Matt Schertz, Senior Majority Staffer; Bart Fischer, Chief Economist

Matt Schertz and Bart Fischer
National Journal
Jerry Hagstrom
Sept. 18, 2013, 4:30 p.m.

Schertz and Fisc­her work to­geth­er so closely on com­mod­ity policy for the com­mit­tee that they have joked that they should have a joint e-mail ac­count un­der the name “Bert.”

After they took their boss, com­mit­tee Chair­man Frank Lu­cas, R-Okla., out for din­ner last year in Texas, he nick­named them “the bar­be­cue twins.”

This close work­ing re­la­tion­ship, which an­noys lob­by­ists who dis­agree with them on policy, began in 2003 when Schertz was the com­mit­tee’s in­tern co­ordin­at­or and found Fisc­her, one of that sum­mer’s in­terns, to be “bright and bold.” But in real­ity there was already a lot in com­mon in their back­grounds.

Schertz, 39, a seni­or Re­pub­lic­an staffer on the com­mit­tee, grew up on a farm in south Texas. He went to Texas Tech in Lub­bock on a live­stock-judging schol­ar­ship and, tak­ing a clue from his fath­er, a gov­ern­ment-re­la­tions ex­ec­ut­ive for a pub­lic elec­tric util­ity, in­terned sum­mers for both Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic state le­gis­lat­ors in Aus­tin.

Schertz star­ted gradu­ate school in 2002 and came to Wash­ing­ton for an in­tern­ship with the House Ag­ri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee chair­man. Ex­cept for a four-year stint in the private sec­tor, he has stayed on the Hill.

Fisc­her, 33, the chief eco­nom­ist on the com­mit­tee, grew up on a farm in south­west­ern Ok­lahoma that has been in the fam­ily for five gen­er­a­tions. He stud­ied ag­ri­cul­tur­al eco­nom­ics at Ok­lahoma State Uni­versity and stayed on for a second bach­el­or’s in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion with a double ma­jor in ac­count­ing and fin­ance.

After his in­tern­ship on the com­mit­tee, Fisc­her went to Cam­bridge Uni­versity in Eng­land, where he got a mas­ter’s de­gree in land eco­nomy. Fisc­her notes that he spent that year study­ing en­vir­on­ment­al policy and try­ing to un­der­stand how people without an ag­ri­cul­ture back­ground ap­proach policy. He also traveled the Con­tin­ent, send­ing Schertz a series of e-mails that began, “Greet­ings from across the pond.”

Fisc­her went to Texas A&M in 2008 to get a Ph.D., and had all but fin­ished when Lu­cas asked him to re­turn to the com­mit­tee in 2010 as chief eco­nom­ist. Fisc­her is on a leave of ab­sence, but said the 1,000-page farm bill will give him plenty of ma­ter­i­al for his dis­ser­ta­tion.

While the two work to­geth­er closely, there are some dif­fer­ences. Schertz, who is single, has lost 35 pounds dur­ing the stress of the drawn-out farm bill, while Fisc­her, who has a wife and child, said he has gone in the oth­er dir­ec­tion.

What We're Following See More »
A RARE KIND OF REBUKE
Leading Republicans Would Say ‘No Thanks’ If Asked to Be Trump’s VP
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Nikki Haley. Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Lindsey Graham. John Kasich. The list is growing ever longer of Republicans who say they wouldn't even consider becoming Donald Trump's running mate. "The recoiling amounts to a rare rebuke for a front-runner: Politicians usually signal that they are not interested politely through back channels, or submit to the selection process, if only to burnish their national profiles."

Source:
NEW WSJ/NBC/MARIST POLL
Trump Decisively Ahead in Indiana
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump holds a 15-point lead over Ted Cruz in the potentially decisive May 3 presidential primary race in Indiana, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Trump gets support from 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters — followed by Cruz at 34 percent and John Kasich at 13 percent. If that margin in Indiana holds on Tuesday, Trump would be on a glide path towards obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination on a first ballot at the GOP convention in July."

Source:
TAKING A ‘GAP YEAR’ IN BETWEEN
Obamas’ Eldest Daughter Will Attend Harvard
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a statement released on Sunday, President and Mrs. Obama revealed that their oldest daughter, Malia, will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2017 as a member of the Class of 2021. She will take a year off before beginning school.

STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
×