By Becki Steinberg - 07/11/11 11:35 PM EDT
Eduardo N. Lerma Jr.
Title: Legislative director
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Education: B.S. in finance from Santa Clara University
Last job: Formerly the congresswoman’s homeland security legislative assistant; before that, with the House Committee on Small Business.
Legislative specialty: Economy, small business, tax policy, budget, appropriations, homeland security, immigration and intelligence; oversees legislative team.
Favorite bill or law: The Affordable Care Act — it set the marker for this generation’s impact on the entire nation, much like the Civil Rights Act and the New Deal. With that vote and the work done by staff, we reiterated the priorities and values that make our country great.
If you could create a new committee or subcommittee, what would it be?: The Committee on Improving Cultural Enrichment and Diversity
Most embarrassing moment on Capitol Hill: When I first started on the Hill with the Committee on Small Business, I had not realized that there were party-specific sides of the committee room for staff to sit. One of the first hearings I participated in, I sat on the Republican side for the entire hearing, thinking it did not matter and giving advice to Republican members on where to sit and so on. What was even more confusing to me was the strange glances some of the Republican committee staffers gave me, knowing I was not part of their staff. It wasn’t until one of the Democratic senior committee aides informed me where to sit, and I never made that mistake again.
Interests outside of work: I enjoy reading at coffeehouses, art shows, the occasional Friday happy hour, spending time with my girlfriend and close friends and traveling.
Eduardo J. Lerma Jr. is what he likes to call a “lifelong Democrat.”
Growing up in El Paso, Texas, Lerma and his family took frequent trips to Washington because they’ve always been interested in politics.
Upon graduating from Santa Clara University in 2006, Lerma first took a volunteer job at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, just when the Democrats took over Congress.
Though Lerma’s bachelor’s degree was in finance, moving to Washington after graduating was “really exciting — very natural” for him, he said.
His childhood in West Texas had fueled an interest in homeland security policy issues.
In addition to satisfying his interest in politics, Lerma said he can also nurture his longstanding love of art in the nation’s capital.
“It’s something I cultivated through college in Northern California,” he said of his passion. “The Beat movement started there, in terms of its philosophy,” he added, noting that he also came to love Salvador Dali and surrealist art while studying in Spain in college.
Though Lerma makes it home to Texas once or twice a year and speaks with his family regularly, he said he loves the “mix of cultures” he has found in Washington.
“I’ve known [D.C.] for a very long time,” he said. “It’s a great city … the Hill kind of swamps you; it kind of sucks you in.”
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