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After spending nearly three decades as a Congressional aide, Rusty Roberts is making the jump to K Street. On Friday, he left his job as chief of staff to Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and today he starts a new gig as managing director of the transportation practice at BGR Government Affairs.
“No, it’s not much of a vacation,” Roberts admitted. “It’s called hitting the ground running.”
Roberts, who served as chief of staff to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) from 1989 to 1993, told the Congresswoman when he started that he would only stay in D.C. for five years before returning to Miami. Then he signed on with Mica in 1993 and still hasn’t made that move back to the Magic City.
He said he was in talks with BGR for months and also talked with other potential employers, including lobby firms and corporate government affairs offices.
“The idea of moving on has been percolating up in my mind,” Roberts said, adding that he went with BGR because “I felt their business model was more in tune with the way I like to operate, and I had a really good feeling about everybody there.”
BGR principal and spokesman Loren Monroe said the firm recruited Roberts because of his “sterling reputation in Washington and Florida for his thoughtful policy and political expertise.” Monroe added that the new lobbyist, with his background in infrastructure and energy issues, “will greatly enhance BGR’s transportation practice.”
(Disclosure: Roll Call Deputy Editor Erin Billings has announced she will join BGR Public Relations next month.)
A Mayor With a Cause
Some lobbyists and public officials try to win over their opponents with honey. But Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is taking the more salty approach as he makes the rounds on Capitol Hill to press lawmakers to reject steep spending cuts approved by the House.
“H.R. 1, from my perspective, is literally an attack on American citizens,” said Nutter, referring to the spending bill for the remainder of this fiscal year approved by the House last month.
Nutter, a Democrat who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, was in Washington, D.C., last week meeting with Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).
The mayors are particularly upset with the House budget plan because it would slash spending for the Community Development Block Grant program by 62.5 percent. The grant program, which began in 1974, provides funding to cities and large urban areas for community development and anti-poverty programs. The president had requested $4 billion for this fiscal year.