CAPITOL HILL 101
THE KEY STAFF POSITIONS IN A
• Chief of Staﬀ (CoS) or Administrative Assistant (AA): One of the few staﬀ who
report directly to the member, the CoS is often the senior political advisor to
the Congressman, and may be the oﬃce manager as well (this may be the
person to talk to if you are looking for a job in their oﬃce). Unless you are a
campaign donor, friend, or otherwise well-connected (or a job seeker) you will
not likely meet with the CoS on grassroots legislative matters.
• Scheduler/Appointment Secretary/Personal Secretary: Handles all aspects of
the member’s schedule, who he or she will and won’t see, constituent visits,
speaking engagements, etc. If you are visiting Washington, talk to the
scheduler to see if you can arrange a meeting with the Congressman.
• Press Secretary: Handles all media activities, sets up news conferences, writes
news releases, works to get the Congressman on TV and radio shows, cultivates
a friendship wit h the media, answers media questions, preps the Congressman
to give the right answers, etc.
• Legislative Director (LD): The LD is the senior Legislative Assistant; and
oversees the Las and their assignments and takes a senior role in advising and
• Legislative Assistant (LA): Each oﬃce has a few “Las”, each specializing in
diﬀerence issues. They write legislation – and work with the committees, the
White House, Federal agencies, lobbyists and special interests groups who
have written legislation for them; advise their member or the LD on pending
legislation, etc. The report to the LD.
IMPORTANT: The “LA” who handles the issue you are concerned with is the person you should talk to, not the receptionist.
Call the office and ask: “Who is the LA who handles [your issue]?”, then talk to that person and request that they discuss
the issue and your views with the Congressman. Have something of interest (facts, debate points, news, ideas) to tell the
LA , not just “tell the Congressman to vote no.” Follow up with a brief letter or fax – ask for their email address. If possible,
schedule a visit. The LA can also tell you if the member is planning to vote for or against a particular bill – or if he is
undecided. Those who are undecided are those you want to give the most lobbying.