In the Tanks
Mark Delich is the new director of research and policy at the Reform Institute in Alexandria, Va., a nonpartisan outfit that works on campaign finance and other issues. He expects to work on energy, homeland security, and immigration topics, plus what he calls “building resilience” in the economy. Delich arrives from the Republican professional staff at the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, where he spent the past four and half years. An Arizona native and a graduate of Arizona State University, he admits that coming to Washington wasn’t a lifelong plan. “My wife and I both graduated, and we weren’t really sure what we were going to do,” Delich recalls. “And we were actually sitting on the beach [in San Diego] and somehow decided to move out to D.C.” A connection with home-state Sen. John McCain’s office helped him land an internship at the committee. Delich’s wife, Kristi, works at the National Building Museum.
Delich, 29, played football and threw the discus in high school, and the couple plays in the Congressional Softball League for the champion team, No Talent AZ Clowns. About working on Capitol Hill, Delich says, “I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I started, but I enjoyed my time there. There’s a lot of great people who care about what they do,” he says. “It was a good first job.”
McCain was chairman of the Reform Institute’s advisory board, but he resigned the position in 2005. —Gregg Sangillo
Anne Cannon, who has been promoted from senior legislative assistant to legislative director for Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., has a very full plate these days. For two years, she has been attending law school part-time at night at George Washington University, aiming to earn her degree in 2010. Cannon, a Democrat, is also planning to marry Kevin MacMillan, a Republican, in August in Lake Tahoe, Calif. MacMillan is assistant general counsel for the Bank of America. Earlier, he worked as senior counsel for the House Financial Services Committee and in the legislative-affairs section at the Treasury Department.
When she had more time, Cannon, 29, enjoyed going to the beach, reading, shopping, hanging out with friends, and playing golf. She previously was a staff assistant for the late Rep. Robert Matsui, D-Calif., and a volunteer coordinator for Dede Alpert’s campaign for the California state Senate seat from San Diego. Cannon grew up in Sacramento and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California (San Diego). —Winter Casey
In the Tanks
Resources for the Future has a reputation for wonkiness. But Pete Nelson, who has been with the nonprofit research group since 1997 and was recently promoted to communications director, manages to have some fun, too. A music aficionado and guitar player, Nelson played in the indie band Jonny Cohen’s Love Machine, which boasts an album review in Spin magazine. And Nelson may be passing along the musical gene to his 6-year-old daughter, who is trying her hand at the violin. “You want to expose them [to music] at that age but not make it so they resent you for the rest of their life,” he says. Nelson’s wife, Nancy Benton, works for the environmental group NatureServe.
Nelson, 42, is the son of the late Lars-Erik Nelson, a columnist for the New York Daily News. Journalism “was certainly the natural profession for me, just because a lot of my family friends were journalists,” Pete Nelson says. When he was young, he spent a couple of summers as a copyboy for The New York Times sports section.
Nelson spent most of his childhood in Bethesda, Md., and earned his bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Montreal and his master’s in public policy from the University of Maryland. He worked at an early incarnation of The Hotline, which is owned by the National Journal Group, and he became editor-in-chief of Greenwire in the early 1990s. That’s when the environment became a hot issue, Nelson says. “There was Exxon Valdez … there was all this stuff about garbage washing up on New Jersey beaches, and there was just this explosion of environmental coverage.”
Nelson takes the spot of Stan Wellborn, now the group’s public-affairs director, who plans to focus more on Web content and public events. —G.S.
Ryan McCormick is the new counsel and legislative assistant for economic policy for Sen. Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn. McCormick took off for Paris in 2002 with his fiancee, Mariana Ximena Mujica-Parodi. He says he fell in love with the woman who is now his wife years ago at Georgetown University, where he received a bachelor’s of science in foreign service, but it took him a long time to seal the deal.
While living in Paris, McCormick earned a master’s in international economics from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques. He also holds a law degree from the University of Texas (Austin). He and his wife, a Catholic school teacher, live in Washington’s Adams Morgan neighborhood with their 13-week-old daughter, Gabriella. McCormick, 34, enjoys writing academic articles, running, swimming, and snowboarding.
In addition to his time in France, McCormick spent a year as a Fulbright scholar in West Africa. “I learned to appreciate the tremendous needs in developing countries,” he says. Earlier in his career, he worked as a tax lawyer at Miller & Chevalier, a research assistant for the Senate Finance Committee, a legislative assistant in tax policy for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and a policy analyst for former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla. In Graham’s office, McCormick started out answering phones and was then promoted to the mailroom. “There is no other place to work where you can rise up the hierarchy faster” than on Capitol Hill, he says. While at Georgetown, McCormick also interned for the Senate Judiciary Committee under Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del. —W.C.
In addition to hiring Ryan McCormick, Sen. Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., is losing three staffers within the next month, including Colleen Shogan, who has accepted a position as a research manager at the Congressional Research Service. She will be supervising 10 analysts in the Congress and Judiciary section.
Shogan, who was a legislative assistant in Lieberman’s office, has a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. She taught political science at George Mason University, but after she took a leave of absence to work on the Hill, “I never went back.” She is now an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
Shogan, 32, enjoys long-distance running and volleyball. She also volunteers for the Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign; her husband, Rob Rafferty, a lawyer for the Consumer Product Safety Commission and former Hill staffer, is likely to be donating his time and money to the McCain campaign, Shogan says.
Shogan, who hails from Pittsburgh, says she doesn’t think her parents ever missed an opportunity to vote, and they instilled in their children the importance of doing so.
Also exiting Lieberman’s office is Rob Sawicki, the senator’s personal office press secretary and longtime aide. He will become senior communications director for the Parkinson’s Action Network. And Purva Rawal, who has been Lieberman’s health and social-policy legislative aide, is moving to the Senate Budget Committee to be a professional staff member handling health issues. —W.C.
Last fall, giant retailer Wal-Mart partnered with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to launch an internship program. The CBCF Wal-Mart Emerging Leaders Internship Program provides opportunities to minority college students to work in government.
Tina Fletcher is working in the office of Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., doing the typical stuff of Washington interns—helping with tours and answering phone calls and constituent letters. She is finishing up her degree at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville). “It’s different … learning about government in a book and then actually being here and seeing government being implemented,” she says. And living on Capitol Hill has been an adjustment. “I’m from a very small town, and so of course the city is very different, with public transportation and things like that,” says Fletcher, 22. She plans to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Education this summer.
Ervin Johnson, also 22, speaks fondly of the Wal-Mart program. “It provides an opportunity for African-American students that we normally don’t get. I would never have had the opportunity to go work at the Department of Justice and do an analyst’s job,” if it weren’t for the program, he says. After his internship, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation hired him to coordinate its internship programs, including the Wal-Mart emerging leaders program. His own fall 2007 internship placed him in the voting-rights section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The Salisbury, N.C., native graduated from North Carolina State University and is earning his master’s degree in public administration at Howard University. In talking with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, he says, “it sort of took me by surprise that they actually cared enough about me, as the internship coordinator, to make sure that I was comfortable in the decisions that they made.”
Johnson attends the United House of Prayer for All People. He was named after basketball great Earvin (Magic) Johnson.And his sports-fan father gave him the middle name Rashad after former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Ahmad Rashad. —G.S.
Alex Burgos, the new senior manager of communications for the Global Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, grew up in Miami. He received his undergraduate degree in business administration and his master’s in international business from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Burgos’s mother is from Cuba and his father is from Colombia. He has had a “long-standing interest in Latin American affairs” and earlier interned at the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. He and his wife are active in a nonprofit organization called Roots of Hope, which focuses on raising awareness about Cuba and strengthening links between Cuban-American youth and young people in Cuba.
The couple has just returned to Washington—and is currently on the open-house circuit—after living in Boston, where Burgos, 28, was the director of specialty media and a spokesman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Earlier in his career, Burgos was the deputy press secretary at the National Republican Congressional Committee and a legislative assistant in the Florida House of Representatives. —W.C.
Peace Promotion … Abiodun Williams has joined the U.S. Institute of Peace as vice president of its Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. He most recently served as associate dean of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. Williams also worked for the United Nations for 13 years and is the author of Preventing War: The United Nations and Macedonia and Many Voices: Multilateral Negotiations in the World Arena.
Tax Return … Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has tapped Theresa Pattara, a former Internal Revenue Service official, as his senior tax counsel. In her time at the IRS, according to a release from Grassley’s office, Pattara managed efforts to enforce the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and worked on the first significant project to revamp the Form 990 tax return, which most charities must file to disclose their finances and operations. She previously worked as a fellow on Grassley’s Finance Committee staff. —W.C.
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This article appears in the April 26, 2008, edition of National Journal.