Generation Y and Reform

Monday night I sat with close friends and other soldiers in the cause watching the screening of The Senators' Bargain.   The screening was kicked off by the Senator Kennedy's widow and... Read More


Andrea LaRue

You can see Andrea in one of the first scenes in Story #1, sitting behind Senators Kennedy and Brownback in that famous Immigration Sub-committee hearing on September 7, 2001. You can also see her in one of the last scenes in the series, in Angie‘s office at the Forum on June 28, 2007. Andrea knows the whole story.

But we didn‘t get to film with her nearly as much as we would have liked. Andrea was working for the Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle when we began -- she was the essential, behind-the-scenes staffer in the Democratic Leader‘s office working on the “US/Mexico” initiative. Then 9/11 happened before we even managed to introduce ourselves to Daschle‘s office, and Andrea left the Senate soon afterward to join the private sector.

As a lobbyist for the Nueva Vista Group, one of Andrea‘s early clients was the UFW, the United Farm Workers Union. She was always crossing paths with staffers and advocates we were filming. Many of them were her old friends, and since friendship is the key to so many things on the Hill, we were happy to see more and more of her as we got further into the story.

But it really wasn‘t until 2006, when Kennedy and McCain‘s Grand Bargain became a serious possibility in the Senate, that Andrea became a big character for us. She was everywhere then, the super-smart voice on countless conference calls who could always explain what on earth was happening on the Hill. She always seemed to understand it. As a former staffer who‘d stayed on top of things, she‘d kept up with people she‘d known for years who were now senior staff all over the Hill. And just as importantly, having spent time with the Rules Committee, she had an encyclopedic understanding of Senate rules and floor procedure.

Andrea‘s savvy about how the Senate actually works, and what goes on in a Majority Leader's office or a Chief of Staff‘s head, not to mention the Democratic Party, made her an indispensable ally for the advocates. In all the convoluted scenarios we had the good luck to be around to follow, even the strange weeks of the Clay Pigeon in June, 2007, we never saw a situation she couldn‘t explain.

It was especially great to be around Andrea during a Senate floor vote. She could bring the C-Span feed on a computer monitor to life with her play-by-play. In that late scene in Angie‘s office in Story #12, perhaps you‘ll see the deep frustration on her face as they watch the Senate vote together. Certainly Andrea knew almost instantly which critical senators‘ votes meant the tide would turn against passing cloture. She knew exactly what was happening, and why. But maybe, on that day, she didn‘t feel so much like trying to explain it.

These days Andrea is a partner at NVG, a government relations firm in Washington that specializes in public policy, advocacy, strategic advice and outreach.

She is also a featured blogger on How Democracy Works Now.

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