Access Pollywood: Roaring Twenties

by Editorial

Capitol Hill staffers handle business and have fun in the district they help run.
By Michael Clements and Ursula Lauriston

From left: David Johns, Natalie Angelo, Stephanie Young, Joel Griffith, Yasmin Pagan, Bret Manley, Allyson Alvare, Brice Sikuade, Ronald Bluitt-Visor Allen, Angie Jean-Marie, Gianelle Rivera, Maria Urbina, Brandon Andrews, Cielo Villasenor, and Oliver Spurgeon III. (photo by Dakota Fine)


Their bosses get the spotlight (for better or for worse) but the daily grind and nuts and bolts business of our nation’s capitol is being handed to a new generation of twenty-something Capitol Hill staff. They work hard and they believe in what they do. Lucky for us, we were able to catch some of them during lunch recently to hear about their favorite spots on the Hill, restaurants, books, and ways to escape the hot Washington D.C. summer.

Stephanie Young
Communications Director, Congressional Black Caucus
“If I need to escape D.C. I’ll head home to see family in Florida; my dream annual summer vacation would be Jamaica or any Caribbean beach for that matter. … I’m currently reading ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett.”

Oliver Spurgeon III
Legislative Correspondent, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)
“My favorite spots for brunch are Founding Farmers and The Front Page. I recommend the chicken and waffles to anyone that visits Founding Farmers and the bottomless mimosas at The Front Page.”

Allyson Alvare
Scheduler, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)
“I’m on a food truck kick. My current favorite is DC Empanadas. … if I need to escape D.C. in the summer I head to my hometown on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and spend weekends on the boat and at the beach.”

Cielo Villasenor
News Media Coordinator, House Committee on Small Business
“I like to escape to The National Arboretum because it takes you out of the city and into nature; they also host a great Bonsai festival every year … My favorite lunch spot is Vapiano in Dupont.”

Joel Griffith
Bodyman, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
“Right now, I’m reading the Ted Kennedy memoir ‘True Compass’ … My favorite lunch spot is Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill … when I want to escape D.C. I head back home to New Jersey.”

Maria Urbina
Legislative Correspondence Manager, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)
“When I am not working, I moonlight as a catcher for my softball team (the Whole Enchilada), an amateur eyewear critic, and a sales rack shopping aficionado.”

Natalie Angelo
Projects Director, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
“I love to sneak away on weekends to the Georgetown pool on Volta Place. I grab lunch at Marvelous Market and eat it as I wait in line for the pool to open.”

15 twenty-something Capitol Hill staffers on Capitol Hill. (photo by Dakota Fine)

Bret Manley
Legislative Director, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA)
“My favorite lunch spot is Ted’s Bulletin … I think that the Jefferson Memorial at night is the most scenic place on the Mall.”

Yasmin Pagan
Senior Policy Advisor for Hispanic Affairs, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
“I love the summers, even in D.C.  We usually don’t escape the heat so much as we tend to take weekend trips to South Beach, Miami every chance we get.”

Brice Sikuade
Special Projects/Events Coordinator, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
“I like to relax on the Onyx Rooftop with a glass of Shiraz and a group of close friends engaging in intellectual banter. There is no better place to escape the mayhem of city life.”

Gianelle Rivera
Legislative Correspondent, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
The Yards Park on Capitol Hill, near the Navy Yard, has become my little secret escape within the District. I love the scenery, gorgeous boardwalk and peace and quiet.”

Ronald Bluitt-Visor Allen
Democrat Committee Staff Assistant, US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
“I’m currently reading ‘$5 a Meal College Cookbook: Good Cheap Food for When You Need to Eat.’ I have to save money and Raman noodles just won’t do for all three meals.”

Angie Jean-Marie
Legislative Assistant, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)
“I love the views on the rooftop at 101 Constitution. It’s completely breathtaking and helps put your life in perspective.”

Brandon Andrews
Military Legislative Correspondent for the Senate, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
“I think the best place on the Hill is the Capitol Dome around 7pm after all of the tourists have left.”

David Johns
Senior Education Policy Advisor, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
“A great book that demonstrates leadership and has inspired me is ‘Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America’ by Paul Tough.”

WL will host its Roaring 20’s Summer Soiree on the rooftop of Eden DC Thursday, July 28th. Celebrate being twenty-something and making it happen in our nationals capital! Are you invited?

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