By Betsy Rothstein - 03/24/09 03:07 PM EDT
Title: Legislative director, Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.)
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Marital status/children: None
Last job: Rules associate, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.)
First job: Short-order cook
Most unusual job: Youth baseball umpire at “the blazing sands of Ponder Park, El Paso, Texas.”
Most embarrassing moment: “Having a stutter while at Wiggs Middle School provided quite a few.”
Management style: “The goal for the staff and myself is that we come into the office every day ready to work cooperatively and in friendly competition with one another and, of course, with other offices. Having an entrepreneurial approach to legislating, which is something I learned from Congressman Welch and his chief of staff, Bob Rogan, is critical. Staff should always be on their toes and ready to capitalize on opportunities to promote Harry’s agenda.”
Number of cups of coffee you drink per day: “One (bottomless) cup.”
Favorite political TV show or movie: “Patton”
Most inspirational figure: George Patton
Dream job (not including present one): In the West Wing of the White House College: Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
Passion outside work: Cooking and/or eating good food. “In my family, you learn there are two kinds of people in life: those who eat to live and those who live to eat. That kind of stuck with me.”
Claim to fame: “I’m a grainy apparition in a photograph of then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as he campaigned for then-[House] candidate Bruce Braley (D) in Davenport, Iowa, in 2006. The picture was published in Time magazine as part of a photo essay that explored Obama’s potential bid for president. That page is actually up on the wall at my old high school, but only because it’s pinned up behind the desk of my mom, who works there.”
Peter Ambler displayed a keen political intuition from an early age. During the 1992 Democratic presidential primaries, the elementary school-aged Ambler predicted Bill Clinton as the winner, while his parents supported Paul Tsongas.
“It’s not easy to break with your parents’ leadership,” says the new legislative director for Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.). “And I was right.”
Ambler began his Capitol Hill career in 2005 as a staff assistant with his hometown congressman, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas). After stints on campaigns for Braley and President Obama, he has returned to a nearly hometown office. Ambler’s native El Paso, Texas, is just over the border from Teague’s district.
“I do like working for members of Congress from the part of the country where I’m from,” he says. “We have [an understanding of] a lot of the same issues.”
One of Ambler’s main goals in his new position is to highlight his boss’s experience in the energy industry.
“He spent 42 years in the oil and gas industry,” he says, pointing out Teague’s progression from a laborer to a business owner. “You have someone who’s got a really unique perspective on energy and can use that set of experiences, the wisdom he has from a lifetime of work, to provide a unique voice in the energy debate this Congress and our country is having.”
Ambler says among his boss’s top priorities are working toward energy independence and representing the large veteran population in his district.
“My job is to put him in the best possible position so that we can move his priorities,” he says.