“Could this be any more #thistown?” an HOH tipster bemoaned in passing along the holiday missive Hayden Rogers, chief of staff to Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., recently distributed to work colleagues.
Some Capitol Hill denizens tend to go all-in on holiday messaging, often resulting in self-effacing fun for everyone. Rogers said he’s wanted to join the choir of cheerful voices since coming to Congress in 2007, but quickly ascertained that it simply wasn’t feasible to be as all-inclusive as he would have liked on that grand a scale. “I couldn’t reach out to all 435 chiefs (after all, that’d be a full-time job in and of itself),” he said of the logistical obstacles he faced while working for ex-Rep., now-Dish Network hawker Heath Shuler, D-N.C.
Securing employment on the other side of the Capitol in 2013 made sharing seasons greetings much more manageable.
“Since coming over to the Senate, I have made a point of sending it to every single Chief as a simple way to celebrate the season and build bipartisan comradery in an institution,” Rogers explained via email.
Good intentions or not, Rogers’ salutation apparently rubbed someone the wrong way. The armchair critic decried its careerist tone, (“Written as if he's a member of the senate, on his own senate stationery,” the tipster suggested) and impersonal feel (“It appears he has his own auto-pen.”)
Others, Rogers said, have been more appreciative of the interoffice outreach.
“Last year, a number of folks emailed or called me after they received the letter,” he related.
Not to mention the fact that the letters just plain make him feel good.
“I’m still a kid at heart and really enjoy celebrating Christmas,” Rogers shared.
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