A United States Senator is a busy person. Between committees, floor speeches and meeting with constituents, there’s no time for the Senator to do any of the things that make an office run smoothly. Therefore, the Senator assembles a staff to assist with anything he or she might need. Here’s the run-down of the Senator’s staff and how it works together. Of course, the exact layout varies from office to office depending on the Senator’s needs, but this is how the average office runs.
Senator: The elected official. They serve six-year terms, unless they were elected to finish out the rest of another Senator’s term. The Senator’s time is valuable, so the staff works together to make his or her life easier and more efficient.
Chief of Staff (the Chief): Oversees operations of the offices. The Chief holds each staff member accountable to the Senator’s mission and goals. They also help coordinate relations between the Senator’s D.C. and state offices, as well as between the offices of the Senator’s committees and subcommittees.
Legislative Director (LD): Oversees the day-to-day activities of the legislative staff. The LD handles the strategy for pursuing the Senator’s agenda. They also keep the Senator and staff updated on when bills are expected to be on the floor.
Communications Director (Comm Director): Works with the communications team to prepare materials for public distribution. This includes press releases, videos and opinion-editorial pieces. The Comms Director also handles the Senator’s public appearances and sets up interviews with state and national media.
Administrative Director (AD): Manages administrative functions of all the Senator’s offices. The AD ensures that office policies and any applicable laws are followed.
Executive Assistant (Scheduler): Maintains the Senator’s day-to-day schedule. There are usually two people who hold this position, one for D.C. and one for the state. They manage and prioritize the Senator’s time, as well as arrange transportation and flights.
Legislative Counsel: Advises the Senator on legal issues, such as federal courts and nominations.
Legislative Assistants (LAs): Focuses efforts on specific areas of legislation. They inform the Senator on policy related to ongoing issues and bills. The areas they oversee are typically related. For example, the LA for banking might also deal with budget.
Legislative Correspondents (LCs): Coordinates responses to constituent inquiries in certain areas. They work closely with their respective LAs to ensure the responses to constituents are accurate.
Special Assistant: Supports the executive assistant and administrative director in day-to-day operations. They may also serve as the intern coordinator or the point of contact in the case of an office emergency.
Staff Assistants: Usually 1-2 in the front office. They answer phones, log constituent opinions, arrange tours and coordinate requests for flags to be flown over the Capitol. They also direct campaign-related calls to the Senator’s campaign office, which must remain separate from the federal offices.
Press Secretary: Works with the communications team. They write press releases, create newsletters, handle media relations and gather daily press clippings.
Digital Media Director: Works with the communications team. They direct digital media as well as the Senator’s official social media pages.
Press intern: Assists the communications team. They draft social media posts, conduct research and take official photographs.
Intern: Assists the staff assistants. Interns answer phones, log constituent opinions, sort mail and assist in other administrative tasks. Interns on the Hill also give tours of the Capitol to visiting constituents.
State Director: Oversees all state staff. The State Director travels with the Senator throughout the state to maintain awareness of issues relevant to constituents. They are over all the Senator’s state offices, which depends on the population of the state. For example, Marco Rubio of Florida has eight state offices, but Jack Reed of Rhode Island has only two.
State Outreach Director: Assists the State Director. They provide policy guidance on issues impacting the Senator’s constituents. They also oversee the daily activity of the field representatives.
Field Representatives: Report back to the Senator regarding constituents’ concerns. Regions of the state are assigned to different field reps. For example, one field rep will focus on the southeast region of the state. However, heavily-populated areas, such as the state’s capital, will usually have a field rep assigned to that one area.
Constituent Services Representatives (Caseworkers): Serve as liaisons to federal agencies on behalf of constituents who need help. Much like the LAs, each caseworker deals with a certain area and the agencies that are under it. For example, if a veteran needs assistance in any way, the caseworker for veterans’ affairs will aid him or her.
Committee/Subcommittee staff: If the Senator chairs any committees, he or she will have an entirely separate staff that works just for that committee. That staff puts together hearings and advises the Senator on issues.