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A Quick Rebound

The trick was on Anna Heaton on her first Halloween on the Hill. After being told that the House staff dressed up for the holiday, the legislative correspondent showed up to work at Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite’s (R-Fla.) office dressed as a gold digger, complete with a blond wig and gold jewelry. Unfortunately, she was the only one who dressed up.

[IMGCAP(1)]But fortunately, the incident didn’t hurt Heaton’s career too badly — she was recently promoted from legislative correspondent to legislative assistant. Her new role includes assisting with health care, taxes, trade, judiciary, agriculture, elections and social issues.

“I think she’s great. I’ve learned a lot from her,” Heaton said of her boss. Before signing on with Brown-Waite, the 23-year-old Muskegon, Mich., native worked for Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.). Heaton graduated from Western Michigan University in 2006, where she completed a double major in political science and criminal justice. In the long term, she sees herself in the health industry. In her spare time, she plays bocce ball on the Victoria’s New York Style Nightclub Congressional team.

Heaton’s co-worker and team member Harrison Lewis, the new legislative correspondent for Brown-Waite, is also a bocce enthusiast. He called the sport “the new softball” and said that “for early adapters, it’s the place to be.”

When he’s not working on the Hill handling constituent mail or other projects for Brown-Waite, or sweating it out on the bocce court with his team, Lewis, 24, is busy breaking into filmmaking. He is the executive producer of a documentary being filmed in western China about a college baseball team there.

How does he manage that?

“Their producer is there, and I really don’t have to do much except for the accounting and making a few phone calls,” he said.

Lewis manages the two jobs because of his interest in film. He said it’s easier to get into documentaries than making a full-fledged movie. He also enjoys cooking, particularly Italian meals.

The 2007 Georgetown graduate earned his degree in English and is originally from Norfolk, Va.

New York Ties. Lewis isn’t the only Hill Climber who keeps a full schedule. Long Islander Ray Zaccaro arrived in Washington, D.C., at the end of March and has been trying to become comfortable in the city.

[IMGCAP(2)]Asked what he does in his spare time, the new communications director for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) replied, “What do you mean spare time? I’m not sure what you mean by that.” Still, the 31-year-old seems enthusiastic about his position.

“Right now, I’m really looking to get myself acclimated to the Hill. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to D.C., so I’d like to get myself back in the loop here and really get to know how things are done,” he said. “And mostly just to be as useful as I can to the office and getting [McCarthy’s] message across.

“She’s a fantastic person to work for and has a unique message to deliver and an excellent way of delivering it,” he said.

Zaccaro graduated from Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., with a political science degree in 2001. He previously served as executive director of the Babylon Citizens Council on the Arts, a Long Island nonprofit organization, and worked on local campaigns.

When he does have some down time, Zaccaro enjoys reading; he recently reread the book “Double Indemnity.”

“It’s kind of written in that old 1930s speak, and I like that,” he said.

Michael Spira, who took on the role of McCarthy’s chief of staff on April 23, is no stranger to Washington. He’s been here since 1994 and earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from American University. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1998 and his master’s degree in applied politics in 2000.

Spira, 32, is as enthusiastic about his boss as co-worker Zaccaro is.

“She’s a wonderful Member, a wonderful person,” Spira said.

Spira is originally from East Meadow, N.Y., which means he has the added perk of working for his hometown representative.

“Not many people get to say they work for their hometown Member, and I get to say that,” he said. “It’s a real honor and privilege.”

He previously worked for McCarthy in a variety of roles, and he worked as legislative director and deputy chief of staff for Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.).

Spira is a sports enthusiast who enjoys running when the weather is nice and has completed four marathons.

As for his plans, Spira said, “I’d like to stay until [McCarthy] doesn’t want me anymore. I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon.”

Like his co-workers, Phil Putter also has ties to New York. Although McCarthy’s legislative director has lived in Washington, D.C., for the past five years and claims Englewood Cliffs, N.J., as his hometown, his parents are from New York City.

Putter, 27, spent a year working as the rules associate and senior legislative assistant for Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). Before that he did polling for market research and consulting firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates and held various positions for Rep. Steven Rothman (D-N.J.).

Putter graduated in 2003 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he double majored in psychology and political science.

He said that when he’s not working, he is “a pretty big sports fan, both playing and watching. I play a lot of tennis, watch a lot of tennis, football, baseball. I like traveling.”

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