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Key Staff Aides

TitleAlternate NamesDescription
Chief of StaffOffice Manager, Chief, COSThe Chief of Staff is the highest-ranking staff position in a congressional office. They report directly to the Member of Congress, typically acting as the Member’s chief policy advisor, wherein they help evaluate the political outcomes of various legislative proposals and constituent requests. Responsibilities also include the assignment/delegation of work, supervision of key staff, budget oversight, and establishment of office policies/procedures.
Deputy Chief of StaffAssistant Chief of Staff, Deputy COS, Interim Chief of Staff, Interim COSResponsibilities typically include managing the Chief of Staff’s schedule, personal correspondence, and any overflow work delegated by the Chief of Staff. In offices where there is not a Chief of Staff, either on a permanent or temporary basis, the Deputy Chief of Staff takes on all responsibilities of the Chief of Staff.
SchedulerDirector of Operations, Office Manager, DOThe Scheduler is the key administrative staffer in the office. They typically report to the Chief of Staff and the Member. Responsibilities usually include allocating the Member’s time, managing/maintaining the Member’s schedule and related records, making necessary travel arrangements, arranging events, visits to the district, etc. In addition a scheduler may also brief the Member on all scheduling activities of the Washington, DC, office, make recommendations on proposed meetings, schedule staff meetings and briefings, coordinate the scheduling of Member press and media interactions with the press secretary or communications director.
Communications DirectorPress Secretary, Press Liaison, CD, PS, Digital DirectorThe Communications Director typically reports to the Chief of Staff and the Member of Congress. Responsibilities generally include management and coordination of all communication activities, including media contacts, for the Member and the office. This may entail developing and implementing media and communications strategies for the Member, acting as the formal spokesperson and media liaison for the Member, and writing press releases/op-eds/etc. for the Member. All work is done with the purpose of building and maintaining open/effective lines of communication between the Member, constituents, and the public, while promoting the Member’s views or positions on issues in the most effective manner.
Press AssistantDeputy Communications Director, Deputy Press Secretary, Assistant Press Secretary, Press Liaison, DCD, DPS, Digital Manager, Digital Media AssistantPress Assistants typically report to the Communications Director, Chief of Staff, and Member. Responsibilities usually include running social media accounts, drafting press releases/op-eds/etc., correspondence with media contacts, and any other overflow work delegated by the Communications Director. In offices where there is not a Communications Director, either on a permanent or temporary basis, the Press Assistant takes on all responsibilities of the Communications Director.
SpeechwriterWriter, Speech AssistantSpeechwriters are members of the Communications/Press Staff, they typically report to the Chief of Staff and the Member. Responsibilities usually include drafting speeches, talking points, press releases, floor statements, and other written materials. Speech writers will sit down with the Member and make a record of everything that will have to be discussed in the speech. They will determine key issues that need to be discussed, how long they will discuss each topic, the order in which everything will be discussed, and how long the overall speech will be. They are responsible with writing it with a specific tone in mind and making sure the politician is saying exactly what needs to be said.
Legislative DirectorPolicy Director, LD, PDThe Legislative Director is the highest-ranking legislative staffer in a congressional office. They typically report directly to the Member. Responsibilities usually include managing office legislative activities and supervising the legislative staff through the establishment of a legislative agenda and direct management of the staff. A legislative director may also assist in the development of policy positions and legislative initiatives or monitor and report to the Chief of Staff and Member on floor activity. Oftentimes Legislative Directors are assigned specific issue areas for which they are expected to maintain a level of expertise and keep the Member up to date on constituent issues or policies that pertain to those subject areas.
CounselGeneral Counsel, Senior Counsel, Legislative Counsel, Staff Attorney, Attorney AdvisorThe Counsel is an attorney who typically works alongside the legislative staff and reports to the Chief of Staff and the Member. Responsibilities usually include advising legislative staff and the Member on legal issues and ensuring compliance with the law and chamber rules, including ethics guidelines. This position is very similar to Senior Counsel, in offices with both positions, Senior Counsel would deal with priority or complex issues, while Counsel would handle day to day issues. In offices without a Senior Counsel, the positions are often interchangeable.
Legislative AssistantLA, Legislative Staffer, Leg. Staff, Senior Legislative Assistant, SLA, Military Legislative Assistant (MLA)The Legislative Assistant is a member of the legislative staff, they typically report to the Legislative Director and the Member. Responsibilities usually include covering issue areas for which they are expected to maintain a level of expertise and keep the Member up to date on constituent issues or policies that pertain to those subject areas. In offices with a Senior Legislative Assistant, priority issue areas are often covered by the Senior Legislative Assistant. Legislative Assistants may also be expected to develop legislation and strategies for legislative priorities as well as staffing the Member at mark-ups and hearings relevant to their issue areas.
Legislative AideLA, Legislative Staffer, Leg. StaffThe Legislative Aide typically reports to the Legislative Director and the Member. Responsibilities usually include covering a limited number of minor issue areas for which they are expected to maintain a level of expertise and keep the Member up to date on constituent issues or policies that pertain to those subject areas, as well as assisting the Legislative Assistants as needed. The Legislative Aide may also be expected to aid in the process of researching and responding to constituent concerns through the drafting, proofreading, and printing of letters.
Legislative FellowLegislative Staffer, Fellow, Defense/Military FellowThe Legislative Fellow typically reports to the Legislative Director and the Member. Responsibilities usually include drafting meeting materials for the member, attending Congressional hearings, meetings with stakeholders and advocates. Additionally, the Fellow will work closely with the legislative staff to prepare for committee work by conducting research for memorandums, drafting questions for witnesses, and assisting staff with necessary tasks during hearings. Fellows most often perform services in the office on a temporary basis as part of an established mid-career education program.
Professional Staff MemberAdvisor, Policy AdvisorProfessional Staff Members are associated with the policy advising staff, they typically report to the Chief of Staff and the Member. Responsibilities usually include holding expertise in specific policy areas. They perform many of the same functions as Counsel and may work with outside groups, Members of Committees, and executive branch officials.