Senate aide flip-flops Senate for House

Usually aides make the jump from House to Senate. But Brittany Eck, 28, who has worked in some high-profile offices in her time on Capitol Hill, is doing the opposite.

Usually aides make the jump from House to Senate. But Brittany Eck, 28, who has worked in some high-profile offices in her time on Capitol Hill, is doing the opposite.

The Dallas native came to Washington in 2003 and was hired to work for House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), followed by a press position for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas). She’s now headed to the office Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) to be his press secretary.

Patrick G. Ryan
From the left: Mark Sanchez, Brittany Eck, Ann Busby, Steve Dutton and Erin McCurdy of Rep. Henry Bonilla’s office pose before the Sam Houston statue in Statuary Hall.

A graduate of Texas A&M University with a major in political science, Eck is earning a master’s degree in communications at Johns Hopkins University at night. “I don’t have enough to do,” she jokes.

Eck’s first political job was for former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) in Houston, followed by a stint on the campaign of Tom Reiser, who ran against then-Rep. Chris Bell (D-Texas) in 2002.

Eck moved to Washington without a job. After a great deal of pounding the pavement, she landed a staff-assistant position scheduling rooms for Hastert followed by the press job for Hutchison, whom Eck calls “one of the most press-savvy folks I’ve worked for.”

Eck says leaving each job and starting anew wasn’t easy: “It was difficult leaving each office, but sometimes you have to do that. The House is very vibrant and full of activity.”

Of course, Eck could be back in the upper chamber at some point. Political observers note that Bonilla has considered running for the Senate. He was expected to run for Hutchison’s seat if the senator opted to launch a gubernatorial bid, but Hutchison decided to stay put last year.

Taking Eck’s place in Hutchison’s press office is Amy Bradshaw, also a Dallas native, who was a legislative correspondent in the office. Bradshaw is a University of Texas graduate who majored in communications. She worked briefly for Mediaedge, a New York-based marketing and media firm, before working for Hutchison starting in 2004.

Mark Sanchez, 23, is Bonilla’s new legislative assistant. He also comes from Hutchison’s office, where he worked as a legislative correspondent. The San Antonio native graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in economics and government.

“It’s a different world,” he says of the House compared with the Senate. “I would say it certainly has its advantages on the House side. You get a lot more interaction with other offices.”

Erin McCurdy, 22, who formerly worked as Bonilla’s intern in the spring of 2004, is a new staff assistant. The Houston native graduated from Texas Tech University with a major in accounting. She plans to attend law school.

Steve Dutton, 24, is the new scheduler. A graduate of Texas A&M with a major in political science, the Argyle, Texas, native formerly worked as a legislative aide for UPS.

Dutton has an identical-twin brother who works for a nonprofit organization. At his former job, Dutton and his twin contemplated trying to fool the CEO by having them both show up to work, but he swears he won’t do that to Bonilla.

Dutton says he may pursue a political career in Texas that may include running for office.

Ann Busby, 23, is a new legislative correspondent. A native of McKinney, Texas, she graduated from Texas A&M, where she majored in international studies and Spanish. In her spare time, she says, she reads. “I don’t shop, I don’t have any money,” she says. One day she’d like to work for the Department of Defense.

Renzi picks fundraiser to be chief of staff

Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) has hired Patty Roe as his new chief of staff. Roe is the wife of Jason Roe, who is the chief of staff to Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.).

Before joining Renzi’s office, Roe, 35, owned her own consulting business. She’s also a licensed massage therapist but says she’s not doing much with that these days. Her duties in Renzi’s office, however, require hands-on experience, so to speak. She will oversee his Washington staff and coordinate policy and projects for the congressman.

Roe has worked as Renzi’s consultant for the past year and helped organize the first annual “Longest Yard” congressional flag-football game, which was recently held at Gallaudet University.

Roe, who began working in Renzi’s office in December, says the adjustment to the Hill has been smooth. “I came from having to organize seven different members and entities and now I have one, so that’s a nice change. I have a lot of friends on the Hill.”

Roe, a graduate of Western Michigan University, has a wealth of experience working with politicians and has represented clients ranging from local, state and federal candidates to national associations and coalitions specializing in fundraising efforts for the past five years.

Before moving to Washington, the Spring Arbor, Mich., native worked on former Rep. Jim Rogan’s (R-Calif.) reelection campaign and was an account executive with the MAK Group, a political fundraising firm in Glendale, Calif. Prior to that, she managed the trading and research department of Churchill Management Group in Los Angeles and worked in two San Diego-based capital-management firms, Nicholas Applegate and Brandes Investments.