As chief of staff for fifth district Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jeremy Deutsch is a busy guy, working “roughly” 12-hour days, six days a week. (We suspect it’s more.)
“I try not to work on Shabbos,” he says.
Deutsch has worked for McMorris Rodgers — who represents the far eastern counties of our state, including Spokane — a few different times. The first was in 2003 when she made the move from state representative to Congress. He worked on her campaign and “I’ve been working with her on and off for these eight years in different capacities,” Jeremy says.
Aside from a “brief stint” when the Ohio State grad returned home to central New Jersey to work in the family business, he’s worked in politics most of his adult life. That business, “an old hotel in Belvidere,” made Deutsch “the Bob Newhart of the inn,” he says, referring to the comedian’s second TV show. But, he realized, “politics was my passion.”
In 2006 Deutsch helped McMorris Rodgers run for re-election.
“It was a bad year for Republicans,” he recalls, but she kept her seat. After helping Luke Esser become Washington GOP party chair, Deutsch became executive director of that organization.
When McMorris Rodgers was elected to a third term (she’s now in her fourth) she invited Deutsch to come to DC for his current job.
“My boss is the vice chair of the [Republican leadership] conference,” Deutsch notes, making her “the highest ranking woman in Congress on the Republican side.”
In addition to overseeing the operations of this 22-person Congressional office, Deutsch is the Congresswoman’s chief policy adviser and administrative officer, and assists with extra responsibilities that come with the leadership position.
“One is making Republicans cool,” by using new media and social media tools, he says. McMorris Rodgers is also charged with bringing more women and minorities into the party.
Deutsch has a new knowledge of and passion for disability issues, too. The older of the Congresswoman’s two children was born with Down syndrome, making her a strong advocate for rights of the disabled and their caregivers.
“We’ve been working in a strong bi-partisan fashion,” raising awareness and changing laws, he says.
Deutsch, a member of AIPAC before he took his current job, acknowledges that “there are not many” Jewish Republicans. He gets a hard time at family reunions, but says that’s changing a bit with President Obama’s recent assertions about Israel’s borders. And in Eastern Washington, while “it’s tough to find a minyan” (outside of Spokane), the general population are “unwavering and strong supporters of Israel.”
As a Jew he feels he brings an “ability to question and challenge” to his job where part of his role “is to do due diligence, to look at things from all sides,” he says. “I think that’s something we bring to the table in all fields.”
The 35-year-old eligible bachelor maintains a condo with a kosher kitchen in West Seattle, but doesn’t see it much these days. He tries to stay connected with Seattle Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky, “and from time to time we’ll do some learning together.” (Bogomilsky is also involved in disability issues, as executive director of Seattle’s Friendship Circle.)
And he finds fun in work.
“I love my job and what makes it fun is my boss and working for someone you believe in,” he says.
That included accompanying McMorris Rogers to a Republican leadership retreat in New York City.
“I think what the boss liked the most about the trip,” Deutsch says, “is when I took her to the Carnegie Deli.”