hill-climbers

Senate Foreign Relations Lands New Policy Director

Corker named a new policy director. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As 2015 comes to a close and national security remains a top issue, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee signed on a new policy director with Capitol Hill experience.  

Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced Tuesday that Chris Tuttle would be the committee's new policy director. Tuttle had previously worked at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Chris has remarkable experience in the foreign policy sphere, and we are glad to have him leading our policy staff as we continue to strengthen the committee’s role as a place to debate and to provide solutions to some of the most consequential foreign policy issues of our time,” Corker said in a statement.  

Ties to Coats Bind Top Leadership Staffers in Congress

McConnell walks with Soderstrom. (Bill Clark, CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Dan Coats wishes he had been able to do more with the all-star staff he assembled more than two decades ago, given the sphere of influence two of them now occupy in the top echelons of Congress.  

The Indiana Republican's staff leader in the early '90s was Dave Hoppe, who just returned to the Capitol as chief of staff to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. Hoppe in turn hired Sharon Soderstrom for Coats' team. She’s now chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.  

Steve King Crowns 24-Year-Old Queen of the Hill

Stevens has a brand new job. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

She’s still a few weeks shy of her 25th birthday and only three years into her congressional career. But Iowa Republican Steve King has given House staffer Sarah Stevens the ultimate vote of confidence: naming her chief of staff.  

The newlywed aide — her husband, Christopher, signed on as executive director of the King-led Conservative Opportunity Society this summer — told HOH she’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support regarding her ascent.  

Sudanese Refugee Is Not Your Average Summer Intern

Omer poses for a portrait in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on Aug. 11. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

An “awesome” hug with the vice president, seeing the president at Nationals Park, attending a Champions of Change event at the White House — it was all packed into a Senate internship this summer and came just a few months after Mohy Omer, a refugee from Sudan, had become a U.S. citizen.  

Now 27, Omer never dreamed about living in America, let alone the nation’s capital. He was placed in Fargo, N.D., in 2009, after fleeing his war-torn country. He didn’t know a soul or speak a lick of English. Within five years he was fluent in his adopted country's mother tongue, had earned a college degree and begun interning with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., in her Fargo office. In the months that followed, he would become a citizen, continue a study of the integration of the growing New American community in Fargo and move to D.C. for an internship in Heitkamp’s Capitol Hill office.  

Hill Climbers: From Hacks to Flacks

Piatt was a broadcast journalist for 27 years before switching jobs. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“I’ll just sort of talk. I know what it’s like. I’m not going to make you pull teeth, because I’m not a politician,” Richard Piatt, communications director for Utah Rep. Mia Love, said jokingly.  

Piatt is used to interviews, but he's spent most of his career on the other side of the table: He worked as a broadcast journalist for 27 years before arriving on Capitol Hill in January. Sixteen of those years were spent working for a Utah TV station, which is where he met Love. He's not the only former reporter now working on the Hill, or even for a freshman House Republican. One other is Ryan Saylor, press secretary for freshman Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., who worked as a print journalist before joining Westerman's team in December.  

Politics Is a Family Affair for New Lankford Staffers

Chloe Pickle is a new hire in Senator Lankford's D.C. office. (File Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

When Chloe Pickle was a little kid, she helped her family put up yard signs for then-Sen. Christopher S. Bond, R-Mo. She volunteered on campaigns with them in high school and college before embarking on her own career in politics.  

Now the administrative director in Sen. James Lankford’s Washington, D.C., office, the 29-year-old is one of two recent staff changes to the Oklahoma Republican's team. Patti Liles, who began working with Lankford in 2010, was recently promoted to office manager for his Sooner State offices. A lifelong resident of Missouri, Pickle was raised in a political family. Although he left office in 1977 — well before Pickle was born — her uncle was Rep. William J. Randall, D-Mo. Her parents and grandfather were active in campaigning for all of Bond’s campaigns.  

New Head of LGBT Congressional Staff Association Seeks Diversity for Group | Hill Climbers

Rivard is the leader of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mitchell Rivard, the new president of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Congressional Staff Association, said he and the group's board have a plan to broaden their organization.  

“The three pillars we’re working on are more Republicans, more women and more people of color,” said Rivard, who started in January.