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Happy Days

Hill Climbers is in the office of Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), the Congresswoman in charge of the powerful House Rules Committee and dedicated women’s rights advocate. The decor is tasteful. The mood is professional. The press secretary is clean-cut and charmingly effervescent. [IMGCAP(1)]

“Do you need anything else?” asks Frank Benninati, after the interviews are complete. “Please, let me know.”

Hill Climbers shakes her head.

Her experience with Slaughter’s staff has been something like the office version of Pleasantville.

Martha Goodman, the new staff assistant and legislative correspondent, is a smiley 22-year-old woman who says she really likes her office. Perhaps that is because, to her, it feels like home.

“It’s good to be back in upstate New York roots after spending time in California,” she said.

Originally from New Hartford, N.Y., Goodman graduated with a degree in history from the University of Southern California in 2004 and worked at the Bonner Group, a Democratic political fundraising firm. She says she is glad to have switched from the private sector back into public policy.

Goodman also interned for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the fall of 2004 for credit toward finishing her undergraduate degree.

Aimee Ghosh, 22, is the other half of the staff assistant/legislative correspondent duo, and just as smiley as her counterpart. A 2007 graduate of American University, she says she likes D.C. because it is a “nice cross between being urban and suburban.” From Branchburg, N.Y., she once sang as part of the “Trouble in Paradise” women’s a cappella group and was a resident assistant in college. Ghosh lived in India and England growing up and earned degrees in interdisciplinary studies and political science at American. She previously interned for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) as well as for former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller (D).

After college, Cari Simon “bought a one-way ticket to Congress to work as a women’s rights advocate.” As new legislative assistant for Slaughter, Simon is living her dream. Her undergraduate degree, which she obtained from the University of California at Santa Barbara in ’04, is in political science with an emphasis in public service. Her overreaching goal is “to uphold the rights fought for us by the women before us,” she says, and at 25 years old, seems well on her way to doing so. She worked her way up through entry-level work in the office of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and as a legislative correspondent and legislative assistant in the office of another California Democrat, Rep. Jim Costa. Simon says she is thrilled to be working for Slaughter, whom she sees as a “tireless” advocate for women. [IMGCAP(2)]

Greg Regan is Slaughter’s other new legislative assistant, but his forte is trade. Originally from Rochester, N.Y., Regan, 23, was promoted from Slaughter’s legislative correspondent, and he was a constituent of hers from when he was 2 years old until redistricting took place in 2002. A graduate of Hamilton College in central New York, he majored in public policy and graduated in 2005. He completed an internship with the House Democratic Caucus in 2005 and is an avid hockey player.

CR Wooters is Slaughter’s new chief of staff. Wooters’ wedding pictures were in Martha Stewart magazine. It’s a fitting factoid for Wooters, who says his main hobby is playing with his son, Charlie, who is 18 months old. His wife, Stacy Kerr, works for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), but they don’t run into each other much. Wooters comes from Media Matters, where he was senior adviser and director of public affairs. He also worked for the Democratic National Committee and for former Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. He’s glad to be back in government.

“The political stuff is the most enjoyable,” he says.

Originally from Silver Spring, Md., he graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in 1999 with a degree in political science. He currently lives in the Palisades.

Wooters compares starting as chief of staff to “drinking out of a fire hose,” but he calls the opportunity something he “couldn’t pass up.”

Slaughter “is a cool, progressive leader,” he says.

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