At a Glance
- Career History:
Chief of staff to White House chief of staff
(since January 2009-October 2010); Staff director to the House Democratic Caucus (2007 to 2009); Political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (2006); Chief of staff to
Rep. Tim Bishop
(D-N.Y.) (2004 to 2006); Legislative assistant to Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
(D-N.Y) (2001 to 2004)
- Hometown: Garden City, N.Y.
Path to Power
Sweeney grew up in Garden City, N.Y., and graduated from Loyola College in Baltimore, Md.
He got his start on Capitol Hill on big-time campaigns. He worked for Sen. Charles E. Schumer's (D-N.Y.) first senatorial campaign in 1998 when he ousted incumbent Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.) and then worked for Sen. Clinton during her first senatorial campaign in 2000.
Sweeney never matched the hyper-competitive Emanuel's enthusiasm and intensity. Colleagues describe Sweeney as even-keeled and mild-mannered, a perfect foil for Emanuel.
"In a world of the highest of high tensions, amid screaming and carrying on, Sean Sweeney has the most even-tempered, even-keeled attitude I have seen," said John Lapp, who worked as DCCC executive director with Emanuel and Sweeney during the 2006 election cycle. "He's battle-tested, and is one of the best of the best."
Sweeney worked most closely with former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and ex-Senior Adviser Sarah Feinberg . But he has worked closely with many of the most powerful Democrats in Washington.
In addition to Capitol Hill work with Emanuel, he also served stints on the Senate campaigns of New York Democratic Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sweeney's role as 2006 DCCC political director and 2007-2008 staff director for the House Democratic Caucus meant he worked with many freshman lawmakers with whom most Washingtonians are just getting acquainted.