Uniting the warring factions of his caucus remains challenging, which may be why Majority Whip Steve Scalise elected to focus his energy on bringing together visiting lovebirds Steven Montiero and Ana Sidoran for a surprise proposal Tuesday.
Newly engaged Steven Montiero and Ana Sidoran celebrate at the Capitol with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. (Courtesy Team Scalise)
Montiero, a state trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol who said he liaises with the Louisiana Republican’s office during visits to the Sunshine State, told HOH he’d bonded with the five-term lawmaker while criss-crossing the Magic Kingdom.
“When you hang out with somebody at a theme park for several weeks at a time, you get to know them pretty well,” Montiero said.
As part of that discovery process, the two began chatting about Montiero’s personal life, his girlfriend — Scalise enjoyed pointing out that she shared a name with one of the “Frozen” princesses, Montiero related — and tentative engagement plans.
Asking Sidoran to marry him on Oct. 6 was a top priority for Montiero, given it was their 3-year anniversary.
Per Montiero, Scalise chimed in, “You get her to D.C., and I’ll take care of the rest.”
Bringing Sidoran, an advertising producer at Disney, up to Washington required months of planning.
Montiero said he coordinated with her co-workers, who agreed to “assign” her to cover an ABC photo shoot on Capitol Hill. He booked all the travel arrangements — making sure to apply Photoshopped Disney logos to everything for the sake of authenticity — and even shipped them to Sidoran via FedEx.
The day of, Montiero saw her off to work, then raced to the airport.
When he arrived for the main event, he said Scalise aides escorted him into the beautifully decorated Lincoln Room.
“He’s got flowers for me. He’s got champagne set up for me,” Montiero gushed. “His staff was absolutely amazing.”
Sidoran, meanwhile, was being shown around Statuary Hall when Scalise conveniently “bumped” into her. Once they got the formal introductions out of the way, Sidoran said Scalise cracked a joke about knowing a lovelorn Florida cop also dating an Ana, at which point the two began arguing about “my trooper.”
Scalise proposed calling Montiero, who unbeknownst to Sidoran was hiding just a few feet away, to straighten everything out.
They did so. Montiero played dumb and wished Sidoran a good trip.
But Scalise wasn’t done yet.
“He said he wanted to take a selfie to send to Steven and invited me into his office,” Sidoran shared.
When she walked through the door, Montiero sprung into action.
Montiero proposes to Sidoran in the Lincoln Room of the Capitol. (Courtesy Steven Montiero)
“Steven did an exceptional job covering his tracks,” Sidoran said of the whirlwind affair. “I thought this was a business trip!”
She accepted the proposal. Corks were popped. The lucky couple was invited to tag along for Scalise’s surprise 50th birthday party, to boot.
Sidoran said they are looking forward to marrying in early 2017.
For now, though, they’re enjoying the incredibly wild ride.
Montiero and Sidoran raise a glass with the Washington Monument at their backs. (Courtesy Steven Montiero)
“We got to take our first set of engagement photos at sunset,” Sidoran said of a picture perfect moment shared on a congressional balcony.
And you better believe repaying Scalise’s generosity is at the top of their to-do list.
“Of course Mr. Scalise will be receiving an invitation to the wedding,” Montiero assured HOH.
Alexis Flake May Be Congressional Baseball’s Biggest Fan
Getting on Steve Scalise’s Sweet Side
GOP Aide Recruits Tour Companions for Proposal
See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site.
Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.