The 20 Most Powerful Women Staffers on Capitol Hill

Meet the women behind the bold-faced names of Washington.

May 20, 2015, 1:01 a.m.

There are lots of Wash­ing­ton power lists out there already, but this one is dif­fer­ent. You’ll find no mem­bers of Con­gress here. This is about those work­ing be­hind the scenes, mem­bers of a group that’s over­worked but un­der-re­cog­nized: the most power­ful wo­men staffers on Cap­it­ol Hill.

This spring, Na­tion­al Journ­al con­tac­ted more than 1,500 con­gres­sion­al staffers in both parties and cham­bers—the people who’d know best—and asked them to nom­in­ate their col­leagues for this list. We promp­ted them to tell us about the most ex­cep­tion­al and ef­fect­ive wo­men they know: those who work tire­lessly for their bosses and causes, who take ac­tion and take chances, who dis­play lead­er­ship, and who gen­er­ally get things done.

We re­ceived nearly 200 nom­in­a­tions (which made nar­row­ing the list down to 20 no easy task). Our re­port­ers sat down with the fi­nal co­hort—be­low in no par­tic­u­lar or­der—to learn how they got here, what they’ve done, and why Con­gress would move even slower without them.

Read in­di­vidu­al pro­files of the most power­ful wo­men staffers on Cap­it­ol Hill: Di­ane Dewhirst | Jo Mar­ie St. Mar­tin | Char­lotte Iv­ancic | Janice Mays | Al­exa Mar­rero | Bar­rett Karr | Maura Keefe | Shan­non McGahn | Sarah Bolton | Tri­cia Rus­sell | Kat Skiles | Shar­on Soder­strom | Lyn­nel Ruck­ert | Jen­nifer DeCasper | Kate Le­one | Kristine Lu­cius | Brenda Jones | Maria Mei­er | Alex­is Covey-Brandt | Mo­nique Wa­ters 

Read more from our Wo­men in Wash­ing­ton series: What’s It Like to Be a Wo­man on Cap­it­ol Hill? | Why Some Male Mem­bers of Con­gress Won’t Be Alone with Fe­male Staffers | What Young Fem­in­ists Think of Hil­lary Clin­ton |Wo­men’s Magazines Go Wash­ing­ton

Diane Dewhirst is the deputy chief of staff to Rep. Nancy Pelosi. National Journal
Jo Marie St. Martin is general counsel to Speaker John Boehner. National Journal
Charlotte Ivancic is the health policy director for John Boehner. National Journal
Janice Mays is the democratic staff director for the House Ways and Means Committee. National Journal
Alexa Marrero is the republican deputy staff director for the House Energy and Commerce Committee. National Journal
Barrett Karr is the deputy chief of staff and policy director for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. National Journal
Maura Keefe is the chief of staff to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. National Journal
Shannon McGahn is the republican staff director for the House Financial Services Committee. National Journal
Sarah Bolton is the education policy director on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, for Sen. Patty Murray. National Journal
Tricia Russell is the chief of staff for Rep. Steve Israel. National Journal
Kat Skiles, digital director and senior advisor, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-C.A. Chet Susslin/National Journal
Sharon Soderstrom, chief of staff, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y. Chet/Susslin
Lynnel Ruckert, chief of staff, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-L.A. Chet Susslin/National Journal
Jennifer DeCasper, deputy chief of staff, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. Chet Susslin/National Journal
Kate Leone, senior health counsel, Sen. Harry Reid, D-N.V. Chet Susslin/National Journal
Kristine Lucius, chief counsel, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-V.T. Chet Susslin/National Journal
Brenda Jones, communications director, Rep. John Lewis, D-G.A. Chet Susslin/National Journal
Maria Meier, senior advisor, Sen. Harry Reid, D-N.V. Chet Susslin/National Journal
Alexis Covey-Brandt, chief of staff, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-M.D.  Chet Susslin/National Journal
Monique Waters, press secretary, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.Y. Chet Susslin/National Journal

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