Inside the Office of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee majority staff: Elby Godwin

Title: Professional staff member, Oversight and Investigations subcommittee

Age: 30

Hometown: Pensacola, Fla.

Education: B.S. in business, Wake Forest University

Last job: Legislative assistant for Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.)

Legislative specialty: Removing administrative obstacles that hinder good oversight

Favorite bill or law: H.R. 3213 - Equitable Access for DC Hunters Act of 2007 (110th Congress). Since D.C. does not have any hunting opportunities, any D.C. resident automatically has to purchase a nonresident license wherever he or she goes to hunt, which is often 10 times more than the cost for a resident license. The bill would have given D.C. residents opportunities in either Virginia or Maryland, and the states would have been reimbursed any lost revenues. 

Most embarrassing moment on Capitol Hill: Calling a senator by his first name when introducing myself.

Passion outside of work:  Hunting, traveling, playing the banjo

When Elby Godwin passed the two-year mark in his time on Capitol Hill, he considered it a milestone. He then made it to five years and acknowledged the achievement. Now going on eight years working in Congress, Godwin finds it hard to imagine life anywhere else.

“I don’t know [if I’m] a lifer,” says the professional staff member for the Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, “but I see myself here for a while.”

Godwin began his congressional career as an intern in his hometown Rep. Jeff Miller’s (R-Fla.) Washington office and was quickly put on staff full-time. He then took on the congressman’s veterans affairs issues, a vital policy area for Miller’s district, which has one of the highest military veterans populations in the country.

When Miller took the helm of the committee, Godwin followed him. He says he finds it satisfying to continue working in a policy area in which he’s developed an expertise.

“We’ve definitely hit our stride on the subcommittee,” he says. 

Outside the office, Godwin plays the banjo. He took up the instrument at his mother’s urging after a college summer left him with too much time on his hands. A family friend had given him a banjo, and he knew of someone giving lessons nearby. He now has three banjos in his name.

Godwin played in a band later in college, and these days he tries to pick up the instrument at least once a week. He enjoys playing bluegrass and classical music.

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