After more than three years as chief of staff to Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), New Jersey native Jean Roehrenbeck is moving to the Biden administration to serve as deputy assistant U.S. Secretary of Transportation for legislative affairs, positioning her to champion the state’s transportation needs as a member of Pete Buttigieg’s inner circle.
Roehrenbeck, who begins her service at the Department of Transportation today, departs with Sherrill favored to win re-election to a third term in a district that had sent only Republicans to Congress for 34 years.
“Jean Roehrenbeck has been one of the most effective Chiefs of Staff on Capitol Hill,” said Sherrill. “Whether navigating a fraught political issue, determining the best path for a critical piece of legislation, or keeping up the spirits of her staff during the darkest days of COVID, Jean truly excelled.”
Sherrill has not yet named a new chief of staff. Her legislative director, Isaac Loeb, is expected to run the congresswoman’s Washington office through the remainder of the year.
Biden has already poached a number of top Capitol Hill staffers over the last two years, including key Washington aides to U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.
“While I will miss her, this is a wonderful opportunity — and I’m always a fan of having our talented New Jersey public servants in key administration roles,” Sherrill stated. “This is especially true here as Jean was my Chief as I worked hard to ensure the bipartisan infrastructure law included priorities like the Gateway Tunnel Project.”
Prior to joining Sherrill’s staff in 2019, Roehrenbeck served as legislative director to Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania) and communications director to Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn) from 2007 to 2009. She also spent four years in a senior role at National Grid, one of the world’s largest distributors of electricity and gas.
Roehrenbeck will lead the team that interfaces with the House side on transportation issues, a move that could be hugely important to New Jersey Democrats if the GOP takes control of the House in the November mid-term election.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Jean to ensure New Jersey’s infrastructure needs are met and wish her the best in her new role,” Sherill said.