Hill Climbers: A Multi-Culti World

Posted September 23, 2008 at 5:10pm

Ilan Kayatsky can order a meal in seven languages. He’s fluent in French, Spanish, Hebrew and English, but he can also ask what the specials are in German, Russian and Yiddish.

That’s undoubtedly a useful job skill for a communications director working in diverse Brooklyn, N.Y.

“The challenge in Brooklyn is that it’s a place of very segregated religious and ethnic lines,” he said. “Every neighborhood has its own special needs and concerns, and you have different ways of dealing with every group.”

Kayatsky, 33, became the communications director in Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-N.Y.) Brooklyn office in August, and he started the position with media experience already under his belt. He worked as a general assignment reporter until joining Nadler’s office as Brooklyn liaison two years ago. [IMGCAP(1)]

“It’s nice to have the mandate to ask whatever question you want to whoever you want,” he said of his reporting days. When he decided to make the jump to politics, becoming Nadler’s liaison seemed like a “good segue” between the two professions, he said.

Kayatsky is originally from Berkeley, Calif., and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999. He moved to New York five years ago to be with his then-girlfriend. They have since married and have a 2-year-old son.

Andrew Ginsburg is also new to Nadler’s team; he started working as the Congressman’s legislative counsel earlier this month. Ginsburg is based in Washington, D.C., and will advise Nadler on public policies, develop proposals and draft legislation on matters before the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees.

Ginsburg, 33, has been living in D.C. on and off for about 13 years and worked as a legislative assistant and as counsel to Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) before taking the job with Nadler. He and his boyfriend live in Thomas Circle. Originally from Longmeadow, Mass., Ginsburg went to Georgetown for college before pursuing a law degree at New York University School of Law.

After graduating from law school, Ginsburg decided to celebrate with a trip to California, where he got to fulfill a lifelong dream — going to a taping of “The Price is Right” when it was hosted by Bob Barker.

Although he said the set was smaller than he expected, Ginsburg was not disappointed.

Barker “was just as nice and funny in person as he is on TV,” he said.

Fortunately, his new colleagues appreciate the show as much as he does.

“I was happy to find out that my current office is a fan of ‘The Price is Right,’” he said. “That’s how I know a good office.”

Send news of hires and promotions on Capitol Hill to climbers@rollcall.com.