In Kennedy, the department has someone with extensive executive-branch and Capitol Hill experience. As assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental affairs since May 2009, he has focused on bridging those two realms. That includes overseeing Labor's legislative objectives but also working to help nominees for senior department positions navigate the Senate confirmation process. He most recently worked on behalf of Thomas Perez as the nominee for secretary. Kennedy, 52, is a Northern Virginia native, with a political-science degree from James Madison University and a law degree from the University of Virginia. His background includes a stint as general counsel to a newly elected Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 1987 and staff jobs on both chambers' Labor committees, under then-Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., and then-Rep. William Clay, D-Mo. He was a special assistant to the president for economic policy at the National Economic Council under President Clinton, and he was deputy director of the Labor Department's Jobs Corps program for five years. Before returning to the department, Kennedy served, from December 2006, as general counsel to Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of what was then the House Education and Labor Committee.