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It may be business as usual in the office of Rep. Mac Thornberry. But for two new hires and one recently promoted staffer, an aversion to a business career is what led them to Capitol Hill in the first place.
“The thing with working at a bank is that you sit behind a computer, crunch numbers, go home and come back to do it again,” said Staff Assistant Alexandra Igleheart, who interned for a private wealth company in 2009. “Here, you never know what you’re going to be doing every day, and that’s exciting.”
Igleheart was hired by the Texas Republican this January, along with policy adviser Mark Morehouse. In addition, Michael Seeds was promoted from legislative assistant to legislative director. All three staffers thought they might work in business but ended up in politics. Although the trio started in similar places, they came to the office on different paths.
Morehouse, 50, attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and earned a bachelor’s degree in history. After a five-year stint in the Army, the Montana native moved to New York to work as a bond salesman at Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank Securities. But Morehouse wanted to get more involved in national security and influence policy.
In 2000, he left his business career and moved to D.C. with his wife, Kathy. Morehouse got his footing on the Hill in the office of then-Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), where he eventually became legislative director. Meanwhile, Morehouse also earned his master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University.
But in 2001, while he was working in the Rayburn House Office Building, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, which was next to his old office building in New York. Morehouse lost several friends and co-workers in the attacks.
But the events of Sept. 11 only inspired Morehouse to continue work on national security issues. After six years with Kolbe, he moved over to the Pentagon to work on counterterrorism and Afghanistan issues.
Since starting with Thornberry in January, Morehouse has taken on a similar set of issues. He is responsible for advising the Congressman on all issues related to national security, foreign policy, homeland security and veterans.
Seeds also handles an array of issues related to his background. The 30-year-old staffer, who is responsible for agriculture, energy and environmental issues, grew up in the Congressman’s district and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a degree in business administration. His family still lives in Texas and works in oil and gas production.