Hill Climbers: D.C. Native Embraces a New California Focus

Posted May 25, 2010 at 2:35pm

In a city that has more commuters than residents, it is rare for Washington, D.C., Congressional offices to house District natives. But this is not the case for a recent hire in the office of Rep. Buck McKeon.

[IMGCAP(1)]”It’s pretty difficult to grow up in Washington and not be aware of the current issues being debated on the Hill,” said Morley Greene, McKeon’s new legislative communicator. “I really don’t think I could live anywhere else.”

The 23-year-old was hired in March to work for the California Republican. Although there are two other communications staffers in charge of the press and social media, Greene, a Miami University alumnus, has a unique role in addressing the needs of the California constituents.

“My job is to identify people who want to become an active part of the community and give them the ability to share ideas,” Greene said.

Greene’s specific duties include pursuing outreach initiatives, using social media and providing outlets for people to communicate with their Representative. If he notices a pattern of response through e-mails, Facebook or YouTube, Greene and his fellow staffers will try to contact that person directly and ask a simple question: “Do you have time to talk?”

According to Greene, it can be difficult to pinpoint major issues given the size of the 25th district, which stretches from parts of Los Angeles County to the northern interior of California. The varying geography commands different needs for its constituents.

“One day I’ll be working on education issues, and the very next day I’m working with a group from the north concerned with a local park,” Greene said.

The biggest challenge of working from a D.C. office is keeping the lines of communication open, which can be a demanding task when the district is on the other side of the country. Greene said he receives phone calls and e-mails throughout the night because of the time difference.

[IMGCAP(2)]Even though Greene only graduated from college in 2009, he is no stranger to Washington politics. Greene served as an intern for McKeon’s office starting in August 2009. As an intern, he managed social media websites, distributed an e-newsletter and wrote press releases.

He was particularly attracted to the Congressman’s office because of McKeon’s focus on defense and education. McKeon is ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee.

“I have always had a strong interest in working on defense-related issues,” said Greene, who has a bachelor’s degree in political science.

And although he is still interested in policy, Greene has come to appreciate the communications side of politics. “There are so many issues, but in communications you get to see the whole broad issue from all over the place,” Greene said.

The legislative communicator also had experience working as a public relations intern for the D.C.-based firm Cassidy & Associates. During his time at the firm, he was able to implement advocacy campaigns, work with defense and technology firms, and support senior partners as they lobbied for new technologies. Greene said the most valuable part of working in communications is that you “become your own expert.”

In his new role as legislative communicator, Greene finds himself more involved and challenged than ever before. The hours are more demanding as he responds to constituency needs during nights and weekends.

“It keeps me on my toes,” Greene said.

The new office staffer finds himself working more than expected, but he still manages to relax by doing outdoor activities on the weekends. Greene also takes time to appreciate the beauty of D.C.

“You’re on some apartment rooftop and you look out, and it looks like an old European city with all the architecture and steeples,” Green said. “D.C. is a really cool city.”

The best part about working in his hometown is that he has friends and family in the area. “Things can get pretty hectic up here during the week,” Greene said. “It’s nice to have family close by to remind you the world isn’t ending despite what some people think.”

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