5 House staffers to watch on energy, environment
Nick Sobczyk, Kelsey Brugger, E & E Daily, January 9, 2023
The power shift in Washington is elevating staffers who will shepherd legislation and investigations.
The Republican House majority will give aides new power over energy, environment, and climate policy.
Lawmakers are the face of legislation and the congressional committees, but often it is their staff that drive crucial decisions and do the nitty-gritty work of writing policy.
The new majority is planning a flurry of oversight campaigns against the Biden administration and to make energy — namely U.S. fossil fuel production — a top priority.
House committees can finally begin to organize after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) won an arduous campaign to become House speaker this weekend.
Here are five staffers to watch as House Republicans develop their agenda:
Kyle Lombardi, deputy chief of staff for McCarthy
Lombardi enters the 118th Congress as one of the new speaker’s top deputies.
Lombardi has worked for McCarthy for 16 years, starting in 2007 as a legislative correspondent, according to his LinkedIn page.
He started his Capitol Hill career as a staff assistant for former longtime Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.).
McCarthy himself is an alum of Thomas’ office and currently holds the same Bakersfield congressional seat. The speaker worked on Thomas’ staff for more than a decade, eventually climbing the ranks of the California GOP before being elected to Congress.
Francis Brooke, policy director for Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.)
Brooke, at 32, has amassed an impressive resume in Republican politics.
He joined the Trump White House at age 28, where he played a key role in the former president’s fervor to roll back environmental regulations (E&E News, April 19, 2018).
In June 2020, he moved over to the National Economic Council amid the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in the Trump years, Brooke served as an economic policy adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence. Before that, he worked for then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on energy issues (Energywire, June 22, 2022).
Mary Martin, Republican chief counsel for the Energy and Commerce Committee
Martin has served Energy and Commerce Republicans as chief counsel on energy and the environment for six years, following stints at a trade group and in law firms.
Now, she’ll be a key figure in developing energy policy for incoming Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).
Before taking the job on the Hill, she spent four years as an energy policy counsel at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She also spent 11 years at firms Steptoe & Johnson and Shaw Pittman, according to her LinkedIn page.
Last year, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of companies and trade groups, recognized Martin for her leadership advancing clean energy policies.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Louisiana State University, and she obtained a law degree from Washington & Lee University.
Vivian Moeglein, Republican staff director for the Natural Resources Committee
Moeglein is a seasoned Capitol Hill staffer, dating back to her first gig as legislative assistant for Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) 25 years ago, according to her LinkedIn page.
She later served as legislative director for then-Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.) for nearly five years before leaving the Hill for the trade association American Council of Engineering Companies, where she was a policy adviser for transportation programs for eight years.
Moeglein has served on the staff of incoming Natural Resources Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) since 2015, beginning as his chief of staff before moving over to be the committee’s Republican staff director in 2021.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland.
Parish Braden, Republican staff director for the Agriculture Committee
Braden is an alum of the Natural Resources panel, having held the top job there before Moeglein came aboard in 2021, according to his LinkedIn page.
He has since moved to the Agriculture Committee under incoming Chair Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.). He’ll have a hand during the 118th Congress in developing the farm bill, the enormous agriculture legislation that is often a vehicle for energy and environmental policies.
Braden began his political career in 2005 working for then-Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.). He later did a stint with the Republican National Committee before coming back to the Hill to work for Thompson and former Natural Resources Chair Rob Bishop (R-Utah.).
Braden holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Tech.