When Rep.-elect Bradley Byrne and his wife gave birth to their first child, Alex Schriver wasn’t even born.
Decades later, the newly elected House Republican will announce Thursday that 25-year-old Schriver will be his first chief of staff — making him one of the youngest on Capitol Hill.
Fresh off his electoral victory, Byrne is building his team as the new member from Alabama’s 1st District. Schriver, who managed Byrne’s special-election campaign, said his age isn’t as important as the trust he’s built with the congressman-elect.
“To me the most important factor is not the age but a focus on the constituents in the 1st District and understanding Bradley and his family, and serving his constituents,” Schriver said in a Wednesday phone interview in which he shared the news of his hire exclusively with CQ Roll Call.
Schriver grew up in Tennessee and moved to Alabama to attend Auburn University. During his senior year in 2010, Schriver served as deputy political director on Byrne’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign.
After Byrne lost, Schriver moved to Washington, D.C., to work at the Gula Graham Group, a fundraising and consulting firm, before becoming the national chairman of the College Republican National Committee.
Fast-forward to this summer, when Republican Rep. Jo Bonner resigned to take a job with the University of Alabama system. Byrne poached Schriver to manage his House campaign, and the 20-something moved back to Alabama.
What started as an under-the-radar special election in a safe GOP seat turned into a race with national implications and reverberations. Incensed by House Republicans who prompted the government shutdown, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wanted to show its force by supporting Byrne, a business-friendly candidate, over his tea-party-backed opponent, Dean Young.
Byrne narrowly defeated Young in the Nov. 5 runoff — a victory widely viewed as a win for business-minded Republicans. On Tuesday night, Byrne clobbered his Democratic opponent.
Less than 10 hours after Byrne won, Schriver was on a plane to Washington, D.C., to help set up his constituent service operation for 1st District residents who may need assistance over the holidays.
Schriver will be part of a small group of young top House aides. A 2010 study for the House Office of the Chief Administrative Officer — the most recent on the subject — found that 4.9 percent of House chiefs of staff are between the ages of 20 and 29.
Although he’ll be one of the youngest chiefs of staff on Capitol Hill, Schriver dismissed the notion that his age makes him a de facto advocate for the younger generation of conservatives.
“I don’t see my role as one to get out front on issues,” Schriver said. “My role is to support the congressman.”