When they’re not serving their public on Capitol Hill, the Greenan sisters are busy becoming Washington socialites. If you get to meet them, they might invite you to their next dinner party.
But don’t bother scouting the Pennsylvania Avenue bars for them.
“We don’t do the Capitol Hill bar scene, “ says Katie Greenan, the press secretary for Rep. Anne Northup (R-Ky.) and the elder of the pair.
“At the end of the day, I want to go home and get out of these clothes. I just want to go home and run errands, do what I need to do and have my alone time. We do our own thing.”
As recent newcomers to the scene, hosting parties is a way for them to feel more at ease in their surroundings as well as network their way through the complicated social structure of Capitol Hill and K Street.
In preparation for an event at their “huge, beautiful apartment” in Crystal City, Va., Katie, 25 and her sister, Amy Greenan, 23, scheduler and executive assistant for Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), prepare a menu of homemade finger foods and select music. Co-workers and friends also chip in. “It’s a group effort,” Katie said.
“Katie does the cooking,” Amy attests.
But “Amy is a good sampler,” Katie says.
They are the best of friends. When Katie first came to Washington in July on a Syracuse University internship in broadcast journalism, it was a given that she would stay with her sister. Katie claims they have never endured any serious sibling rivalry.
“We’ve always been close,” she says.
And socially? “We really like to get to know people,” adds Katie. “We’re both outgoing, and we both laugh a lot.”
Attendees of their parties, who range from Capitol Hill staff to a growing number of lobbyists and other friends around Washington, can expect typical party fare: quesadillas, guacamole with chips, goat-cheese balls, prosciutto on melon and teriyaki steak on toothpicks. While selecting their cuisine, guests hear tunes ranging from oldies to Weezer.
For the sisters, hosting a dinner party is an ideal way to meet new people. “It’s nice to talk about other things with co-workers outside of work,” Katie says.
Amy knows college friends who don’t socialize with anyone else but each other. “People come from different paths, and you want to get to know them while you’re here,” she says.
The sisters say that politics do not dominate the festivities.
“We want to unwind and think about other things,” Amy says.
“Our offices are for talking about issues,” Katie says.
When they aren’t playing host, the sisters are making the most of the social scene and its offerings. Co-workers often invite Katie and Amy out. Amy played softball in a congressional league. Katie took a tour of the West Wing of the White House.
“There’s never a dull moment,” Katie says.
Katie and Amy hadn’t planned on living and working together. Originally from Lafayette, Ind., Katie attended Purdue University while Amy attended Hamilton College in New York.
During her junior year at Hamilton, Amy came to D.C. as an intern on Capitol Hill and in the White House. After she graduated, Amy knew she wanted to return, and she landed a job in Castle’s office in January. In July, Katie interned for a TV station in Texas and bunked with Amy. Amy’s roommate at the time was leaving and needed someone to sign the lease. Katie was interviewing on Capitol Hill, received the job with Northup, and moved in.
“There was never an issue of whether or not I would stay with her,” Katie says. “It was a given.” She says she’s grateful for landing the Hill job. “Otherwise I would be in a two-bit town as a star reporter earning $13,000,” she cracked.
The Greenan parents naturally are pleased to have their daughters living together.
The girls don’t have to take turns in the bathroom or share a bedroom; each has her own. They are sometimes so lazy to ask each other things that they call each other on their cell phones from one room away. If Amy hasn’t cleaned up a dish she’s used for a meal, Katie reminds her by placing the dish on top of the coffee maker.
Amy writes Katie notes if she forgets to feed their pet fish.
The sisters’ most recent dining affair involved a Halloween soir�e that Katie described “a fall motif with pumpkins, leaves and apple cider.” She explains that connecting their office friends with their lobbyist friends “is a way to make the family bigger.”
Their next dinner party is set for January. The sisters say they want to regroup, get acquainted with more people and then create the invitation list. “It can be a big process,” Katie says of their dinner parties. “We meet people on the Hill from different offices, and I have some lobbyist friends. It’s expanding.”