up Miller’s office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What does one do with 24 golden bulldogs?

“I’m trying to find homes for these things,” said Ed McDonald, chief of staff for retiring Rep. Howard Coble, describing the fiscal conservative awards the North Carolina Republican has acquired over the years. McDonald is packing up 30 years worth of memorabilia and documents before a different lawmaker moves into the Rayburn office.

While members of Congress who lost on Election Day are faced with the unpleasant task of packing up their belongings and moving out, other staffers who work for retiring members, and members who lost their primaries, have been packing up their offices for months. Full story

November 6, 2014

Tight-Knit Illinois Democrats Mourning Again, This Time for Lane Evans

Evans1 415x330 Tight Knit Illinois Democrats Mourning Again, This Time for Lane Evans

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been a rough year for western Illinois Democrats. On Wednesday, former Rep. Lane Evans, a Rock Island native who represented the 17th District for 12 terms, died at the age of 63. His death is one of three recently for a tightly connected political group.

Evans, who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, died in East Moline at an assisted living center, the Quad City Times reported.  Illinois lawmakers were quick to release statements about Evans, a Marine who made taking care of veterans a hallmark of his public service. Rep. Cheri Bustos, the Democrat who represents the 17th District, said “Lane will be sorely missed by all who he touched but his legacy of service will never be forgotten.” Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, who was first elected to the House the same year as Evans, in 1982, closed his statement with Evans’ long-time campaign slogan, “Thank heavens for Lane Evans.”

The loss of Evans comes on the heels of the deaths of Bustos’ father, Gene Callahan, who died on Aug. 4, and former Sen. Alan J. Dixon, who died on July 6. The connections among Bustos, Callahan, Dixon and Durbin run deep.

Callahan became close to Durbin when Callahan was chief of staff for the late Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., another popular downstate Illinois politician. Callahan also worked for Simon before he was elected to the Senate, when he was lieutenant governor.

Durbin also worked for Simon when he was lieutenant governor. Callahan went on to work as Dixon’s chief of staff in the Senate until 1992, when Dixon lost re-election. After Callahan’s death, Durbin said in a statement that “I never made an important decision in my political life without calling Gene.”

Bustos got to know Evans when she was a reporter for the Quad City Times. She followed in the footsteps of both her father and Simon, journalists who later went into public service. Bustos weathered the GOP wave Tuesday, forming another link to Evans, who was frequently targeted in his district but always found a way to win until retiring in 2006.


Gene Callahan, Father of Rep. Bustos and Former Senate Chief of Staff, Dies at 80

An Appreciation of Alan Dixon

Former Sen. Alan Dixon’s Memoir Provides Unvarnished Story

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‘HillVets’ Pub Crawl to Benefit Homeless Children

shelter002 021414 440x295 HillVets Pub Crawl to Benefit Homeless Children

HillVets wants to collect coats for kids at the D.C. General Homeless Shelter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group of congressional staffers who served in the military are hoping to use attention focused on them this Veterans Day weekend to bring fellow veterans together and give back to their Capitol Hill community.

On Friday “HillVets,” a group of Capitol Hill staffers who are also veterans, will host its second annual “Vets 4 Kids Coat Crawl” to collect coats and raise money to buy coats for children at the D.C. General Homeless Shelter.

The “Coat Crawl” is a pub crawl to three Capitol Hill watering holes that kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Attendees can bring a children’s coat or make a monetary donation, and will receive tickets for a beer at each restaurant. A participant who donates $40 will also receive a signed copy of “March,” the graphic novel by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Full story

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