Thursday, June 23, 2011

"The Hill People" 2011

Yesterday The National Journal delivered it's special issue on Capitol Hill staffers:  The Hill People 2011. Every four years the magazine profiles top congressional staffers who work tirelessly behind the scenes and more or less call a lot of the shots in this town. Yes, we as citizens elect our Members of Congress to serve on our behalf and represent our cities and states here in D.C., but you better believe it wouldn't happen without the hard work of their devoted staffers.

The crew at Bully's back in 05'

Carolyn's going away party

Who do you think really wrote that floor statement or speech you heard on TV last night? Who do you think gave the member a run down of votes on the 14 agriculture appropriations amendments that were brought to the floor for a vote last week? Who do you think actually drafts legislation? Who briefs a member on legislation? Who meets with countless groups of constituents/businesses that come to DC on a weekly basis? Who answers all of the constituent mail? STAFF! Whether someone works in leadership, a committee or a personal office, it's the staff that pulls everything together and makes sure that these Members of Congress are truly representing their hometown to the best of their ability.

In yesterday's NJ issue they profiled more than 300 top Capitol Hill aides, including staffers for House and Senate leaders as well as congressional committees. More than 90% of congressional staffers in this particular issue are white and more than two-thirds are male. Close to one-third have law degrees, but only a few have a M.B.A. or military experience. I thought I'd highlight some of the demographics mentioned in this issue to give you a glimpse into what my working world looks like.


Top Hill aides range in age from 25 to 73. The average age is 43. The average age for Democratic staffers is 44 and for Republican staffers it is 42. In my particular age group (25-34) the ratio of men to women is 45:21. For men, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is 20:25; for women the ratio is 10:11. The largest age group is 35-44. The ratio of men to women is 74:38. For men, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is 24:48; for women the ratio is 21-16.


As you can imagine, Capitol Hill staffers come from across the country. Some staffers get started working on their hometown member's campaign and eventually make the move to D.C. A lot of college students intern in member's offices during their summer break or during their fall/spring semester earning college credits.Those who work for Republican members of Congress tend to settle in Virginia, while staffers who work for Democrats are more likely to live in D.C.


Overall, 68% of staffers are male; 32% are female. Democrats are 62% male and 38% female. Republicans are 73% male and 27% female.

Marital Status

Overall, 68% of staffers are married; 32% single. 64% of Democrats are married and 36% are single. 71% of Republicans are married and 29% are single. 72% of men are married and 28% are single while 58% of women are married and 42% are single.


Overall, 93% of staffers are White, 3% Black, 3% Asian and 1% Hispanic. Within the Democratic party, 91% are White, 4% are Black, 4% are Asian and 1% are Hispanic. Within the Republican party, 95% are White, 1% are Black, 3% are Asian and 1% are Hispanic.

Undergraduate Degree

Overall, 49% of staffers went to a public university, 41% went to a private university and 10% went to an Ivy League school. Within the Democratic party, 49% went to public, 36% private and 15% Ivy. Within the Republican party, 49% went to public, 45% private and 6% Ivy.

Top Schools

Georgetown 10
Yale 7
Columbia 5
Notre Dame 5
University of Arizona 5
Virginia Tech 5

Georgetown 7
GW 6
American 4
Catholic 4
George Mason 4
Harvard 4

Advanced Degrees

Overall, 59% of staffers went to graduate school, 35% went to law school and 3% M.B.A. Within the Democratic party, 63% went to graduate school, 35% went to law school and 1% M.B.A. Within the Republican party, 55% went to graduate school, 34% went to law school and 5% M.B.A.

Military Service

Only 4% of Democrats had military service prior to coming to Capitol Hill and Republicans had 7%.

Lobbying Experience

11% of Democrats had lobbying experience prior to coming to Capitol Hill and Republicans had 13%. Typically you work on Capitol Hill first and then move into the lobbying world.

So that's the run down. I've been working on the Hill for 7 & 1/2 years now. I never took one political science class in college nor was I involved in local politics. But before I knew it I was hired to work on Robin Hayes' congressional campaign in 2004 and with the blink of an eye I was moving to D.C.

I owe a lot to this special man. I miss him every day!

The Hill is a world like no other and I will always consider it a valuable learning experience. Working on Capitol Hill can open numerous doors to continued education and other career opportunities. Eventually I will move on but the Hill will always be here.....with the young guns basically running the country. :)

Most of these pictures are from the White House picnic that I attended each summer with Robin.

My visit to the Oval Office in the summer of 2008 with the Hayes family. The rest of the pictures are classified.

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