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Cushing, Devoted Staffer, Dies at 59

Frank Martin Cushing, a devoted Congressional staffer for more than 30 years, died at his home in Falls Church, Va., on Monday from sudden and aggressive brain cancer. He was 59.  

Known for his mastery of the appropriations and budget processes, Cushing worked for committees on public lands, energy and natural resources before becoming a lobbyist.

“He made a great contribution to the House and his country,” said Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), a veteran appropriator who worked with Cushing. “He was a good person, decent and honest. My blessings go out to his family.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Idaho in 1974 and completing graduate-level work in public policy administration at the University of Idaho and Boise State University, he came to Washington, D.C., in 1977 to work as a legislative assistant for Sen. James McClure (R-Idaho). 

He subsequently served as clerk of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior from 1981 to 1984 and later as staff director for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 1984 to 1991, both under McClure.  

After a three-year stint in the private sector, Cushing returned to Capitol Hill in 1995 to serve as clerk and staff director of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies for then-Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.).

He left the Hill again in 2003 but returned to the House in 2005 as the clerk and staff director of the full House Appropriations Committee under Lewis.

“It was a great privilege to work with Frank on the Appropriations Committee. He was a boss, mentor, friend and brother all rolled into one,” said Jeff Shockey, a longtime aide of Lewis.

Cushing retired from the Hill in 2008 to become a partner at the lobbying outfit Oldaker Law Group, where his areas of expertise included appropriations, budget, science, energy and environment.

Cushing is survived by his wife, Amy Hammer of Falls Church; his mother, Elizabeth Cushing of Arlington, Va.; his brother, William P. Cushing Jr. of Norristown, Pa.; four children; and 12 grandchildren. 

A memorial service celebrating his life and memory will be held at 3 p.m. Monday at Columbia Baptist Church, 103 West Columbia St. in Falls Church, where Cushing served as a deacon.

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