2009.02.04: February 4, 2009: Headlines: Driehaus: COS - Senegal: Congress: Politics: Cincinnati.com: Driehaus may be a freshman, but he's no rookie

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Senegal: Special Report: Congressman and Senegal RPCV Steve Driehaus: 2009.02.04: February 4, 2009: Headlines: Driehaus: COS - Senegal: Congress: Politics: Cincinnati.com: Driehaus may be a freshman, but he's no rookie

By Admin1 (admin) (151.196.16.73) on Sunday, February 22, 2009 - 12:24 pm: Edit Post

Driehaus may be a freshman, but he's no rookie

Driehaus may be a freshman, but he's no rookie

He has a ton of experience from eight years in the Ohio House, where he was by all accounts an effective legislator on various issues, even in the minority as a Democrat. So he came in talking about details of the economic stimulus package - foreclosure to food stamps to rural broadband to sewer systems - without missing a beat. But I wondered what he thought about making that quantum leap from Columbus to Washington, so I talked to him later by phone. It's only been one month in Washington, but Driehaus has gathered plenty of impressions. "The pace at which things move here is very interesting," he said. "It moves quickly - maybe because of financial crisis right now, but there's a lot going on all the time." He's getting attention from groups in his district with a particular interest in what Congress does. "Suddenly there are a lot more people wanting your time. They want to make sure you know about all the things that are funded through the federal government. What's good is that compared to the state legislature, you're more intimately involved in the conversation and can make more of a difference." But what about that deeper knowledge and perspective? Driehaus has already seen it. "Once you get into the committees, the depth and breadth of knowledge among the members is impressive. Members of Congress get a bad rap on that. You've got to be a quick learner. You've got to listen to people who know a lot more than you. And you've got to be able to take in all sides, so you get a broader picture of of where the pressures are and where the fixes can be." Senegal RPCV Steve Driehaus was elected to Congress in 2008. Driehaus had served in the Ohio House of Representatives since 2001 and has served as Minority Whip since 2005.

Driehaus may be a freshman, but he's no rookie

Mr. Driehaus takes on the coolest job
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I was a senior in high school when I first got to meet a member of Congress. It was at a student government luncheon, and I was seated next to our House member, Joe Vigorito, who represented the northwest corner of Pennsylvania.
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(Note to trivia buffs: Vigorito was the only Democrat to represent that Pennsylvania district during the 20th century. One of his successors was Tom Ridge, who later became governor, then Homeland Security secretary.)

Vigorito talked about issues he'd been working on, and I asked him what had impressed him most about Congress. He said it was that the job constantly pushed him hard to learn something new, to understand better how things work.

I came away thinking that people like Vigorito had the coolest job in the world.

Since then, I've had the chance to observe plenty of lawmakers - saints and scoundrels, hacks and heroes - through the years. One thing seems fairly constant: They acquire deeper knowledge, perspective and, yes, wisdom - whether or not they put it to the best use.

I thought about that Monday when the Editorial Board met with the area's newest member of Congress, Rep. Steve Driehaus of Price Hill.

Driehaus may be a freshman, but he's no rookie. He has a ton of experience from eight years in the Ohio House, where he was by all accounts an effective legislator on various issues, even in the minority as a Democrat. So he came in talking about details of the economic stimulus package - foreclosure to food stamps to rural broadband to sewer systems - without missing a beat.

But I wondered what he thought about making that quantum leap from Columbus to Washington, so I talked to him later by phone. It's only been one month in Washington, but Driehaus has gathered plenty of impressions.

"The pace at which things move here is very interesting," he said. "It moves quickly - maybe because of financial crisis right now, but there's a lot going on all the time."

He's getting attention from groups in his district with a particular interest in what Congress does. "Suddenly there are a lot more people wanting your time. They want to make sure you know about all the things that are funded through the federal government. What's good is that compared to the state legislature, you're more intimately involved in the conversation and can make more of a difference."

But what about that deeper knowledge and perspective? Driehaus has already seen it. "Once you get into the committees, the depth and breadth of knowledge among the members is impressive. Members of Congress get a bad rap on that. You've got to be a quick learner. You've got to listen to people who know a lot more than you. And you've got to be able to take in all sides, so you get a broader picture of of where the pressures are and where the fixes can be."

The toughest part, Driehaus said, is "learning to get things done within the (legislative) body." There are plenty of books on how to campaign for office, he added, and lots of resources on specific policy issues, "but there are no classes that can be taken to help you get things done.

"You have to learn very quickly about relationships. You have to be aggressive in advocating for your constituents, because nobody's going to hand you anything. It's tough. It takes a lot of work to understand the nuances of Congress."

Depth of knowledge. Relationships. Nuances. Maybe it's still the coolest job around.




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Headlines: February, 2009; RPCV Steve Driehaus (Senegal); RPCV Steve Driehaus (Senegal); Peace Corps Senegal; Directory of Senegal RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Senegal RPCVs; Congress; Politics; Ohio





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Story Source: Cincinnati.com

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Driehaus; COS - Senegal; Congress; Politics

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