Onward and Upward: Catherine Brown
Position: Senior Education Policy adviser, House Committee on Education and Labor
Hometown: Lawrenceville, N.J.
Marital status/children: Married; one child on the way
Last job: Domestic policy director, Hillary Clinton for President
First job: Lifeguard
Most unusual job: Performing as Astro in a Northeast mall tour promotion of “Jetsons: The Movie”
Most embarrassing moment: “When I was an intern for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 1995, he called the office, and I was trying to transfer him to the chief of staff, and I hung up on him. He said something like, ‘This is John, can I speak to the chief of staff?’ and I was trained to say, ‘John who?’ so it was not good. He called back right away for someone more competent.”
Number of cups of coffee you drink per day: “I count it by the pot. I actually only drink one.”
Favorite political TV show or movie: “I really don’t have any.”
Most inspirational figure: Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).
Dream job (not including present one): “I took the summer off and traveled to Bali and Japan. That was pretty dreamy.”
College: Smith College
Graduate school: Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
Passion outside work: Running and swimming
Claim to fame: “I have no claim to fame.”
Brown got her first taste of education policy while working for Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) in 2000.
Now she will be instrumental in the pending reauthorization of the nation’s most sweeping elementary and secondary education law, No Child Left Behind.
After leaving Langevin’s office, Brown honed her knowledge of education policy while studying at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and doing research for Mathematica Policy Research. She also worked closely with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee as an education legislative assistant for Clinton. Brown then worked on “everything from healthcare to education to energy” as the domestic policy director for Clinton’s presidential campaign.
After Clinton’s campaign ended, Brown took the summer off to travel. She’s now adjusting well to the tamer lifestyle the Hill provides.
“It’s nice,” she says. “I have time to see my husband and my friends … It’s the one silver lining of losing the primary.”
It’s still not clear whether her new job will live up to her stint as the dancing Astro dog from the Jetsons cartoon family during a promotional tour of a movie. As a 16-year-old, she got to wear a fuzzy, mascot-like costume for her mall performances.
“Oh my gosh, it was the best job, mostly because the kids loved it,” she says.