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Not the Usual Revolving Door

By Michelle R. Davis — March 28, 2006 1 min read
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Two heavy hitters in Washington education circles are headed to the House Education and the Workforce Committee to work under the new chairman, Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif.

Vic Klatt, an education lobbyist at Washington-based Van Scoyoc Associates, will become the committee’s staff director April 1, while Sally L. Stroup, the Department of Education’s assistant secretary for postsecondary education since 2002, will become the deputy staff director at the end of April.

Mr. Klatt and Ms. Stroup both may be feeling a bit of déjà vu when it comes to their new jobs. The two worked together for the House education committee during much of the 1990s. Both said their main reason for returning to Capitol Hill was to work with Rep. McKeon, who was awarded the post Feb. 15 after the previous chairman, Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was elected House majority leader.

Ms. Stroup said that her love of public policy also led her back to the committee, and that she was looking forward to learning more about the employment issues the committee deals with in addition to education.

“It was the right time, the right job, and the right people,” she said.

The hires would seem to set up Rep. McKeon nicely when it comes to key education issues scheduled to come before the committee, such as the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the main federal vocational education law, and the Head Start preschool program. In addition, committee staff members are already revving up for what is sure to be a contentious reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2007.

The two hires are “going to allow him to be a serious player in the debates coming up,” said Michael J. Petrilli, a former Bush administration Education Department official who is now at at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation in Washington.

Still, some political observers may find the moves unusual. Mr. Klatt acknowledged that he would be taking a hefty pay cut. And assistant secretaries more often leave the Education Department for lucrative lobbying and consulting jobs than for the cramped warren of House committee offices. And there’s no guarantee the GOP will retain House control.

“Sometimes it’s just as much fun to be in the minority, but we’re very confident that Republicans will keep control,” Mr. Klatt said.

A version of this article appeared in the March 29, 2006 edition of Education Week

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