At a Glance
- Career History: Democratic General Counsel to the Senate Budget Committee (1997 to 2009); Counsel and Rules and Means Committee associate for Rep. Louise Slaughter (1996 to 1997); Associate staff for the House Committee on Rules (1996 to 1997); Senior Legislative Assistant to Rep. Marcy Kaptur (1994 to 1996); Attorney at Moore & Van Allen in Charlotte, N.C. (1992 to 1994)
- Birthday: June 29, 1966
- Hometown: Lansing, Mich.
- Alma Mater: University of Michigan, B.A., 1988; J.D., 1991
- Web site
Path to Power
Konwinski, a Lansing, Mich., native with ambitions of being a lawyer, graduated from the University of Michigan in 1988 with a degree in political science and stayed in Ann Arbor for law school. To help pay for her undergraduate education, she worked summers at an Oldsmobile factory, and after graduating from law school in 1991, she immediately took a job in Charlotte, N.C., with the law firm Moore & Van Allen, where she worked for three years as a commercial litigation associate, focusing on banking litigation.
In 1994, Konwinski found herself watching CSPAN when she couldn't sleep and decided to leave her job as a lawyer to work in Washington. "What I learned from my three years doing litigation is that it's more fun to be drafting the laws than to be litigating on them after the fact," Konwinski said. She took a job as a senior legislative assistant to Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio). Konwinski said Kaptur was looking for someone who understood her Toledo district and "I understood the issues of trying to attract manufacturing jobs."
Konwinski, who is one of Schiliro's three deputies, is what is commonly refered to as the "inside deputy." Instead of spending most of her time on the Hill like House deputy Dan Turton and Senate deputy Shawn Maher, Konwinski works inside the White House to make sure members of Congress feel like they have sufficient access. She works with congressmen and their staffs to coordinate meetings with cabinet members and White House officials.
After 11 years with the Senate Budget Committee, Konwinski's specialty is budget issues, in particular pay-as-you-go budget rules and complicated Senate points of order. She also drafted budget resolutions and managed the budget process on the floor of the Senate. Konwinski "had a small role" in the Wall Street bailout in the fall of 2008 and worked on the Higher Education Reconciliation Acts, but she said the issues that are important to her are more generally budget process issues than specific legislation.
Konwinski has worked in the Senate directly under Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and in the House for Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio).
In the legislative affairs office, Konwinski is one of three deputies to Phil Schiliro. The other two are Shawn Maher and Dan Turton, both of whom she worked with briefly in Congress. She also worked extensively with Randy DeValk, the senior policy director for Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).