The Nation's Capital
Katherine and Steven's first date was in Washington DC, which was where Steven lived at the time. Katherine lived in Hattiesburg, and she and Steven had been talking on the phone and chatting over Facebook messenger for several weeks. Steven called Katherine, and in a well-rehearsed speech that he still remembers today, said "If you lived across town, I would ask you out to dinner and we would figure out if we like each other. But you don't, you live in Mississippi and I live in DC. So why don't you come up and visit me for a weekend. You can stay in my spare bedroom, it will all be on the up and up. But we can go see some sites and figure out if we like each other."
Katherine made the trip several months later. It took her that long to figure out I had asked her on a date.
No photos exist from that time, which is odd, given the stars of Facebook we have become since then.
However, Steven frequently goes to DC for business, and Katherine occassionally comes along. Sometimes we get to have some fun.
The 45th Peaceful Transfer of Power in the USA
It didn't rain much, it wasn't brutally cold, and we had awesome seats. Regardless of your political beliefs, Inauguration Day is a great thing to witness.
Katherine Loves Marines!
Lincoln Club Dinner at the Cosmos Club
Katherine and I attended a dinner at the Cosmos Club with the Lincoln Clubs of San Diego and Orange County. Really fun to be at such an event with the most beautiful girl in the room.
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
Katherine and Steven with Mark & Eli Duncan meeting Rep. Davis. We saw Rodney while picking up our inaugural tickets. Rodney is another staffer who went on to win a seat in Congress. He and I worked together on a lot of political strategy in Illinois. Rodney is exactly the same guy he always was, and is super smart and hard working.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)
Richard was a chief of staff in 2006 when Steven got his job as chief of staff to Rep. Peter Roskam. He was one of the first people I met in DC, and went on to become a Congressman in 2012. His wife Renee is chief of staff to KellyAnne Conway. They are both great people.
Running into Roskam
Who knows who you will meet on the street on Inauguration Day. My former boss, current chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health and the pride of Wheaton Illinois, Peter Roskam!
Senator Steve Daines on the Street
Daines (R-MT) is someone else Steven got to know in the House who has gone on the the world's greatest deliberative body.
Post-Inaugural Team Drinking
Less, um, sophisticated than the Lincoln Club dinner was the post-inauguration bar crawl with Mark Duncan, Eli Duncan, Erin Donnette and some tall dude who was fun to hang out with but whose name escapes me.
Dipping Our Toes in the Women's March
As part of a constant effort to understand all sides in this highly partisan political environment, we spent a couple of hours with the women protesting the day after the inauguration.
Truthfully, we were planning on heading out of town and when we woke up, we found out they had routed the Women's March down the street where we were staying. We couldn't leave. In the spirit of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" we went on a walk.
The War Room
Katherine and I along with our friends George and Abby almost got a tour of the West Wing of the White House from another good friend Hannah Jane Castillo.
Here we are in The War Room of the Old Executive Office Building. The OEOB once housed much of the government not housed in the White House, Treasury and State Department. Here we are in the room where the President's War Council would meet.
Outside the West Wing
Just before we were about to go into the West Wing - literally seconds before - they closed it. Apparently some idiot had hopped the fence on the other side of the compound and they shut it down for the night.
San Diegans in the West Wing
Hannah Jane was our tour sponsor for the West Wing. She is a super smart person who is going to go on to great things. She cut her political teeth in San Diego and is a very good friend to have.
The Most Beautiful Girl on the Speaker's Balcony
Here we are on the Speaker's Balcony, which, as the name implies, the balcony at the US Capitol that is directly off the Speaker's office. It is two levels above the place where the President gives his inaugural speech.
More on the Balcony
Me effectively hiding the robot arm I had for several weeks after my bicep surgery. I am wearing the vest because I couldn't get anything else over the brace.
Katherine's Private Tour of the Capitol Rotunda
Katherine and Steven got behind the scenes at the Capitol after hours. Not sure exactly how it happened, but we took advantage of it. The Rotunda was completely vacant. Not pictured is Katherine and Steven lying on the floor in the middle of the Rotunda looking up at the murals in the Capitol Dome.
Howie and Hamilton
Steven & The Speaker
I worked with Speaker Ryan for many years before he became Speaker, and I never got any photos with him, so this is from a fundraising event I attended in 2017.
Paul Ryan is a great guy. You may disagree with him politically, but he is a great human being.
After he came of the vice-presidential campaign trail, House leadership was at a hotel for a weekend discussing strategy for the upcoming year. I was in a bar with a few other staffers, and Paul walked in. He ordered a beer, sat down with us, and spent 45 mins telling us stories of the campaign. All of them were about his family - the great lengths he went to in protecting his family from the press, how he tried to get his family to travel with him more, stories from his kids' point of view... And the fact that he sat down with us at all was super cool.
Katherine & Steven Dining in the Trump Hotel
The hotel was as beautiful and over the top as you might think. The food was really good. And it was a good place for people watching.
And of course, Katherine looked amazing.
Katherine & Steven with Senator Cassidy (R-LA)
When Cassidy was in the House, his office was right next to Steven's boss, Rep. Peter Roskam, so Steven got to know Cassidy pretty well.
In 2017, Steven had to lobby him. Katherine came, and Cassidy was kind enough to take a photo with us.
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)
Katherine and Steven were working on a short term project on child sex trafficking in 2017. We were helping promote Rep. Wagner's bill to increase penalties on people who use the internet for selling children for sex on the internet. Rep. Wagner took a liking to Katherine.
We brought a young woman who was a victim of child sex trafficking and her mother to DC and got her an audience with the Speaker, the Majority Leader and several other members of Congress influential on this issue. In the photo from left is Katherine, Rep. Wagner, the young woman's mother and Brooke, our colleague on this project.
Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS)
Katherine has become an integral part of the lobbying team. While in DC with Steven and a client, she ran into her old law school friend Trent Kelly, who is now a member of Congress. Kelly took the client's son on the House floor and let him cast a vote, making the team look very good. GO KATHERINE!