The Fabulous Five

Posted April 4, 2008 at 4:22pm

During football season, Brian Clifford likely finds himself a minority in Washington, D.C. The native New Yorker and diehard Giants fan, who is returning for a third term as president of the Congressional Legislative Staff Association, should be used to a little controversy, though.

[IMGCAP(1)]He and his fiancee, a marketing manager of the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, hold opposing political views. “She is a Democrat, but we still get along,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Naturally, I win most of the arguments.”

Clifford, 33, is one of five officers elected to lead the CLSA in 2008. The professional organization serves legislative staff members in the House and Senate, offering panel discussions, briefings, seminars and other events, according to its Web site.

Clifford’s full-time job is with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) as the minority staff director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health. Clifford previously worked as a legislative director for Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and as a legislative assistant for Flake and for Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.).

The 1997 Denison University graduate, who received a master’s in public policy from American University in 1999, once wanted to be a journalist but now says he aspires to “have a long career on Capitol Hill.”

Clifford’s colleague on the Environment and Public Works Committee, Matthew Hite, 35, also has joined CLSA’s leadership. Hite is serving his first term as vice president of the association.

[IMGCAP(2)]Hite, the committee’s minority counsel, has worked for Reps. Bill Sali (R-Idaho) and Don Young (R-Alaska) and the late Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio). He’s also worked on the Senate side for former Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio).

The Cleveland Browns fan earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Rochester and his law degree at Cleveland State University.

Another new member of CLSA’s leadership team, Eric Tamarkin, 31, began his career on the Hill at about the same time as one of Washington’s most notorious interns.

“I was a White House intern during the Clinton Administration at the same time as Monica Lewinsky,” Tamarkin wrote in an e-mail. “To my recollection, our paths never crossed because we had different roles and responsibilities.”

Tamarkin is now the second vice president of the CLSA. He works for the House Judiciary Committee as counsel on the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.

The former legislative assistant to Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) earned his law degree from Boston College in 2003 and also worked as an election protection attorney and as a judicial law clerk for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Greg White, 28, the new secretary for the CLSA, was just an intern when he received his first standing ovation on the Hill — except it wasn’t for him.

“I entered into the Mansfield Room as an intern … and the entire Republican Caucus stood and erupted in applause,” he recalled in an e-mail. “[Mississippi Republican Sen. Trent Lott] walked in directly behind me, and they had just regained the majority. Clearly they were honoring him.”

Since those days as an intern for Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), White has become a legislative assistant in the office of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

The karaoke enthusiast is the youngest of five children and is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Maine Lob-St*rs softball team and the Red Sox Nation family. His goal is to make a difference in people’s lives either by running for office or becoming a teacher.

Kristal Quarker, 26, is treasurer of the CLSA board and is a health and education legislative assistant for Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.). The self-described “people watcher” was the minority outreach director for the Bob Corker for Senate campaign and received a master’s of public administration from Troy University in Troy, Ala., in 2007.

Quarker also is the 2008 chairwoman of the Black Republican Congressional Staff Association. Her long-term goals include earning a law degree and returning to Alabama to eventually run for the Senate.

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