By Kris Kitto - 11/15/11 11:41 PM EST
Title: Legislative correspondent
Education: Bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in political science
Last job: Policy director for a candidate in the 2010 Wisconsin governor’s race
Legislative specialty: Economic policy, ethics
Favorite bill or law: H.R. 459, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011
If you could create a new committee or subcommittee, what would it be?: I wouldn’t create any new ones; I would like to remove a few, though.
Most embarrassing moment on Capitol Hill: I think for just about everyone, it’s that sense of being first-day hazy when you arrive. You don’t know where you are, where you’re going, how those big strange bullets (the Metro) get you from Point A to Point B, why every two blocks has its own, hip name. Although one incident strikes me as particularly embarrassing: For whatever reason, I left teeth-whitening strips on all night long (they were only supposed to be on for 30 minutes), so I spent the next day in sheer agony; I couldn’t talk or breathe without intense pain. I finally had to go to the nurse station, where they gave me medicine to deal with it. My colleagues still bring this up every once in a while.
Interests outside of work: I think that people who work in or are a part of this whole business don’t really have interests outside of work. We eat, sleep and breathe politics in one form or another. I spend my time outside of the Capitol either reading about political economy, monetary theory or old Hunter S. Thompson books … or watching the World Champion Green Bay Packers.
Derek Ellerman owes his political career in part to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Ellerman was a student at the police academy in Madison, Wis., in 2007 when the financial crisis began — and also when the 2008 presidential campaign was revving up.
“And I heard for the first time this guy named Ron Paul,” he says.
Ellerman read up on Paul and his remedies for the crisis. The more he learned, the more he felt compelled to return to political science, an interest he had abandoned when he enrolled in the police academy.
He jumped in head first, switching to the political science program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, interning for Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMedia must demand Clinton disavow Dean's cocaine comments EpiPen investigation shows need for greater pricing transparency, other reforms Green Beret awarded for heroism during 'pandemonium' of Boston bombing MORE’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential bid and, after that, signing on to the 2010 Wisconsin governor’s race.
Amid all the campaigning, Ellerman met Rep. Reid RibbleReid RibbleSanders-linked group endorses downballot Dems Super-PAC begins M effort to help House GOP Saving the Boomer's Social Security MORE (R-Wis.). The two bonded over economic theory, and Ellerman followed him to Washington after Ribble won his congressional campaign.
Once in Washington, Ellerman, now a legislative correspondent for Ribble, got to meet the man who inspired him. He called Paul’s office, and the congressman set aside 15 minutes for them to talk in person.
“It was fantastic,” Ellerman says. “He’s just incredibly nice, generous … as I was leaving, he said, ‘Well, I guess you’re on your way, then.’ I thought that was pretty cool.”
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