K Street shop lands staffer from appropriator’s ‘inner circle’

Cornerstone Government Affairs has hired Michael Higdon, the former head staffer to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), as its newest lobbyist.

Higdon has worked on Capitol Hill for 14 years, and began working as Rogers’s chief of staff in 2011. He joins the firm as a vice president on Dec. 9, but will immediately start working in the firm’s budget and appropriations practice — focusing on energy, defense, homeland security and transportation issues.

“Those who know Michael recognize his thoughtful analysis and honest brokering,” Geoff Gonella, the firm’s president and managing partner, wrote in a statement. “His close relationship with key policymakers, familiarity with D.C.’s political landscape, and a strong pulse on Kentucky issues gives us a great advantage expanding our reach both inside and outside the Beltway.”

As a senior Appropriations aide, Higdon helped the House Homeland Security Subcommittee develop its immigration enforcement plans and initiate policies to reform the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), transportation security and transportation security.

Before becoming Rogers’s chief of staff, he helped more than 80 GOP lawmakers raise funds during the last election cycle.

Rogers wished him the best of luck in his new endeavor.

“For over a decade, Michael has served in my inner circle as a trusted friend, erudite leader, and thoughtful advisor on a wide spectrum of political and policy issues before the Congress,” said Rogers in the firm’s announcement. “He shares a deep understanding and heart-felt commitment to Kentucky, the appropriations committee, and public service and I know he will serve others with excellent care.”

Higdon also spent time as the Kentucky lawmaker’s legislative director and staff liaison to the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina.