Heard on the Hill: Not Quite a Newbie

Posted August 2, 2011 at 5:40pm

If you listen to Rep. Rob Woodall chatting on the House floor, you might be forgiven for thinking he’s a Congressional savant.

The Georgia Republican is funny, engaging, folksy, charismatic … and new to Congress? Except, well, he’s been working in Congress since the Clinton administration.

“I am one of these new guys,” he said on the floor Monday. “One of 96 new freshmen. Folks back home said we’re spending too much.”

On Thursday, Woodall said: “I’m one of the new guys there on the [House] Rules Committee, one of the new guys here in this Congress.”

“And because I haven’t been watching this process go on quite this closely before,” he added. “I’m prepared to answer the question today of why are we here and why are we here doing this.”

We heard the theme of his shiny-newness on July 21 as well. “I have been in Congress seven months now,” he said.

Woodall is a part of the “raucous freshman class” elected in 2010, and he has only been a Member since January 2011, but he has been working in Congress as an aide since the mid-1990s and spent most of the past decade as chief of staff to then-Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.).

According to Woodall’s CQ Member profile, under the section for career, there are only two words: “Congressional aide.”

The longer profile says Woodall “knows how to navigate the complicated tunnels of the Capitol — and brings complementary experience navigating legislative and political decisions.”

In fact, it was Woodall’s procedural knowledge and institutional experience that secured him his seats on the powerful Rules and Budget committees.

Calls and emails to his office for comment were not returned.