How Experienced Congressional Staff Contribute to Effective Lawmaking How Experienced Congressional Staff Contribute to Effective Lawmaking June 5, 2020 12:00 PM Watch Here WATCH Mike Henry, Chief of Staff for Senator Tim Kaine, will join Center for Effective Lawmaking Co-Director, Professor Craig Volden, for a virtual conversation regarding life as a professional Congressional staffer. They’ll talk candidly about how experienced legislative staff can greatly impact a lawmaker’s ability to be effective. Members of Congress seek to allocate their scarce staff resources carefully, given their multiple, sometimes competing objectives. When it comes to staffing offices, there are many tough decisions to make. However, the Center for Effective Lawmaking has released research demonstrating that a targeted strategy to recruit and retain the most experienced legislative staff in Congress may pay the greatest dividends in regards to lawmaking. Join us for a conversation about the impactful research, which led to a memo of recommendation to the House of Representatives, with someone who knows first-hand what it means to be effective on the Hill. Mike Henry Mike Henry is the Chief of Staff for Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine. Mike is a seasoned veteran of Democratic politics that has been active in Virginia and national campaigns for over 27 years. His experience includes management of high-visibility national races as well as contentious local and state elections. He has guided the strategic political communications, fundraising, and grassroots initiatives associated with each of the campaigns. His campaign victories include the election of Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), Governor Tim Kaine (D-VA), former Representative Martin Frost (D-TX) as well as former Governor Mark Warner (D-VA). Mike also has worked with several advocacy organizations, ballot initiatives, and consulting groups to ensure electoral turnout and promote awareness of specific issues. Craig Volden Craig Volden is a professor of public policy and politics, with appointments in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics. He studies legislative politics and the interaction among political institutions, including within American federalism. Read full bio Related Content Craig Volden Spatial Models of Legislative Effectiveness Research Spatial models of policymaking have evolved from the median voter theorem through the inclusion of institutional considerations such as political parties, committees, and various voting and amendment rules. Such models, however, implicitly assume that no policy is more effective than another at solving public policy problems and that all proposers are equally capable of advancing proposals. Party Calls and Reelection in the US Senate Research Minozzi and Volden advance the idea that a substantial portion of partisan voting activity in Congress is a simple call to unity that is especially easily embraced by ideological extremists. If correct, Minozzi and Volden’s findings should extend from the House to the Senate, despite differences in institutional structures and in tools at the disposal of party leaders across the two chambers. Scoring Effectiveness in Congress News What makes someone an effective lawmaker? Surprisingly, until Batten’s Craig Volden and Vanderbilt’s Alan Wiseman began discussing that question a little over a decade ago, we didn’t have a clear answer. Coronavirus policies spread quickly across the U.S. Are cities and states learning — or just copying? News As the novel coronavirus has spread across U.S. cities and states, so have public policies aimed at stopping the pandemic. Batten's Craig Volden and co-author Charles R. Shipan examine how some states have learned from others’ policy successes, while others simply copy their neighbors or even compete against them, and why that matters.