Watts Partners celebrates the minority staffers of Capitol Hill.
By Adoria Doucette
Former Congressman JC Watts, Chairman of Watts Partners leads the program at the event. (Photo courtesy of Brian Jackson)
The architects of the U.S. Capitol dubbed the building a “Temple of Liberty.” The nickname is a reminder that though media consistently focuses on gridlock among elected members of Congress, behind the scenes members of Congress are doing their best to preserve and uphold our liberty. It’s not often that they are thanked for their efforts, but recently members of the African American, Asian-American, and Hispanic Republican Staff Associations were honored by Watts Partners, the largest African American owned lobbying firm in the nation. These caucuses play a vital role in supporting and promoting issues related to minority career development within the ranks of Congressional staff.
The Second Annual Boots and Blue Jeans Barbeque and Bonfire took place on the beautiful Haymarket, VA estate of Watts Partners CEO Elroy Sailor and his wife Angela. The Chairman of the firm, former Congressman Julius Caesar Watts, Jr., hails from the state of Oklahoma. In order to honor his home state, a midwestern theme permeated the event. Guests even competed for the title of “Best Boots,” an honor won by Jacquie Hood Martin, wife of Washington Watch host and CNN contributor Roland Martin, who stood proudly by as his wife was presented a new watch as a first place prize. Other notable guests who attended included lobbyist Nicole Venable of Bockorny Group, and Michael Steele, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland – RNC Chairman.
After a powerful introduction by Mr. Watts, Watts Partners Vice Chairman, former Congressman from California and Mayor of Oakland Ron Dellums, issued a moving statement to attendees. Mr. Dellums recalled his time as a young Congressman in 1970 and making history by hiring the first African American Staff Director on Capitol Hill. Mr. Dellums expressed his pride in being at an event over three decades later attended by dozens of high ranking minority Congressional staffers. He also offered powerful wisdom for the men in the audience: “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”
The Watts Group was the ideal host for this celebration. Mr. Watts & Mr. Dellums represent polar opposites in terms of political party affiliation, however their time serving on the House US Armed Services Committee created a lasting partnership focused on action and results that transcends the party system. This nonpartisan emphasis allows the Watts Group to celebrate the associations that support and empower minority staffers on Capitol Hill. Hopefully such vital celebrations will continue in the years to come. But who will win “Best Boots” next year?
Ron Dellums, Vice Chairman of Watts Partners and former Congressman, Mayor of Oakland, CA. (Photo Courtesy of Brian Jackson)
Roland Martin and Michael Steele with their wives. (Photo courtesy of Brian Jackson)
"Best Boots" contestants. (Photo courtesy of Brian Jackson)
Event hosts Elroy and Angela Sailor with Michael Steele and his wife Andrea. (Photo courtesy of Brian Jackson)