Jeff Carroll, Minority Staff Director
Carroll is a New Jersey guy. He has spent almost 20 years as an aide on Capitol Hill, all of them working for members from his home state. He actually started on the Hill as an intern at age 19 and says he “never left,” except to finish his bachelor’s degree from George Washington University. Most of his career has been with Rep. Frank Pallone, now ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Carroll’s first congressional job was with former Rep. Robert Torricelli. Carroll joined Pallone’s staff when Torricelli was elected to the Senate in 1996. Carroll was Pallone’s personal chief of staff for 12 years before becoming the top Democratic committee aide this year.
Carroll is responsible for coordinating the committee agenda on the Democratic side, where members can range from fiercely liberal to fiercely moderate. He follows Pallone’s rule that controversial items from either end of the political spectrum shouldn’t dominate the conversation. At the staff level, Carroll owns Pallone’s mandate that Democrats and Republicans should work together. “Majority and minority staff can disagree without being disagreeable,” he says. He is particularly proud of the bipartisan work already accomplished on the committee on medical innovation, chemical safety, and Internet domain names. He hopes to add an energy bill to that list soon.
Carroll is also passionate about his alma mater. He has held season tickets to GW basketball games for almost 20 years and rarely misses a home game. He says he loves bringing his children “and making them part of the Colonial Army.”
Tiffany Guarascio, Minority Deputy Staff Director and Chief Health Adviser
Guarascio is known on the Hill for her “colorful language.” Her colleagues joke that she may be short in stature but “she packs a punch.” But she says most people don’t know that she also has “serious hula-hooping skills.” Not many people have hula-hooped for five minutes straight on the White House lawn, which was Guarascio’s feat at this year’s congressional picnic.
Working in the Capitol was Guarascio’s dream since she was a child. Like Carroll, she has spent the bulk of her congressional aide career with Pallone. She has also worked briefly for former New York representatives Maurice Hinchey and Anthony Weiner. Her tenure with Pallone hit 11 years this year. “He’s a great boss, one of the hardest-working members of Congress, and he makes you want to work hard for him,” she says.
Like Pallone, Guarascio’s policy chops are rooted in health care. Pallone led the health subcommittee for many years and was a major player in writing the Affordable Care Act, which Guarascio counts as a career high point; Pallone also is a staunch defender of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, insisting this year that it be included in a fast-moving bill to repeal outdated Medicare reimbursement rates. Guarascio has a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.
Tim Robinson, Minority Chief Counsel
Robinson came to the committee this year after spending almost six years working for Rep. Bobby Rush, the next highest-ranking Democrat on the panel after Pallone. Robinson oversees the committee’s legal matters and ensures that procedures are conducted correctly. “There is a real sense of history and tradition here at Energy and Commerce. It is the House’s oldest committee with the broadest jurisdiction. I feel a responsibility to ensure that that legacy is upheld,” he says.
Robinson became interested in politics at an early age, fascinated by the interactions of Congress and the Supreme Court. Still, it took him a while to actually get to Capitol Hill. He has worked in the private sector as an attorney and a lobbyist, and in both the federal and local governments. He is a former general counsel for the D.C. Public Service Commission and also served at the Commerce Department. When it comes to Congress, he says he is in awe at “the immense amount of work that’s needed to write a good law or conduct effective oversight.”
Robinson hopes the congenial negotiations that have been the committee’s practice this year will continue until its work becomes law. “I’d hope, even challenge members and staff, with a big national election approaching, to keep cool heads and improve upon our committee’s early progress,” he says.
He’s also into sports. He practices martial arts and attends lots of professional and college sporting events. He has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Ashley Jones, Minority Director of Communications, Outreach, and Member Services
Jones is new to the committee this year, bringing a Southern gentility to complement the Northern and Midwestern natives who largely populate Pallone’s staff. She grew up in Georgia and spent 10 years as an aide to former Rep. John Barrow. She helped Barrow, a moderate Democrat, repeatedly win his seat in a largely Republican district, and she became Barrow’s chief of staff in 2007 while she was still in her 20s. “Being a chief of staff at such a young age and winning elections that no one thought you could win is pretty exhilarating,” she says.
But Republicans finally caught their white whale last year when they ousted Barrow in his reelection bid, so Jones is tackling new challenges. She was brought to the committee to help develop Democrats’ message and manage the broad range of constituency groups that are impacted by its work. “I feel like I am the advocate-in-chief,” she says. “Mr. Pallone feels strongly about making sure all the members of our caucus have their voices heard.”
Jones loves to travel. She is well on her way to visiting all seven continents. “Australia is up next and then Antarctica. I went to Africa on my honeymoon,” she says. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia.