Nothing gets in the way of a Hill communications staffer's plans like a lawmaker who has to vote, says Harvey Valentine, tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Valentine, who is joining Story Partners as senior vice president for communications after 15 years as a Senate aide, a stint at the Republican Governors Association as well as the Hawthorn Group, remembers the day he learned that lesson.
He was working for then-Sen. Alfonse D'Amato and was ready to take the senator to a press event when he checked with a colleague about why the senator was running behind. "He votes, ya know?" the scheduler chided. It was a reminder of the
bigger picture, Valentine said.
Valentine came to the Hill after graduating from St. Bonaventure College in Western New York. He started his D.C. career after working in D'Amato's Albany office.
Over the years, the field evolved remarkably, he observed.
"Things have changed a whole lot. We were clipping things out of the newspapers," Valentine said. "The biggest change was that there was a daily news cycle. You'd get calls from reporters 9, 10 11 and they'd have deadlines from 4 to 6. Now the deadline is five minutes."
For a communications professional, this dynamic is good and bad: Good because "you can get more done and communicate better," according to Valentine. It can be bad because "the need for speed" can lead to mistakes.
Joining Valentine at Story Partners are Kate Connors, who joins from PhRMA, as senior vice president, and Caleb Smith, who joins as digital director from the House Financial Services Committee.
A version of this article appears in this week's National Journal magazine.