Megan Evans

Amber Marchand's Whirlwind Year | Downtown Moves

It's been quite a year for former Senate staffer Amber Marchand, who left her longtime professional life on Capitol Hill and a little later welcomed her third child to the world.  

Marchand, a former staffer for the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Campaign and House Homeland Security Committee, moved to the Senate in 2011, where she worked for Missouri Republican Roy Blunt from the beginning of the 113th Congress until April, when she went to work at Hamilton Place Strategies as managing director. She says she will miss working with Blunt, as well as “seeing so many friends, reporters, and colleagues simply walking through the halls." But, she said she “was grateful to learn from the best in the Senate.”  

Take Five: Rep. Will Hurd

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH  talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.  

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, tells us about the CIA and shooting hoops, and reveals his love of breakfast tacos.  

Take Five: Rep. Mark DeSaulnier

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH  talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.  

This week, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Calif., chatted about running, good advice and the best thing about California, man. Q. You are a runner and you’ve completed 21 marathons. Can you tell me how you got started? Are you still running in D.C.? A. I think I've always run. When I was in high school, I ran. I grew up in Massachusetts, and we were by the woods so I used to like to run. ... I think when you start running, it's usually to get in shape, or somewhat vanity, which is sort of appropriate for politics. And then you start to enjoy it, and now we know you get somewhat addicted to it and the endorphins, so you start about vanity and you do it hopefully because you just enjoy it and it's good for you.  

Alpacas on the National Mall  

In addition to great music, food and fun  from Peru planned for the 2015 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, there will be alpacas.  

Get Ready to 'Peruse' the 2015 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Ever thought of exploring Peru? How about next week at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2015  for "Peru: Pachamama."  

Will on the Hill's Midsummer Madness Brings Down the House

All of Washington's problems were solved at Will on the Hill .  

The annual dramatic mashup of Shakespeare, #ThisTown, members of Congress, professional actors and journalists opened Monday evening with West Springfield High School's Text Alive participants performing Act 1, Scene 2 of "As You Like It," with a little help from disco balls, slow-motion acting and '80s music.  

Will on the Hill Tries Hand With Intern Foibles

One of Washington's dramatic traditions continues Monday with Will on the Hill . Professional actors take the stage along with members of Congress and journalists in Elizabethan-era costumes, all poking fun at the strangeness of #ThisTown. And they do it with only one rehearsal.  

“It shouldn’t work, but it does,” writer Peter Byrne said in a phone interview. “Everyone comes into this with such goodwill that it succeeds.”  

Trio of Charities Benefit From Congressional Baseball

The three charities benefiting from the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game serve a wide swath of the capital region, providing support that helps the area's vulnerable population. Last year the game raised more than $400,000 for the Washington Literacy Center , the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington . Yolanda Jones of the Washington Literacy Center remembers taking her students to Starbucks, then realizing she had made a mistake. The trip was supposed to be a treat, but the students' body language indicated something was wrong.  

The people she works with are functionally illiterate and “caramel macchiato” was not a phrase in most of their vocabularies. The students grabbed drinks out of the fridge because they couldn’t read the drink names.  

No One Hurt at Fire at Elijah Cummings' Home

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., was at work, specifically the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Amtrak safety Tuesday morning, when he found out about the fire at his house in Baltimore.  

"Thankfully, no one was home at the time of the fire and there were no injuries. I am grateful to all of those who have expressed their concern," Cummings said in a release.  

Take Five: Rep. Tom Emmer



One Staffer's Personal Connection to American Fighter Aces

For one Hill staffer, Wednesday's ceremony to honor the American Fighter Aces with the Congressional Gold Medal had special significance.

Billy Benjamin, the director of IT for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is the grandson of Ace Carl Rieman. "Well, I recently came to learn that one of Carl’s grandsons works for me.  His name is Billy Benjamin.  Billy is in charge of our technology — when I can’t get my iPhone to work, he gets the call.  He’s a good guy … big Washington Redskins fan, but we can forgive him for that," Boehner said at the ceremony," after recounting the late Rieman's exploits in the Pacific theater.

Mark Begich Keeps Busy, and Keeps His Options Open

Mark Begich is not in the Senate anymore, but he is keeping busy working on policy issues close to his, and his home state of Alaska's, heart.  

“If you were traveling with us in rural Alaska this week you might not have differentiated it from work versus me being in the Senate — everything from photos and selfies, to presentations, to talking with folks on issues that are unrelated or concerns that they have about generally the government,” the Democrat told CQ Roll Call recently.  

Using Rachmaninoff to Send a Message

Like many teenage boys, Tambi Cimuk visited the Lincoln Memorial and the White House on his first visit to Washington. Unlike most teenagers, he also played Rachmaninoff in the Rayburn Foyer.  

“Oh my God, yeah, he is very unbelievable," Cimuk said when asked if Rachmaninoff is his favorite composer. "Russian music is special, it’s very powerful."  

#tbt: That One Issue With The Telepods and Aliens

A: On Jan. 24, 2000, Roll Call published a special section titled "Congress Next." The 38-page section welcomed members and staff back to the Hill and focused on changes to come.  

"Changes are Virtually Certain in Congress' Future" we wrote in a story about the possibility of a virtual Congress. "At some point in the next century it's conceivable that with super-encrypted computer connections and interactive TV, senators and members will debate with colleagues, attend hearings and pass bills without leaving their districts." One senator is quoted saying a virtual Congress is "the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

Take Five: Rep. Don Beyer

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH  talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.  

This week, Rep. Don Beyer Jr., D-Va., opens up about his multilingual upbringing, his automobile history and hiking the Appalachian Trail. Q. You own a number of car dealerships in Virginia. What was the first car you ever owned? A. So the first car I ever drove was my mother’s 1958 Ford Fairlane. Three on the tree, green. And the first car that I ever really felt was mine was a 1959 Chrysler New Yorker that had a push-button transmission. You actually pushed, you know, “R” and “D” and it was four doors, and the seat, you push a little button and the seat swung out … so it was very ladylike.  

Passport DC Brings Europe to Washington

If you can't arrange a quick trip to Europe this weekend, how about the next best thing: Passport DC's Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies' Open House .  

On Saturday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., 28 embassies will open their doors with tons of events planned, particularly centered on food, music and cultural immersion. There is a scavenger hunt , Latvian folk dancing, Maltese sweets, Spanish wine, a drawing for a six-day trip to Estonia, German and French language lessons, and a trip to Hungary. If nothing else, consider the Belgian embassy, with its world-famous beers, chocolate, and waffles.  

McConnell, Reid Agree on One Thing: Don Ritchie Rocks (Video)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., are frequently at odds. One thing they do agree on is the good job Donald Ritchie has done in his many years in the Senate Historical Office, including in his role as Senate historian since 2009.  

On the floor Thursday morning, McConnell called the retiring Ritchie "one of the smartest guys around here" and said, “I don’t think any of us would want to face him on 'Jeopardy.'"  

Senate Historian: How Television Changed the Senate | From the Archives
Senate Historian Donald Ritchie describes the shift to television cameras in the Senate and the “huge debate” that ensued as a result in a 2010 exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call....
Senate Historian: How the Senate has Changed | From the Archives
Senate Historian Donald Ritchie, in a 2010 exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call, discuses how a shift in the two political parties impacted the Senate over time....