Inside the Office of Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.): Zach Butterworth

Title: Counsel

Age: 28

Hometown: Pass Christian, Miss.

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Education: B.A. in political science from Louisiana State University; J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Last job: Attorney at the firm of Smith & Fawer, LLC, in New Orleans, practicing a wide range of business litigation in both federal and state courts in Louisiana.

Legislative specialty: The BP oil spill, hurricane protection, disaster recovery, waterways and dredging the Mississippi River.

Favorite bill or law: Far and away, my favorite bill this Congress was H.R. 1255, “The Government Shutdown Prevention Act.” I guess we all forgot that a bill has to be passed out of both chambers and signed by the president before it is enacted into law.

Most embarrassing moment on Capitol Hill: My first whip meeting was certainly memorable. About five minutes after checking in and taking a spot in the back of a packed room, I looked around and thought to myself, “I sure would like to see what a Republican whip meeting looks like.” Just then, someone politely tapped me on the shoulder to inform me that this was the Republican whip meeting, and that I needed to leave immediately.

At first glance, Zach Butterworth’s career might appear a far cry from his college job.

After high school, Butterworth and his brother founded a charter-boat business, spending summers taking their customers fishing and “running boats for people.”

“I grew up on the water,” he said. “Since I was 6 or 7 years old [I had] my own little skiff. 

“It’s not a long-term career, unless you want to be a wrinkled-up, old, salty boat captain, but it’s definitely fun,” Butterworth said of his hobby.

But as Richmond’s counsel, Butterworth has married his love of the wetlands with his professional interests. 

“I was on the Gulf Coast for [Hurricane] Katrina. All of our families lost all of their homes,” he said, noting that rebuilding the Gulf Coast excites him most as a policy issue. “My interests are definitely aligned, working up here,” he said. 

In fact, Butterworth said he that though he loves Washington, he could see himself returning to post-Katrina New Orleans.

“It’s such a fun, vibrant place,” he said. Katrina “changed New Orleans totally — the focus of the entire region and the spirit of New Orleans, the sort of entrepreneurial, we’re-all-together [attitude]… especially for younger professionals.”

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