staffers

The Huntington to Hollywood Heroin(e) Connection
Political Theater, Episode 7

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and his guest Jan Rader, Fire Chief of Huntington, W.Va., before last month’s State of the Union address. Rader, subject of an Academy Award-nominated documentary, will be in Hollywood next month for the Oscars ceremony (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Welcome back to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Fire Chief Jan Rader has had quite a few months. The first woman to head up Huntington, W.Va.’s fire department, Rader and two other women from her community on the front lines of responding to the opioid epidemic — drug court judge Patricia Keller and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministry — became the subjects of filmmaker Elaine McMillion’s documentary “Heroin(e).”

Candidate for Franks’ Seat Denies Receiving Topless Photos
Steve Montenegro faces scandal in race to replace disgraced Arizona congressman

Arizona congressional candidate Steve Montenegro calls a report that he received topless photos from a legislative staffer “tabloid trash.” (SteveMontenegro.com)

Republican congressional candidate Steve Montenegro, who is running to replace disgraced Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, is facing his own scandal a week before next Tuesday’s primary.

Montenegro, who resigned his state Senate seat to run for the House post, received topless photos from a legislative staffer, according to a series of text messages that were reviewed and reported by KPNX in Phoenix.

Trent Franks Still a Factor in Arizona Race to Replace Him
Republican primary to replace the former congressman is Feb. 27

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks resigned in December amid allegations of sexual harassment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Trent Franks resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment. But that hasn’t stopped him from being a factor in the race for his seat.

Republican strategists say the former congressman is still well-liked among GOP voters in Arizona’s 8th District, which could explain why he hasn’t disappeared from the race to replace him. Franks appeared briefly in an ad for one of the candidates as voters head to the polls next Tuesday in the primary election to replace him.

NFL Player’s Drive for Social Justice Takes Him to the Hill
Thomas spearheading alliance between ‘athlete activists’ and politicians

Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas poses for photos on the House steps at the Capitol last week during his four-day externship arranged by the NFL Players Association. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On the Friday before the first Sunday of the 2016 NFL season, the entire Miami Dolphins team gathered on the field after practice in Seattle.

No coaches. No trainers. No front-office staff. It was a players-only meeting.

Hurd Staffer Joins NFL Stars to Bring Water to Eastern Africa
Director of constituent services Jon Arnold lost his leg in Iraq 10 years ago

Jon Arnold, a University of Texas alum, works for Rep. Will Hurd of Texas. (Courtesy of Rep. Will Hurd’s office)

Army veteran Jon Arnold has had a remarkable life of public service, and he’s not even close to stopping.

Arnold, director of constituent services for Texas Rep. Will Hurd, is taking time off for a 10-day trip to Tanzania with Waterboys, a charity started by Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long. The initiative pairs disabled veterans and NFL players to raise awareness and funds for sustainable water wells in Eastern Africa.

DCCC Announces Six More ‘Red to Blue’ Candidates
The candidates will benefit from additional DCCC resources

Lauren Baer, a former Obama Administration foreign policy expert , is challenging first-term GOP Rep. Brian Mast in Florida’s 18th District. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding six more candidates to its Red to Blue program, which helps congressional hopefuls stand out to donors and gain access to committee resources.

The candidates must meet goals for fundraising and grassroots engagement to be added to the program. The candidates will also be able to benefit from additional DCCC staff resources, guidance, trainings and organizational support.

Kelly Admits Missteps With White House Aides’ Clearances
Embattled chief of staff to phase out interim security clearances

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, seen here with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, has altered how the West Wing handles aides’ security clearances after the Rob Porter domestic assault scandal. (AP/Andrew Harnik file photo)

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, under fire after a former staffer’s domestic abuse scandal, has admitted the Trump team mishandled aides’ background investigations, and ordered new steps in how the West Wing handles security clearances.

In a five-page memo to staffers released Friday afternoon by the White House, Kelly alluded to the Rob Porter scandal but also attempted to spread the blame for a process he said was flawed but was one he inherited.

How Orrin Hatch Found His Twitter Groove
‘He has this incredible sense of humor, he loves self-deprecating humor, he loves age jokes’

Matt Whitlock, left, says the voice of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s Twitter account is the senator himself. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s not easy to create one of the most popular Twitter handles in Congress when you’re speaking in your 83-year-old boss’s voice.

But Matt Whitlock, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch’s communication director, has done just that. The Utah Republican has about 65,000 followers.

Rep. Rodney Davis Recalls Lessons From His Staffer Days
Illinois Republican was longtime projects director for Rep. John Shimkus

Rep. Rodney Davis talks about a picture of himself, fellow Illinois Rep. John Shimkus and former Vice President Dan Quayle, taken when Davis worked in Shimkus’ office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Rodney Davis was a staffer in fellow Republican Rep. John Shimkus’ Illinois office before running for Congress.

Davis, now 48, worked for Shimkus for 16 years.

Digital Staffers Focus on Getting on Message
Democrats fighting to catch up to Republicans in numbers and training

GOP Labs brings in companies to train staffers in social media and digital platforms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Breaking through the noise is a typical goal in communications, but this year, staffers just want to speak with one voice. They’re making coordination a priority within their parties.

That coordination is most obvious when multiple congressional offices blast out the same message with the same graphics on the same day. Whether it’s criticizing the Republican tax plan or celebrating Ronald Reagan’s birthday, it’s all from the same script.