Hill Climbers: Loving the Committees

Posted October 20, 2009 at 4:15pm

Reputation can go a long way on the Hill, but so can a Member’s committee assignments. Two staffers in the office of Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) said it was those things — reputation and committee assignments — that attracted them to work for Matsui.

[IMGCAP(1)]In September, Rob Mosher, 35, was hired as legislative director. Mosher is a veteran of the Hill and the policy world, and he comes with a firm grasp on how Congress works.

“The Congresswoman and her office have a stellar reputation,— Mosher said. “The combination of her unique position as a member of the California delegation, and her committee assignments — Energy and Commerce and Rules — also spurred my interest in the office.—

A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., Mosher came to Matsui’s office from a job as a legislative director for Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.). But Mosher’s experience on the Hill precedes his time in Kagen’s office.

A 1996 graduate of Miami University with a degree in political science, Mosher began working on the Hill before finishing up graduate school. While working toward a master’s in public policy and administration at Baylor University, Mosher jumped at the opportunity to intern with then-Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio). After earning a master’s from Baylor, Mosher was hired as Glenn’s legislative correspondent.

Although Mosher only worked for Glenn for a year, his time with the Senator still stands out as memorable.

[IMGCAP(2)]“Sen. Glenn met with my mother for more than half an hour,— Mosher said. “It said a lot about him as a person and a public official.—

After Glenn left Capitol Hill, Mosher transitioned to the House side. In 1999, Mosher began a yearlong stint as a legislative assistant with then-Rep. Bob Wise (D-W.Va.). In 2000, Mosher moved to then-Rep. Max Sandlin’s (D-Texas) office for another year as a legislative assistant.

But Mosher was not done moving yet. From 2001 to 2003, he worked for Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.) in a legislative capacity.

But after five years of shuffling from office to office, Mosher decided to make a career change. In 2003, Mosher began work as the director of government affairs for the U.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee, an advocacy organization. Mosher spent four years working for the Armenian-American community there, an experience that he called “very rewarding— because he is of Armenian descent.

When the Democrats retook the majority in 2007, Mosher decided he wanted to get back into the political action, which he was able to do in becoming Kagen’s legislative director.

Mosher’s inability to stay away from politics makes sense when you understand his family. His mother, Natalie Mosher, is currently running for Congress in Michigan’s 11th district.

“My mom is a former county commissioner and has always been very interested in public policy,— Mosher said. “I think the thing that really made up her mind to run was working as an Obama volunteer last year.—

Also new to the Matsui office is Ryan McCabe, who was hired in July as a staff assistant. Before taking on the job, McCabe, 24, simultaneously worked two internships on the Hill this spring and summer — one with Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and the other with Matsui. He attributes his working as an intern to landing a job with Matsui: “I wouldn’t have gotten the position had I not been offered the internship first.—

Like Mosher, McCabe also said Matsui’s committee assignments were part of the reason that he wanted to work for the Golden State Member.

“Working for a Member who puts in so much time and cares so much about the important issues is incredibly motivating,— McCabe said. “A lot of the domestic and environmental legislation I find myself interested in comes before Energy and Commerce, so it is exciting to be around people who work so closely on these issues.—

McCabe brings political experience from outside of the Hill to the Matsui office. In the 2008 election cycle, he served as a political assistant at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

And immediately after graduating from Princeton University in 2007, McCabe tried his hand at presidential politics, working in several different positions with the presidential campaign of ex-Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.).

Now, as much as McCabe finds being in the policy mix rewarding, he gave the honor of his most memorable experience on the Hill to an anonymous Member.

“Shortly after I was hired as staff assistant, I shadowed one of our interns [as she gave] her first tour,— McCabe said. “At the same time we entered the Old Senate Chamber, a Member with a very large tour came in. The Member proceeded to yell at my intern to quiet down.—

A native of Silver Spring, Md., McCabe said he has wanted to work on the Hill because “it’s home.— For the past 20 years, McCabe has lived on and off in the Washington area. It should come as no surprise that his favorite teams include the Redskins, the Nationals and the Wizards.

What does come as a surprise is McCabe’s love for another Washington institution: the Metro.

“I think it’s very intuitive,— he said. “I know what it’s like having to drive in the area. I enjoy not having a car.— Off the Hill, McCabe is a dedicated swimmer and works out every morning in the pool. A former Princeton swimmer, McCabe said he is looking forward to expanding his swimming repertoire.

“My roommate and I just signed up for a Chesapeake Bay open-water swim,— McCabe said. “I am really out of shape right now so I won’t be swimming across the whole bay, though.—

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