Gilman is a veteran of Congress, having experienced its power structure from all sides as an intern, a doorkeeper for the Senate sergeant-at-arms, a congressional aide and now as communications director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Democrats.
Ed Gilman came to Capitol Hill as an intern 14 years ago and he “never looked back.”
In early February, Gilman was appointed the Democrats’ communications director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its ranking member, Nick J. Rahall II, D-W.Va.
Gilman transitioned to Transportation and Infrastructure after serving Maine’s 2nd District for 13 years.
The Buxton, Maine, native began his career on the Hill as an intern for then-Rep. John Baldacci during his junior year at the University of Maine.
“I was hooked and knew that I wanted to come back down [to D.C.],” Gilman said. The internship sparked his interest in government and policy, and he noted that he originally planned to attend law school.
Gilman worked for the Senate sergeant-at-arms as a doorkeeper the next summer and returned to Washington after graduation, again working as a doorkeeper. After a few months, Gilman was hired as Baldacci’s office manager and staff assistant.
He was working as a legislative assistant when Baldacci was elected governor of Maine in 2002.
Rep. Michael H. Michaud, D-Maine, replaced Baldacci and kept Gilman on as a legislative staffer. Gilman then worked his way up to become senior legislative assistant, press secretary and communications director.
“People don’t know how much congressional offices do,”Gilman said. “And being able to help tell that story . . . was new to me coming from the policy side originally, and a side that I really ended up enjoying.”
In December of 2012, Gilman transitioned to communications director for the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and its Democratic members (Michaud, who is ranking member of the panel, is running for governor this cycle). Gilman said focusing on multiple members was an adjustment, but prepared him for his current position with Transportation and Infrastructure.
He decided to look for a new job when Michaud announced he would run for governor because “it made sense for me and my family . . . to be here at least for a few more years.”
Although Gilman is no longer working for his home state, he is excited about the challenge of working for a new committee and focusing on different issues.
Gilman has changed job titles multiple times over the past 14 years and said he has also witnessed broader changes to Capitol Hill, specifically an increased use of technology and heightened security.
“There’s everything before 9/11, everything after,” Gilman said, noting that the terrorist attacks brought more security to the Hill.
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.