Kyle Anderson’s career on Capitol Hill got off to a late start.
The new communications director for Rules ranking member Louise Slaughter (N.Y.) graduated from college in 1989 as a political science major, but he wouldn’t begin his career as a Hill staffer until 18 years later.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Anderson held jobs in a number of other professions not focused on politics, including working in the insurance industry, managing a Philadelphia-based radio station and serving as vice president of a public relations firm. Those endeavors helped hone his managerial and communication skills, tools that would prove effective for his present occupation.
In 2007, he was in Houston on an assignment for B&C Associates when a friend told him about an opening on the House Administration Committee working for then-Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.).
As a native Philadelphian, Anderson was well-acquainted with Brady’s career. But coming to Washington wasn’t on his radar.
“It wasn’t something I ever saw myself doing in the past, but the opportunity was just something I couldn’t pass up,” Anderson told Roll Call.
Three weeks after calling Brady about the job, he interviewed for the position of press director and was hired on the spot.
At 39, Anderson’s late entry into the staffer world was a notable contrast compared with others whose careers in the field frequently begin either during or shortly after college.
For Anderson, the historical significance of where he had come to work was not lost on him.
He likes to recount a late summer evening during his first weeks on the job when he was walking over to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office to drop off some paperwork.
Passing through an empty Capitol Rotunda, he stopped in his tracks to reflect on the importance of the institution.
“I realized how special this place is and how lucky I was to be there,” he said.
In 2011, Anderson took his public relations smarts to NPR, serving as the media outlet’s senior manager of government relations. His tenure at NPR was enjoyable but brief, as the thrill of working on Capitol Hill enticed him to return to his old digs.
“I missed the excitement of being on the Hill. I missed the pace. I missed the people. I missed the ability to really impact the way that things move,” he said.
Anderson’s new post with Slaughter presents a functional contrast to his old one at House Administration.
“[The Rules Committee] has really given me an opportunity to learn firsthand about the legislative process. House Administration didn’t really do as much on the legislative process,” he said.
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Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.