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Daniel Bloom, a longtime Capitol Hill staffer for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner whose mentorship helped launch the careers of many current and former Capitol Hill staffers, died Jan. 23 after losing a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was 57.
Bloom began his career on Capitol Hill in January 1977 as an intern for the late Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill. Shortly thereafter, he moved over to Wisconsin Republican Sensenbrenner’s office as a legislative staffer and stayed there until 1989. He worked for the Small Business Administration during President George Bush’s tenure and later the private sector.
Born in Chicago on June 1, 1955, Bloom was a model public servant, said former colleagues.
“Dan’s political life was always infused with a great sense of responsibility,” said Matthew Kenneally, a Sensenbrenner staffer from 1987 to 1990 whose lifelong friendship with Bloom began on Capitol Hill. “He saw himself as a person who could affect change and do the right thing and loved the ideological combat at which he proved so adept.”
Kenneally said Bloom took him under his wing from day one, as Bloom had with so many others in Sensenbrenner’s office, and taught him how to forge relationships and build coalitions to help get things done in Congress.
“Dan was a coach and a player, equally able to guide and infuse knowledge as he was willing to roll up his sleeves, get dirty and lead by example,” Kenneally said. “He was fiercely loyal, incredibly generous, a great humorist and a better friend. He will be missed, but he made his mark on so many like me that he will live on.”
Maria Cino, a former deputy secretary of the Transportation Department who is now at Hewlett-Packard’s government relations shop, said she met Bloom in 1988 when she was hired off the campaign trail to be chief of staff for then-Rep. Bill Paxon, R-N.Y. Cino said she knew little about how to run a congressional office, but Bloom took the time to teach her about the kind of staffers she needed to make an office run smoothly.
“He was a unique individual and selfless at what he did,” Cino said, adding that Bloom’s humor and love of playing tricks on staffers always led to laughter and kept things light and fun in an otherwise stressful environment.
Tom Schreibel, who began as an intern in Sensenbrenner’s office nearly 30 years ago and worked his way up to chief of staff before leaving a year and a half ago, echoed Cino’s comments, saying Bloom not only had an affinity for helping others but also for finding the lighter side of the often intense environment on Capitol Hill.
“The first day on my job as an intern, not knowing anything about politics, Dan took the time to explain the background of the issues,” Schreibel said. “He had a passion for mentoring and having a good time. Politics has changed over the years, but Dan always liked to keep things on the lighter side and try and have fun.”
Loni Hagerup, Sensenbrenner’s deputy chief of staff, said Bloom was always serious about his work but made sure to keep things light with his sardonic humor and razor-sharp wit.
“He provided clever, somewhat embarrassing nicknames for the Sensenbrenner staff, and most of us remain close today, holding dear tremendous memories of those early years with Dan Bloom where we were fortunate enough to be part of his wonderful game as well as of his not-so-well-hidden affection and kind heart,” Hagerup said.
When he wasn’t working, Bloom was an avid sailor and enjoyed spending time with family and friends on his boat, the Merlin, on the Chesapeake Bay.
Bloom is survived by his sister, Gloriane Bork, and nephew, Samuel Bork.