A former Census Bureau employee, Hayes could use his experience to help make sure the one Congressional district Missouri is slated to lose isn’t that of his new boss, Westmoreland said.
Brian Robinson, Westmoreland’s former press secretary, said a change was inevitable. Though he loved the office, Robinson said he and his colleagues had been on Westmoreland’s staff for longer than usual because of a poor job climate for Republicans.
“He sort of served as a homeless shelter manager for us,” Robinson said. “A pool of latent talent accumulated in Lynn’s office, and he just happened to get a lot of great folks there who were lucky to have a place to hang their hats for a few years because Republican jobs disappeared amidst Obama-mania.”
Robinson left the office in March and joked that the other three who left “couldn’t bear to stay in the office with my memory.”
But he added that Westmoreland told his staffers at the beginning of the 111th Congress that if they want to move on, he’d help them do it.
So when Robinson suggested that he wanted to work on Deal’s gubernatorial campaign, Westmoreland made it happen.
“Congressman Westmoreland was thoughtful enough to go to Congressman Deal and suggest me for the campaign and then kind of gave me a safety net as well,” Robinson said. “He said ‘We’ll do without a press secretary for a while so if the primary doesn’t go how you want it to, you can come back to your job.’”
And Westmoreland, who Robinson called a “political animal,” kept up with him.
“I would hear word back from people,” Robinson said. “They would say, ‘Oh, Lynn was bragging on you. Lynn’s so proud of how the campaign is going.’”
That’s not to say there’s nothing in it for the “proud parent.” A shrewd politician, Westmoreland now has the ear of three new Members and his state’s governor, who also happens to be a friend. Georgia is set to gain one seat in redistricting.
“With this being a redistricting year, Congressman Westmoreland is going to be in our ear,” Robinson said. “I expect to hear a lot from Congressman Westmoreland on his views on how the districts should be drawn.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.