News at Princeton

Friday, April 28, 2017
Joyce A. Rechtschaffen

Joyce A. Rechtschaffen

Web Stories

Rechtschaffen named director of government affairs

Joyce A. Rechtschaffen, minority staff director and counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and a 1975 graduate of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, has been named the University's director of government affairs.

Effective May 15, she will serve as Princeton's principal representative in Washington on matters related to federal policy and legislation and will oversee the University's Washington office.

With the majority party in the Senate changing twice since she joined the committee in 1999 (when it was known as the Governmental Affairs Committee), Rechtschaffen has served as both majority and minority staff director, reporting to Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman. She played key roles in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004 that resulted in the most significant overhaul of the intelligence community in 50 years. The committee's legislative responsibilities include matters related to government-wide policies and procedures, including regulatory reform, government management and information and intergovernmental relations, and it is the Senate's principal oversight committee with a mandate to evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of all branches of government.

Rechtschaffen previously served for 10 years as legislative assistant and counsel in Lieberman's office, with special responsibility for environmental, energy and transportation issues, and as counsel of the Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Regulation of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. In this capacity she worked extensively on the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and developed the first major bipartisan climate change legislation. She moved to Capitol Hill in 1989 from the U.S. Department of Justice where she was a senior attorney and trial attorney in the Environmental Enforcement Section.

"Joyce is one of the most experienced and widely respected staff members on Capitol Hill," said Princeton Vice President and Secretary Robert K. Durkee, to whom Rechtschaffen will report. "Her colleagues point to her exceptional intelligence and insight, her strong leadership and management skills, and her commitment to high standards and hard work. We are delighted that she has agreed to take on this ambassadorial and advocacy role, not only for Princeton, but for research universities and higher education more generally."

The director of government affairs monitors and analyzes legislative, regulatory and policy proposals that affect the University; develops and carries out strategies for effectively representing the University's interests and concerns; develops effective relationships and communicates on Princeton's behalf with members of Congress, Congressional staff and representatives of the administration and federal agencies; and works collaboratively with national associations and other universities on matters of shared interest.

The government affairs office works on issues related to federal support for research and graduate education; undergraduate financial aid; tax policy, including incentives for charitable giving; immigration policy; intellectual property; and other matters. A major area of responsibility for the office involves federal support for fusion energy research at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

As an undergraduate at Princeton, Rechtschaffen earned high honors, graduated Phi Beta Kappa and served as a reporter and executive editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 1978 and spent five years in private practice in Washington before moving to the Justice Department.

"Since my undergraduate days at the Woodrow Wilson School, I have viewed Princeton as a leader in governmental policy-making," Rechtschaffen said. "I look forward to assisting the University in articulating and advancing its views before the legislative and executive branches of government on a range of issues that affect higher education, research and the University."

Rechtschaffen lives in Maryland with her husband and son.

Back To Top