staffers

From poverty to power: Staffer for Rep. Darren Soto reflects on childhood
23-year-old Clarissa Rojas is communications director for the Florida Democrat

A chance encounter at a Chick-fil-A drive-thru helped turn Clarissa Rojas toward a career in government. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“My mom would be upset that I’m doing this interview,” Clarissa Rojas said softly inside the lively Longworth House Office Building cafeteria. “I’m doing it because I think it’s important that people know what Capitol Hill is made of.”

Rojas, the new communications director for Florida Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, didn’t find herself in one of the nation’s most expensive cities because her parents could afford it. After all, her father didn’t even pay the child support she and her older brother could’ve used growing up.

Iowa battlefield extends from politics to gridiron
Healthy trash talk is all part of life in Iowa-Iowa State rivalry

Sen. Joni Ernst is a proud Iowa State alumna, and not shy about it. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iowa is a perennial political battleground, but Iowans know the most intense contest happens on the gridiron every year, when the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones try to demolish one another in one of college football’s oldest rivalries.

The reward? A move up in conference ranking, bragging rights and the coveted Cy-Hawk trophy. This year, ESPN’s “College GameDay” broadcast from Iowa State territory in Ames for the first time in school history on Sept 14. Iowa won, 18-17. 

Hill staffers worried about expenses turn to student loan benefit
Repayment program helps staffers keep costs down and remain on Hill

Congressional workers say the loan repayment program provides an opportunity for those trying to manage the cost of education while embarking on a Capitol Hill career. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Kendra Horn was a recent law school graduate in 2004 when she took a job as press secretary to fellow Oklahoma Democrat Brad Carson. Fourteen years before her own election to the House, she made the move from Oklahoma to Washington and almost immediately felt the pressures of a tight budget.

With a pile of student loans and a low starting salary, she tried to keep her expenses to a minimum. She kept her food costs low, scoping out the cheaper places to eat, and paid for groceries on her credit card. But with all of her budgeting, she wasn’t making enough to make payments on her student loans.

John Yarmuth, from pinup to budget wonk

Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth inspects a photo of himself as a staffer that was printed in Roll Call in 1971 as an April Fools’ joke. Yarmuth sat down with CQ Roll Call this week for an interview about his time as a staffer. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

John Yarmuth went from Roll Call pinup to Budget chairman
Kentucky Democrat started on the Hill as a staff replacement for Mitch McConnell

Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth holds a photo of himself as a staffer that was printed in Roll Call in 1971 as an April Fools’ joke. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

John Yarmuth got his start on Capitol Hill in 1971 after another young future lawmaker — Mitch McConnell — called and asked him to take his slot on the staff of their home-state senator, Kentucky’s Marlow Cook.

Now a Democratic congressman who represents Louisville, Yarmuth spoke to Roll Call recently about his early days as a Rockefeller Republican and his experience as an April Fools’ pinup for our publication.

Graham says he’ll introduce Turkey sanctions after Trump orders U.S. troops out of Kurdish territory
Graham, Rubio, Romney and former White House officials blast decision as betrayal of Kurds and bad omen for all allies

Syrian Kurds gather around a US armored vehicle during a demonstration against Turkish threats next to a US-led international coalition base on the outskirts of Ras al-Ain town in Syria's Hasakeh province near the Turkish border on Sunday. (Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images)

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday he and Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if it crosses the Syrian border and attacks Kurdish forces, after President Donald Trump said late Sunday that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from the border region.

“I hope and expect sanctions against Turkey — if necessary — would be veto-proof,” Graham said.

At least half of Rep. Chris Collins’ full-time staff has left since he was indicted
New York Republican will fight the case in court, but some employees not waiting around

More than a handful of staffers for Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., have left his office since he was indicted in August of 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The trial of Rep. Chris Collins is in February, but some of his staffers aren’t waiting on the legal system to run its course.

Half of Collins’ full-time staff have left since he was indicted in August 2018 on fraud charges. Seven of 14 full-time staffers — among them his deputy chief of staff, Michael Kracker, communications director Sarah Minkel, and health policy adviser, Charlotte Pineda — are no longer working in the office, according to payroll records from May 2019, the most recent filing available in the Legislative Resource Center.

Photos of the Week: Impeachment is in the air, but first recess
The week of Sept. 27 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

A coalition of progressive activist groups, including MoveOn.org, hold a rally at the Capitol on Thursday, calling on Congress to impeach President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Rob Portman promotes Kevin Smith to chief of staff
Mark Isakowitz will be returning to the private sector

Kevin Smith, right, seen here with MLB Hall of Fame outfielder Lou Brock, is being promoted to chief of staff to Sen. Rob Portman. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Rob Portman has a new chief of staff.

The Ohio Republican is elevating Kevin Smith, his deputy chief of staff and communications director, to the top job in his Senate office. Smith has worked for Portman for about three years and has been a familiar face on Capitol Hill, having previously served as communications director to Speaker John A. Boehner.

We sure hope the Rayburn &pizza has plenty of dough
House-side lunch spot &pizza will honor $3 pie promotion tied to Bryce Harper strikeouts

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts in the dugout after striking out in the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 28. Local chain &pizza has a $3 pizza special tied to Harper's propensity to whiff. (Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Update Sept. 24 9:20 a.m. | Bryce Harper struck out twice Monday in the Nationals’ 7-2 win over the Phillies.

The &pizza inside the Rayburn House Office Building will sell $3 pies on Tuesday and Thursday in light of former Washington National-turned-Philadelphia Phillie Bryce Harper’s return to D.C. The catch? He has to strike out against his former home team  for staffers to get a piece of the pie.