Monday, December 7, 2009

New press secretary for Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH): Hamilton Alum Matt House

From 12/7 Roll Call:

...taking on new duties for Hodes is Matt House, 23, who was recently promoted to press secretary. As press secretary, House’s duties primarily involve press releases, media communication and managing Hodes’ Web site and e-communications.

This job represents House’s fourth position with the lawmaker.

While a senior in college in 2007, House interned for Hodes. House had followed Hodes’ first successful run for office in 2006 and said he knew he wanted to intern for the lawmaker after that election.

Fortunately for House, that internship would pay off with a job. House said he jumped at a staff assistant opening in Hodes’ office after graduating from Hamilton College in 2008. After several months, House was promoted to office manager/press assistant, the position he held immediately before becoming press secretary.

House echoes his colleague’s sentiments on how the little things make life on Capitol Hill the most worthwhile. At the 2008 passing of Michelle’s Law — legislation extending health insurance coverage to dependent college students who take a medical leave of absence — the staffer had the opportunity to sit next to the mother of the late Michelle Morse, for whom the law was named.

“Michelle was diagnosed with colon cancer during college, and her doctors advised her to take a leave of absence to battle the disease,” House said in an e-mail. “Michelle had to stay in school in order to keep her insurance coverage and died shortly after graduating. Michelle’s mom worked with Congressman Hodes, and he wrote the bill to prevent insurance companies from forcing families to make the choice Michelle’s had to make. I was sitting with Michelle’s mother in the gallery when it passed the House.”

House is a native of Keene, N.H., one of the largest towns in Hodes’ district.

As a native of the Granite State, House has had his fair share of contact with presidential primary campaigns. In the 2008 cycle, House even got involved: “I did a little bit of work on [Joseph] Biden’s campaign in weeks leading up to the vote.”

But presidential campaigns don’t last forever, so nowadays when the staffer goes back home — as he will do over the holiday season — it will be to visit family and ski.

When in Washington, the staffer finds athletic satisfaction other ways. House said he gets his sports fix by attending “high-quality” Major League Baseball games, such as when the Red Sox come to town to play the Nationals.

The staffer’s other indulgences include Capitals’ games, golfing and cooking. And when House does decide to cook, he said he tends to be “pretty good at it.”