Politics

9 New Members Who Previously Served at the Pleasure of a President

Newcomers to 116th Congress bring bevy of executive branch experience

There’s a group of new members of the 116th Congress who have served former presidents, including Reps.-elect Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., and Colin Allred, D-Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of newcomers to Capitol Hill is bringing experience from the executive branch to the 116th Congress. 

They draw from a cast of former White House or Cabinet staffers and high-ranking officials from the administrations of the past two Democratic presidents. These new members, who once had to defend their administration’s policies, now find themselves on the other side of the table, promising oversight of the executive branch. 

Donna E. Shalala

Florida’s 26th District

Shalala was the longest-tenured Health and Human Services secretary, serving all eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency. She was working on the federal response to the rising health care costs decades before the passage of the 2010 health care law. The Florida Democrat also had a stint in the Carter administration, working as an assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Tom Malinowski

New Jersey’s 7th District

Malinowski had stints working on foreign policy and national security issues in the Clinton and Obama White Houses. He was most recently an assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights, and labor from 2014 to 2017 and was part of the team that levied sanctions against North Korean officials for human rights abuses. The New Jersey Democrat has roots on the Hill, once working as an aide to New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Elissa Slotkin

Michigan’s 8th District

The Michigan Democrat has a unique relationship with the executive branch. She started her career in government as a CIA officer, helping craft analysis for the president and senior policy officials. She served three tours of duty in Iraq and eventually worked on George W. Bush’s national security staff. She continued working on national security in the executive branch and was confirmed by the Senate as an assistant secretary of Defense during the Obama administration.

Colin Allred

Texas’ 32nd District

After playing several seasons for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, Allred attended law school and specialized in civil rights law. He worked alongside many Democrats from Texas and eventually connected with onetime San Antonio mayor and Obama’s HUD Secretary Julian Castro. He served as special assistant to Castro at the department, where his work included fielding oversight requests from Capitol Hill.

Lauren Underwood

Illinois’ 14th District

Underwood is a nurse and former health care official in the Obama administration. She began her work as an HHS special assistant, eventually rising to senior adviser in the department. She worked on implementing the 2010 health care law and helping communities prepare for public health threats, ranging from the Ebola outbreak to the Flint water crisis. The Illinois Democrat also served as an intern in Barack Obama’s Senate office on Capitol Hill in 2006.

Andy Kim

New Jersey’s 3rd District

Kim is a former foreign affairs officer at the State Department and worked as Iraq director for the White House National Security Council beginning in 2013. He served several tours in Afghanistan as an adviser to Gen. David Petraeus. The New Jersey Democrat was part of the team that created the Obama administration’s strategy to push back on the growth of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Sharice Davids

Kansas’ 3rd District

The Kansas Democrat joined the Obama administration as a White House fellow from 2016 to 2017.

Ben McAdams

Utah’s 4th District

The Salt Lake County mayor was an intern in the Clinton White House, where he worked in the press office.

Michael Waltz

Florida’s 6th District

On the other side of the aisle, Waltz served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s counterterrorism adviser and as the Pentagon’s director for Afghanistan policy during the Bush administration.

Also Watch: Rashida Tlaib Can’t Stand Bullies and Is Keenly Aware Her District Is Third-Poorest in Nation

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