How to stay ‘alarmingly authentic’ while working on the Hill – JP
Jenna Valle-Riestra is only 5’9” but towered over Olympic gymnast Simone Biles.
The seven-time Olympic medalist, on Capitol Hill to testify last year on the FBI’s mishandling of abuse allegations against former Team USA doctor Larry Nassar, was just one of many high-profile witnesses Valle-Riestra crossed paths with while working for the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois.
When the Senate confirmed the first Black woman Supreme Court justice, it was Valle-Riestra who told that story as the press secretary for the Senate Judiciary Committee that Durbin chairs.
After four years on the Hill, working in both the minority and the majority and through a pandemic and insurrection, she left Durbin’s press shop this month for the Treasury Department.
After packing up her desk in the Dirksen Building, she sat down with CQ JP to discuss what comes next, and what she took away from the last few tumultuous years working in the seat of government.