Nikki Enfield s has signed on as executive director of Democratic GAIN, a professional development organization for political progressives. She was recently on the finance team of the presidential campaign of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. Democratic GAIN can help “young people just starting out to increase their network, to see what’s available, to really look at the plethora of opportunities,” Enfield says. Labor unions and nonprofit groups can recruit talent from the network of young activists during campaign season, she adds.
Enfield, 29, hails from Fargo, N.D., and graduated from the University of Minnesota. Outraged in 2001 over President Bush’s plan to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, she canvassed door to door for a Sierra Club fundraising drive through U.S. PIRG in Minnesota. After volunteering on the 2002 campaign of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., she got a phone call to join Judi Dutcher’s Minnesota gubernatorial bid. “I literally thought [the caller] was a telemarketer or he had the wrong number, and I said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m not interested,’ and I hung up. Like I had no idea what a gubernatorial campaign was,” she jokes. After another call, she signed on with Dutcher, who ultimately lost the race. Enfield later worked on the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign, and she met her husband, Andy Bechhoefer, while working at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Aside from politicking, Enfield is a history buff and is currently reading Elizabeth I by Anne Somerset. --Gregg Sangillo
Angela Barranco s is the new communications director for Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y. She is a native of Yonkers, which is close to Crowley’s Queens-based district. She most recently worked as press secretary for Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-Texas.
Barranco’s initial passion was science. She earned a degree in environmental biology from Columbia University and was later a science fellow for Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. “I’ve had a very circuitous route to where I am today,” she says. “The reason that I got into politics was, when you study environmental biology you get the feeling that you’re counting species as they die.” Her interest changed to conservation, and then to congressional politics.
Barranco, 28, helped out on the Democratic presidential and congressional campaigns in New Mexico in 2004, and then on Tim Kaine’s successful 2005 bid for governor in Virginia. In 2006, she ran the congressional campaign of Democrat Christine Jennings in Florida’s 13th district, an election that became controversial because of the high number of undervotes. Jennings’s opponent, Vern Buchanan, was declared the winner by a slim margin; Jennings unsuccessfully sued the state of Florida and the manufacturer of the touch-screen voting machines.
Barranco also worked on several races in her hometown, and that’s where she got the call about a job in Rodriguez’s Washington office. It helped that Barranco, a child of Colombian immigrants, is fluent in Spanish. She spends some of her free time cooking, exploring museums, and traveling. --G.S.
Pat Raffaniello is realizing a long-standing dream by opening his own lobbying shop, Raffaniello & Associates. Although he has held a number of top federal and public-affairs positions over the past 25 years, his career in Washington wasn’t a sure thing.
Raffaniello spent his childhood on the streets of Brooklyn, N.Y., where “a lot of the guys I grew up with ended up in jail or dead,” he says. But his parents encouraged him to go to college and paid for the first two years. “I went to college in upstate New York and failed out because I was having too much fun,” Raffaniello recalls. Just about that time, he saw an Army recruiting ad and thought he would try being a military policeman. “I was aware of the shady side of the streets and thought I would make a good cop.” His scheme was to learn policing, get a master’s degree in criminology, and become a criminal. “My plan came together, because I am now a lawyer in D.C.,” he says.
After a few years in the Army, Raffaniello says, he got his head “screwed on straight” and ended up at American University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. Deciding that law school provided more options then law enforcement, he went to school at night and bartended during the day to pay the bills. After graduating, Raffaniello took a job as executive director at the Southwest Energy Council in Texas, a lobbying association of nine energy-producing states.
Since then, he’s been a director in the Federal Policy Group; a partner in the Washington national tax services office of PricewaterhouseCoopers; a partner at Collier, Shannon, Rill & Scott; chief of staff to former Rep. Bill Brewster, D-Okla.; and the director of federal affairs for the National Rifle Association.
Raffaniello, 52, will lobby Congress on tax, trade, and health care issues. Off the job, he enjoys bow-hunting and golf. He lives in McLean, Va. --Winter Casey
Patrick Devlin, the new communications director for Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., went to Carroll College in Helena, Mont., on a partial football scholarship. But when his playing career ended, he transferred back home to Virginia Tech University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.
While at Tech, Devlin interned for Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., and realized he wanted to pursue a career on Capitol Hill. He comes from a family of public servants. “My father was a son of the Depression—one of 10 in his family who grew up poor—and worked his way up through Harvard University and fought two wars and devoted his life to public service. He instilled in me a spirit of public service and leadership,” Devlin says. “He made it clear, not in so many words, that each generation has a responsibility to serve our country and provide leadership and do our part and leave our country a little bit better.”
Devlin, 41, worked for a number of Democratic lawmakers: the late Rep. Les Aspin of Wisconsin, then-Rep. Jim Chapman of Texas, Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, and Rep. Bob Etheridge of North Carolina. Devlin, who lives in Alexandria, Va., likes working in his vegetable garden, watching sports, and angling—his family even smokes fish in the backyard. --W.C.
At the Bar
Howard Symons has been named chairman of the communications law practice in the Washington office of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo. He has handled communications issues for the firm since 1985.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, Symons did not immediately head for the private sector. Instead, he took a job as a staff lawyer with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, a public-interest group founded by Ralph Nader. His focus was telecommunications policy.
Symons then worked for four years as senior counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on telecommunications. He was one of the principal drafters of the panel’s legislative response to the AT&T divestiture and of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984.
“The impact of the Internet and Internet protocol technologies are among the most interesting and important issues,” Symons says. He is intrigued by the intersection of law and technology and “the challenge of adopting policy to new technologies that almost always outstrip the ability of lawmakers and policy makers to keep pace.”
Symons, 54, grew up in Reading, Pa., and lives with his family in Bethesda, Md. He has a daughter in high school and a son who is a freshman at Yale University. The younger Symons has a hard act to follow: Dad graduated from Yale summa cum laude. --W.C.
The Hawthorn Group has snagged two hires with very different backgrounds. Angela Rae is a former TV journalist, and John Shanahan is an erstwhile Capitol Hill staffer. Both will be senior vice presidents at the public-affairs firm, founded in 1992, which says it specializes in “heavily regulated industries” such as alcoholic beverages, electric utilities, and finance.
Shanahan spent the past five years as GOP counsel at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee under ranking Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma. He expects to focus on energy and environmental issues in his new position. He declined to give his age.
Born and raised in the Washington area, Shanahan lived on the site of one of George Washington’s farms. “I grew up along a creek that lets out right at Mount Vernon,” he says. His father was a veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and later worked at the Pentagon. After attending the University of Virginia and the George Mason University School of Law, Shanahan went into marketing and telecommunications. He volunteered on the 1988 Bush-Quayle presidential campaign, and that led to a political appointment at the Labor Department.
“I had never planned to get out of telecommunications,” Shanahan says. “I guess I was seduced by it all, and I’ve never left politics and policy since.” He spent five years at the Heritage Foundation, and also worked at the American Legislative Exchange Council. He eventually signed on as director of air quality for the National Mining Association.
Inhofe famously dismissed global warming as a “hoax,” but Shanahan expects to deal with climate change at Hawthorn. The issue “has come to the forefront and is not going away any time soon,” he says. “Companies, particularly, need to become engaged in this debate.… If a bill is passed, it will be the most far-reaching and expensive statute ever passed by the United States Congress.”
Rae, who most recently worked at the Corporate Council on Africa, is a former lead anchor for CBS television affiliates in New York City and Miami. During her first gig in Miami, she covered the Elián Gonzalez controversy. Later, when she returned, she handled the Terri Schiavo case. “Everything has a connection to Miami,” says Rae, 44. “It’s such a huge news market. And that certainly prepared me for not only going to New York but just handling crises.” While in New York, she covered the September 11 attacks. “That probably was the apex of journalism for me,” she says. “It was a blur. It was just being on air and covering it as it’s happening. And I remember getting choked up a couple of times.”
In her new job she will handle crisis communications and management—which she obviously experienced in her TV days. She especially likes certain aspects of her career at Hawthorn. “You have to be concerned about the needs of the viewer, the client, whatever industry you’re in.… And I’m enjoying this business because we do put the client first, and that’s the way it’s got to be.”
Rae grew up in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas (Austin) and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her hobbies include traveling and rollerblading. --G.S.
Energizer … Adam Ingols has been named the Energy’s Department’s chief of staff. He succeeds Jeffrey Kupfer, whom President Bush has nominated as the department’s deputy secretary. Ingols previously served in the Office of the Secretary as a senior adviser and the director of strategic outreach. He also worked for then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.
Southern Comfort … Stoney Burke has joined Southern Co. as director of federal legislative affairs in the Washington office. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and was a legislative assistant to Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas. --W.C.
Have a tip for National Journal’s People column? Contact Gregg Sangillo or Winter Casey at 202-739-8400.
This article appears in the April 12, 2008, edition of National Journal.