Meet Chris Frates.
1. Who will have the biggest influence in Washington next year: Pete Sessions, Steve Israel or Bryce Harper?
Harper for sure. He’ll be a 20-year-old multi-millionaire who’ll get more ink than Sessions and Israel combined. In fact, Israel’s such a baseball fan he’ll probably be first in line to ask Harper for his autograph.
2. Tell us about National Journal’s Influence Alley. What’s coming next?
We launched Influence Alley last year to turn a spotlight on K Street and build an online community for the people who work and do business there. It’s been such a success that we’re making it much bigger. On Monday, we launched an all-new Alley, expanding our coverage from K Street to Capitol Hill. The idea is to get our readers even more behind-the-scenes with the power, people and politics shaping the action in D.C. We want to be the hub for the conversations happening downtown and on the Hill. Who’s making a move? Who’s getting thrown under the bus? What’s the buzz from the latest leadership meeting? What lobbying efforts are getting traction, and who’s just wasting their time? It’s a home for the kind of daily intelligence that everyone in Washington, from the most junior Hill staffer to the senior partner, wants and needs.
And I’m stoked to have badass reporters Mike Catalini and Elahe Izadi joining me to help run this new project. We’ve completely redesigned the site to save our readers time and give their voices a platform. We’ve already published sit-downs with Steny Hoyer and Mitch McConnell, gotten huge traffic on our coverage of the Eric Holder contempt vote, and had and some fun with feline Super PACs and a sad Capitol clown.
So folks should check us out and let us know what’s going on. We want to be a great source for them — and we hope they’ll be great sources for us too.
3. What has been your best interview to date?
Hands down, Mr. Rogers. I covered an award ceremony where then-Gov. Tom Ridge honored him for his contributions to Pennsylvania. Having grown up watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood, I worried he’d be just another shallow TV personality and shatter my happy childhood memories of him and his show. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. He was even cooler and more genuine in person. A few days after my story ran in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, I got a note in the mail. It was a handwritten thank you card from Mr. Rogers praising my story. It was signed, “You’re welcome in my neighborhood anytime, Fred Rogers.” Awesome. Just awesome.
4. Joe Biden calls you today and says he wants to kick it with you Friday night. Where are y’all going?
Delaware! Growing up in South Jersey we only crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge for Powerball tickets and tax-free shopping. I figure if anyone can explain what else the First State has to offer, besides insane tolls, it’s the veep.
5. If someone was new to Washington, what advice would you give them as they start their career?
Listen. In this town, a lot of people spend a lot of time talking. Instead, find people who know more than you, buy them a cup of coffee and listen. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn.