At a Glance
- Career History:
Legislative Director, Rep.
(D-N.C.) (2007-2009); Legislative aide, Rep.
(D-Ill) (2004-2007); Intern, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill) (2003-2004)
- Birthday: Sept. 24, 1974
- Hometown: New York, NY
- Alma Mater: Northwestern University, B.A. (American Culture)
- Spouse: Erin
- DC Office: 1124 Longworth HOBWashington, DC 20515
- State/District Office: 3742 West Irving Park RoadChicago, IL 60618(773) 267-59261057 West Belmont AvenueChicago, IL 60657
Path To Power
O'Brien's road has run through some distinctive offices. He's worked for an ex-White House chief of staff, acurrent mayor of Chicago, a former NFL quarterback and one of the more respected Blue Dog Democrats in Congress. And that's just Rahm Emanuel and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).
Born on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, O'Brien attended Stuyvesant High School before heading off to Northwestern University. After earning a bachelors' degree in American Culture, O'Brien wanted to be a writer. But people "with 'www' on the resume" were being hired at a much steadier rate than writers.
O'Brien and his bosses have no problems criticizing member of their own party when they disagree with them. At the same time, they would never be confused with Republicans. And while O'Brien clearly understands his role - his beliefs being subordinate to those of the man with the name on the door - he also feels lucky that his ideals have aligned well the lawmakers he has served.
O'Brien praised both Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) for fosteringcollaborative environments in their offices in which staff input was common. He also said he respected Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) despite being too low on the totem pole to "really be in Rahm's line of fire."
O'Brien's first boss on the Hill wields the most notoriety. Rahm Emanuel was recently sworn in as the mayor of the nation's third largest city, Chicago, after serving as Barack Obama's right-hand man for the first two years of his administration.
O'Brien also said at times iworking for Emanuel was like "dealing with a hyperactive eight-year-old."