The old Washington axiom that congressional staffers are often more powerful than their bosses will not apply to Marco Rubio and those who work for him. But, as the tremendous number of resumes submitted to his office suggests, Rubio’s staff will be important. And in a move that brings an end to what has been the source of growing speculation on Capitol Hill, Rubio has hired Cesar Conda as his chief of staff.
Conda is a well-known and highly regarded policy wonk, with experience in the executive branch as well as on Capitol Hill. He worked closely with Rubio during the fall campaign, advising the candidate on policy and serving as a key player on Rubio’s debate prep team. After the election, Conda helped run the transition, a job that included putting together the staff he will now lead.
Conda served as the top domestic policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney during the first two years of the Bush administration. In that capacity, he played a critical behind-the-scenes role in conceiving the Bush tax cuts and Bush economic policy more broadly. When Cheney engaged in a quiet debate with his old friend Fed chairman Alan Greenspan about whether bigger deficits lead to growing interest rates, he tasked Conda to prepare his response to a study Greenspan sent.
Before joining the Bush administration, Conda worked on Capitol Hill for Senator Spence Abraham from Michigan (when Abraham was a freshman) and Senator Bob Kasten from Wisconsin. In the private sector, he worked as an analyst for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and, more recently, was a co-founder of “Navigators,” a public affairs firm.
Conda is one of four senior Rubio staffers who worked on or otherwise advised Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign. (The others are: Sally Canfield, Rubio’s legislative director; Joe Pounder, communications director; Alex Burgos, press secretary.)
Yesterday, Rubio was assigned to the Senate Commerce, Small Business, Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees.