Hill Climbers: Foreign Affairs

Posted July 22, 2008 at 5:56pm

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is operating with a fresh staff, particularly in the area of research on Asia, after five new hires signed on with the office.

[IMGCAP(1)]Brent Woolfork, a professional staff member who will be working on energy, environment, trade and Central Asia, who is originally from Okinawa, Japan, is exceptionally qualified for the job.

Woolfork, 28, earned a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University this year. Before joining the Foreign Affairs Committee, he spent three and a half years working for Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) as a staff assistant and legislative correspondent, and also interned for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Also working on Asian affairs research is Jessica Lee, the committee’s new staff associate on Asia and the Pacific.

Lee, who said she had always wanted to work on the Hill, graduated this year from Harvard with a master’s in regional studies, focusing on East Asia. If she wasn’t working on the Hill, the New York native said she would be back in school working toward a Ph.D. in Korean studies.

Lee recalled meeting committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) at a National Endowment for Democracy event honoring late Chairman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.).

“I really like working for my boss and the committee,” Lee said. “Everyone is extremely professional and very good at what they do.”

Mary McVeigh began working with the committee this month as a staff associate. The 23-year-old, who was working at Venable law firm before

starting her new job, interned in Berman’s personal office during summer 2007. She praised the chairman as a “brilliant man.”

“If you’ve ever watched him chair a hearing, he has this great dry wit,” she said. “He also has the rare ability to be diplomatically contrary.”

[IMGCAP(2)]Although she is from Sacramento, McVeigh describes herself as a San Francisco Giants supporter, and a “fair-weather 49ers fan.”

She is such a fan of her alma mater, Notre Dame, that she worked for their football team under Coaches Ty Willingham and Charlie Weis. She graduated from there in 2007 with degrees in history and international peace studies.

Chicago-born David Barnes, the committee’s new press assistant, says that the Windy City might be his hometown, but his heart is in New York.

His father, Baldwin Barnes, is pastor of City Tabernacle Church in New York’s 15th Congressional district, and his sister teaches in the same area.

He’s even found a place in Washington where he can get a little New York flavor.

“My favorite place in D.C. is U Street,” he said, referring to the corridor in Northwest. “It has a Harlem Renaissance feel and it just fits my personality and lifestyle.”

Barnes, 26, majored in psychology with a concentration in communications at Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Md. He previously worked as a staff assistant to Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) and interned for Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.).

Danny Marca will start his job as a system administrator assistant in August. The 23-year-old George Mason University graduate is from Arlington, Va. He interned for the committee before being hired.

Marca, 23, claims a Peruvian heritage and describes himself as being down to earth and having a sense of humor. He was drawn to the staffer position by the “energetic environment of Capitol Hill” and admiration for his boss, who he called “a sincere guy.”

Submit news of hires and promotions on Capitol Hill to Hill Climbers here
.