Rep. Warren Davidson, a darling of conservative organizations who replaced former House Speaker John A. Boehner in Congress, has tapped a Heritage Action for America lobbyist as his top aide.
Jason Yaworske, who was Heritage’s director of legislative initiatives, has joined the Ohio Republican’s office as chief of staff.
Heritage and other conservative grass-roots organizations were often at odds with Boehner, and many in the movement backed Davidson’s election to Congress. Heritage Action says that Yaworske’s move illustrates its expanding influence on Capitol Hill.
“Part of changing the culture in Washington is empowering conservatives to hold influential jobs on Capitol Hill,” said Michael Needham, Heritage Action’s CEO. “In many ways, Heritage Action’s growing government relations team is the training barracks for the conservative insurgency in Washington.”
When another conservative insurgent, Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia, came to Congress, he, too, hired his first chief of staff from Heritage, Erin Siefring, who had been Heritage’s chief liaison with House members. Brat beat out then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in a 2014 primary upset.
Like Brat, Davidson joined the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 hard-line conservatives who chaffed under Boehner’s leadership.
Though Heritage often chastises the big-business lobbyists of K Street, the group has increased its own lobbying in recent months, posting a 143 percent increase in lobbying expenditures in this year’s first quarter.
Heritage intends to replace Yaworske, a spokesman said. Needham said his former colleague was suited for the new gig.
“Jason is one of the best policy minds to come through Heritage Action,” Needham said. “Those policy instincts combined with his understanding of congressional procedure and the conservative movement will serve Rep. Davidson and the people in Ohio’s 8th district well.”