By Kris Kitto - 08/05/08 04:04 PM EDT
Marsha Catron, Rep. Linda Sanchez’s (D-Calif.) new communications director, was born in the 1970s. The origin of her name, then, is predictable.
Catron was born on Christmas Eve 1978, much to the chagrin of her older brother. He was forced to spend the holiday in the hospital while family members cooed over the new baby.
He did get a unique present, though. Catron’s parents couldn’t agree on a name for her, so they let her brother, a fan of “The Brady Bunch” television show, choose.
“He suggested the name of one of his favorite people on one of his favorite shows, which was Marcia Brady,” she says. “That was kind of the only highlight of me coming into the world for my brother.”
Catron has grown to like her name.
“People remember my name, which is great, because, you know, ‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!’ ” she says, echoing the whiny refrain the eldest Brady girl would hear from one of her younger sisters.
Still, as memorable as Catron’s first name is, there is one notable person who forgets it (or at least pretends to): her old boss, former Democratic presidential candidate and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Catron worked for Richardson for four years, her last stint as his traveling spokeswoman during the presidential primary. But despite her lengthy tenure and close working relationship with him, Richardson called her “Maria.”
Richardson is “a big joker,” says the New Mexico native and New Mexico State University alumna. One of his favorite things to do “is to call his staff by the wrong name, as a joke,” she says.
They would be at a press conference or other public setting, and when Richardson would need something, he would call out to Catron, “Hey, Maria.”
The staff and the big boss would chuckle because they all recognized the inside joke, but Catron would often hear others around her say, “Oh, that’s so sad; he doesn’t even know her name.”
The joke ended, though, when Richardson dropped out of the presidential race in February. Catron had worked her way through New Mexico politics, serving as a volunteer for Richardson on his gubernatorial campaign and working in his state press office. She even returned to join his presidential campaign after completing her master’s degree in communication from Texas State University.
After the race, Catron decided to decompress with a month-long vacation to Central America. She and some friends went to Costa Rica and Panama, where she tried surfing. She avoided any brutal crashes off the waves by “play[ing] it pretty safe,” she says.
Catron returned to the U.S. and decided to take on Washington. She was drawn to her new boss’s youth and busyness, and she even remembers seeing one of Sanchez’s stand-up comedy routines a couple of years back.
“A chance to work on the Hill in D.C. is one you just can’t pass up,” she says.