Capitol Hill 101 1 - Page 7

CAPITOL HILL 101 THE KEY STAFF POSITIONS IN A CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE • 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 writing legislation. • 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.