Inside the Office of Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.): Fabrice Coles

Age: 28

Hometown: Queens, N.Y.

Education: Phillips Exeter Academy, Wesleyan University, Howard University School of Law

Last job: Financial services regulatory analyst

Legislative specialty: Small business/financial services

Favorite bill or law: Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994.

If you could create a new committee or subcommittee, what would it be? Community Development Committee, to focus solely on ways to improve outcomes in under-served areas.

Most embarrassing moment on Capitol Hill: Yet to come.

Interests outside of work:  Sports, music, finance, economic development

For much of his life, Fabrice Coles’s love of debate propelled his career.

“I figured, ‘hey, I can talk,’ and I thought law school was about talking,” Coles said of enrolling in Howard University School of Law after college.

Though Coles was “dead wrong” about law school being all about talking, he said his experience there ultimately led to interests in public policy and financial regulatory issues.

Coles was “one of those kids that came out without a clear indication of where [he] wanted to end up,” he said, but a conversation with a friend would lead him to Capitol Hill.

“I would watch a lot of C-SPAN,” Coles recalled, so when out with an acquaintance who worked for Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), “I was running off at the mouth about my opinions on things. He said, ‘Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is — or, for an internship, your lack of money where your mouth is — and come on and do an internship?’ ”

Accepting the challenge, Coles joined Lieberman’s staff soon after, in 2006, “and then I couldn’t get enough,” he said.

Now, Coles said, he loves the atmosphere in Congress. “This is a place that fosters debate,” he said. “We can be civil, but we can tell each other when we’re wrong. … We should get the facts at our side and just go at it. That’s part of the fun of the place.”

Coles might have landed at the Capitol almost by accident, but he doesn’t see himself leaving any time soon.

“There’s a whole lot of boring out there in terms of legal careers,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of professions like [this], where you can wake up and say, ‘Hey, I’m excited to go to work, to put the gloves on and go to battle.’ ”

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