All in the Flake Family: a real-life cast of characters

A potential intelligence officer. A teacher from China. A grad student and a father of two. The team at Rep. Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) office packs a punch.

Both Lydia Morgan, 27, and MacMillin Slobodien, 25, are changing positions, though they’ve been part of the Flake family for several years.

“I’ve had every title possible,” said Morgan, now a legislative assistant to the lawmaker. She also has had many homes, from southern California to Georgia to Texas to Spain. Morgan, a graduate of California State University in Baker, now is a graduate student at Georgetown, where she studies statecraft and security affairs. Coming from a Republican family, she
said she respects Flake’s push for more restraint on spending.  

Morgan’s experience comes from internships with former Reps. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) and Max Burns (R-Ga.). She replaces Breana Teubner, who left work as manager of federal government relations at Wal-Mart. Healthcare, education, labor and Social Security will be Morgan’s focus.

Working in the intelligence community interests her down the road, but she insists that only the policy side intrigues her. “I’m not going to be drop-kicking anyone anytime soon,” she said.

Slobodien, who graduated from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., hails from Metuchen in northern New Jersey. “People look kinder in D.C.,” he said.

Before Slobodien’s arrival in Washington three years ago, he was living in China, outside Beijing. He taught English and worked with a company examining U.S. federal regulations.

“You can’t replicate that Chinese food,” he said. “But it’s made me a better American.”

Back in the States he worked in Asian studies at the Heritage Foundation before coming to the Hill, where he started as an intern with Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.). Slobodien hopes to enter the private sector someday to advise companies about legislative strategies and regulations, but said he’ll stay on the Hill at least until he becomes a legislative director. He is Flake’s legislative correspondent.

“Now I write a lot of letters,” he said. “It’s fun because you learn about issues.” For instance, he got to respond to a letter from ranchers advocating for more shade for their horses and cows.

Like Morgan, he admires fiscal responsibility and looks up to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). “He’s not afraid to bend to partisanship,” he said.

Then there’s David Garmon, 25, a new hire in the office who was an intern to Flake in the spring. Garmon started June 7 as staff assistant.

“I didn’t have the intention of coming back,” he said. “But I enjoy the environment. Rep. Flake is genuine.”

When he’s not at the office, Garmon looks after his 2 1/2-year-old son and his 16-month-old daughter with his wife at their home in Falls Church, Va. “When there is true spare time, we just like to spend time together as a family, going on walks or reading together,” he said.

He also is a graduate student at George Washington University, earning his master’s in administration. He hopes to finish in a year.

“You feel like it’s a juggling act,” he said. Each day is more than enough. He said he’ll explain what his plans are for five years down the road in five years.

How’s the stress level in Flake’s office? “We stress on our own time,” Morgan said.