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Hill Climbers: Staffer Takes Atypical Path to D.C.

Tom Williams/Roll Call
Josh Drobnyk, communications director for Rep. Sander Levin, worked in several cities around the country, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco, before ending up on Capitol Hill.

Toward the end of 2010, he also served as a spokesman for Carney’s re-election campaign. Although the Congressman was defeated in November, not all was lost on the campaign trail; Drobnyk learned the ins and outs of campaigning, something he said he always wanted to do.

“Working on the campaign was really fun for me because every political reporter loves to be able to see behind the scenes,” he said. “You learn so much just by experiencing it and being on the campaign trail.”

His most behind-the-scenes moment came from a run-in with President Bill Clinton in the most unlikely of places: the Senate press gallery bathroom. Clinton was at the Capitol to watch his wife, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), be sworn in for a second term. But at some point, nature came calling.

“It’s not that crazy to see a high-profile politician on the Hill, but seeing him under those circumstances was just so funny. I had to do a double take,” Drobnyk said. “When he came out of the bathroom and saw all the reporters waiting, he said in that famous, slow Southern drawl, ‘Well, hi everyone.’ It was a total trip.”

Not all Hill moments are as exciting as brushes with former presidents, but that hasn’t stopped Drobnyk from being excited since he started with Levin’s office. He has been focused on handling all communications for the Congressman while establishing a relationship with the Detroit press, a task that hasn’t been too difficult for this former member of the press.

When asked whether he misses journalism, Drobnyk reflected for a moment before he said: “I’m still doing it. What I do now is very similar to reporting. There’s still a daily deadline, a sense of independence and a focus on communication, which is everything I loved about journalism.”

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