Exit Interview: Amie Woeber Loves Loose Cannons
It sounds like departing congressional staffer Amie Woeber has, following a decade of government service, finally come to terms with the idea of decamping from the Hill.
Quitting all the chaos, however, may require intensive therapy.
The House Republican aide is leaving the Capitol’s confines to take a job as Washington government relations manager at PayPal. Her last day as legislative director for Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., is Friday, and she says she is grateful for having worked alongside some of the legislative branch’s more colorful characters. Duffy “Rep. Sean Duffy is by far the most engaged and energetic member I’ve worked for,” Woeber gushed in an email, stressing that the three-term lawmaker is approachable and actively engages staff. “I know his wife, his sister-in-law, and all seven of his adorable kids.”
Woeber also appreciates everything he’s doing to spread the GOP’s message far and wide.
“He loves using tools like Snapchat and selfies to do that, and he’s never afraid to go on camera, no matter who the audience is. … It’s been hard to keep up sometimes!” Woeber shared.
Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill. Woeber remains in awe of Walsh — a man, she maintains, “whose motto was ‘all press is good press.’”
“He’d make some outrageous statement in the press, and then I’d have to find the facts and create the talking points to support it — which oddly enough, usually wasn’t that hard but it’s usually the other way around!” she said of the freewheeling firebrand. “The man knew what he was talking about, he just had his own way of saying it.”
Former Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla. Woeber said she never really knew when Brown-Waite might let loose a barrage of rhetorical bombs.
“When you saw her on the floor and [she] hadn’t reviewed the talking points, you knew there was something memorable coming,” Woeber said of the “buckle-up-we’re-going-on-a-ride” rush she got every time her then-boss popped up on C-SPAN.
Perhaps the most cherished ad lib pertained to Brown-Waite’s distaste for the Medicare prescription drug overhaul during the 108th Congress. “Mr. Speaker, my constituents have a saying. They say, ‘You can take a piece of manure and roll it in sugar, but that doesn’t make it a doughnut.’ And that’s what I think about this bill today,” Woeber recounted.
Logging long hours with such outsized personalities is not something Woeber will soon forget. Several events are already indelibly etched into her memory, including the roller coaster of emotions she felt while watching Congress approve a Brown-Waite-led homeowners insurance bundle two years in the making (“She even thanked me on the floor and sent flowers to my desk,” Woeber said.), and starting fresh just as #ThisTown ground to a halt in summer 2013.
“I started with Mr. Duffy a week before the shut down . That was the strangest first week of my life — new office, a funny, super-engaged Member, and no one had a clue what was going to happen from one day to the next. And I was supposed to be one of the people in charge?” she quipped.
A textbook workaholic, Woeber apparently squeezed in meals whenever she could. Her dietary regiment (she’s a paleo fan) created some friction, but Woeber apparently improvised whenever possible — particularly when trapped in the office.
“When all else failed, veggie chips and an apple from the vending machine and Jack Links beef jerky that was sent to us from the district would have to get you through,” she said.
Scrounging up correct change for dinner is unlikely to be an issue in her new life. But there’ll certainly be some transitioning.
“As a lobbyist, I’m probably NEVER going to get used to having to stand in line behind the tourists and school groups going into security. I’m not even sure if staff were allowed to cut, but no one ever stopped me,” she confessed via email. “And I’m going to miss bringing my dog into work with me.”
People on the Move: Amie Woeber
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