Fitch and Rigell both said business leaders do have an advantage when it comes to establishing a congressional office and hiring staff, because they are more likely to know how to manage a complex organization.
After Rigell was elected in 2010, he told his staff that he considered private-sector experience to be just as valuable as past congressional service. “My first day in office here, I said, ‘Let’s be clear: Some of you have had experience on the Hill. I consider that an asset and a liability,’ ” Rigell recalled. “ ‘Some of you have never served before. I also consider that an asset and a liability.’ ”
Delaney said he was not sure what committee seats he will request, although he is likely to look for assignments related to financial and economic policy. He has decided to join the New Democrat Coalition, which attracts relatively moderate, business-friendly members.
Delaney is known to colleagues as a hands-on manager, but one who readily delegates responsibility. “John relies on people that he has around him,” said James Pieczynski, chief executive of CapitalSource. “Because of his ability to have faith and confidence in the leaders that he’s chosen, he really allows people to shine and excel.”
When Pieczynski joined CapitalSource 11 years ago to run its health-care finance division, he said Delaney gave him the power to develop the unit as he saw fit. Pieczynski and his team originated about $3 billion in loans over eight years.
“John wasn’t sitting there and second-guessing everything that was being done, rather he was saying . . . ‘I trust you to run the group in the right way,’ ” Pieczynski said.
Over the years, Delaney has become a key figure in the Washington area business community. He teamed with former Treasury adviser Lee Sachs to form the asset-management firm Alliance Partners; he launched a cooperative for community banks called Banc-Alliance; and he sits on the board of Bethesda-based Congressional Bank.
In 2011, Delaney helped found Blueprint Maryland, a nonprofit group focused on job creation and economic development.
One of the organization’s first moves was to release an analysis of the effect of federal spending cuts on Maryland, making the case for leveraging the Port of Baltimore and other transportation assets to revive manufacturing.
The nonprofit advocates workforce development and infrastructure improvements to enhance the state’s economic competitiveness, a position that Delaney has incorporated into his congressional agenda.
“I think I have a real feel for the industries that are being successful and where opportunities are, and the big issue that I really care about is U.S. competitiveness,” Delaney said.