Inside the Office of The House Education and Labor Committee minority staff: James A. Paretti Jr.


James A. Paretti Jr.


Title: Workforce policy counsel

Age: Somewhere between 40 and death

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Hometown: West Milford, N.J.

Education: A.B., government, Harvard College; J.D. cum laude, New York University School of Law

Last job: Special counsel for then-Rep. Marge Roukema (R-N.J.); previously, private practice in Boston

Legislative specialty: Labor and employment law

Favorite bill or law: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended

If you could create a new committee or subcommittee, what would it be?: Committee on Undoing Jurisdictional Mistakes Made by Parliamentarians 200 Years Ago

Most embarrassing moment on Capitol Hill: I cannot say. The terms of the restraining order are quite clear on that point.

Interests outside of work:  Bad movies; good TV (shout out to “30 Rock”!); great books; spending time with friends and family; NOT stalking Kirstie Alley (see above).

Jim Paretti discovered an interest in employment law during his first job after law school at a Boston firm.

“In every case, there was a story to be told,” said Paretti, now the workforce policy counsel with the House Education and Labor Committee’s minority staff. “Somebody felt they were wronged, or somebody felt they did the right thing and it didn’t come out the right way. You learned about a company, you learned about an individual, you learned about how a place was managed. You really got closer to your client in that field than almost any other. I always enjoyed that.”

Before he found employment law, though, he found politics. Paretti arrived in Washington as many people do — through an internship after his freshman year in college with his hometown lawmaker, former Rep. Marge Roukema (R-N.J.). He liked it so much that he became what he called the “permanent intern.”

“I was the guy who came back every summer,” Paretti said.

He even returned after his stint in private practice, helping Roukema close her office in 2002 after she decided to retire. He then transitioned to the Education and Labor Committee.

Paretti is now focused on establishing his legislative legacy.

“I hope in my time, when they carve my legislative tombstone, I hope they say, ‘He was a guy who knew when to compromise and strike a good deal, but also knew when to dig in and fight and stand by your principles,’ ” he said. “That’s what I want on my tombstone.”

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