Roger Zakheim got his first taste of Hill life at age 14 while working as an unpaid summer intern for then-Rep. Ben Gilman, R-N.Y., chairman of what was at that time the House International Affairs Committee.
The early start is no surprise for this self-described “Beltway kid.” His father, Dov Zakheim, served in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, and Zakheim has a family photograph of him and his brothers shaking hands with then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.
Zakheim attended Columbia University, got a master’s degree at Cambridge, and went to New York University for law school, securing a job offer from the House Armed Services Committee in 2005 just before he took the bar exam.
After three years working on terrorism-related issues, Zakheim, 35, became Defense deputy undersecretary for coalition affairs before returning to the Hill to become the committee’s deputy staff director and general counsel, where he is surrounded by decades of defense authorization bills and finger-paintings by his “in-house” artists, his three daughters.
This article appears in the June 13, 2013, edition of NJ Daily.