The H Street Project takes its name, Park said, from the street that runs through Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood. It also borrows from the now-famous K Street Project, he said, referring to the GOP-run effort to install loyal Republicans into K Street jobs.
H Street’s mission is to help Asian-American land lobby jobs.
“We may try to work closely with the head-hunting and lobbying firms in town to let them know there’s a pretty organized group of people who they can recruit from,” Park said. “We want to be a resource to them when they’re looking for more diversity.”
The bipartisan H Streeters, who gather for regular informal lunches, have met with representatives from the presidential campaigns and with Asian-American Hill staffers.
“In D.C., seeing Asian-American lobbyists or Hill staffers is a rarity,” said H Street member Josh Brown, a Korean-born lobbyist at CBS. “We thought it would be a good idea to get us all together.”
Other participants include Howard Moon of Amgen, Priya Dayananda with KPMG and Georgette Furukawa, a legislative assistant for Sony Electronics.
Furukawa said most of the H Street lobbyists have more seniority than she does.
“I feel like this gives me a way to ask questions, if I need to know about x, y, z or whatever committee,” she said. “I can ask somebody without feeling embarrassed about it. It’s like a family.”
Setting Up Shop. After 14 years on Capitol Hill and a stint at the Commerce Department, GOP operative Ron Bonjean says it was time to go to the private sector.
“I had worked on hundreds of major legislative efforts and high-level crises,” said Bonjean, who was press secretary for then-Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) when he lost his leadership spot after comments made at a birthday party for former Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.). Bonjean also served as the top press aide to then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill). “I thought I would offer my talents to the private sector, who may be dealing with significant challenges and require strategic advice and assistance. Plus, I am getting married in June.”
So, Bonjean opened The Bonjean Company, which will focus on strategic work for clients in communications and lobbying.
His clients so far include the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “I’m going to be media-training Republican Senators,” he said. One of his tips: “Don’t talk inside-the-Beltway speak. Don’t talk about Senate procedure. Don’t use the word cloture. Talk in ways the American people can understand.”
He also has signed up financial services and energy clients on communications matters and is planning to branch out into lobbying as the business grows. “I have a strong Rolodex,” he said.
“My plan is to grow the firm over time. I hope to have a strong base of clients to be able to hire in-house professionals.”
Office Surgery. The American College of Surgeons is heading to the Hill. The group has broken ground on new digs near Union Station that will provide the docs easier access to Members. “This building represents the American College of Surgeons’ commitment to working with policymakers,” President Gerald Healy said in a statement.