• Karissa Willhite


    With 20 years of senior experience in both the House and Senate, Karissa Willhite provides a unique 360-degree perspective of the inner workings of Congress. Her insider’s knowledge gives clients the strategic insight to successfully navigate the Hill. Karissa also brings an in-depth knowledge of the changing role of the federal government in health care delivery. Named one of The Hill’s “Top Lobbyists,” she has a reputation for getting things done, even in an increasingly partisan environment.

    Prior to joining OGR in 2014, Karissa served eight years as deputy chief of staff to Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). In that role, Karissa worked closely with senior staff including Democratic leadership staff and key decision makers on the Finance, Banking and Foreign Relations committees. During her time in the Senate, Karissa secured significant priorities in major landmark legislation ranging from health care reform to financial services reform.

    Karissa started her career working on health care issues for Congressman Charles Stenholm (D-TX), a conservative Blue Dog Democrat from Texas. Later, she worked for then-Congressman Robert Menendez and played a key role in House leadership as the deputy executive director and policy director of the House Democratic Caucus. In that capacity, she helped develop Democratic policy priorities and organized Members’ weekly strategy meetings and annual retreats. Karissa also worked in state legislative and executive positions, including as director of federal relations for the Texas Department of Health.

    Karissa’s political experience rounds out her command of the politics, policy, and process needed in Washington. Her political work includes serving in senior positions for Menendez for Senate in 2006 and 2012, in the battleground state of New Mexico for Obama for America in 2008, as a fundraiser for Hillary for America, and directing various independent expenditure teams for the DCCC. Karissa has also played key roles at Democratic National Conventions, serving on the government affairs team in 2004 and on the podium team in 2016.

    Karissa is passionately engaged in promoting women both politically and professionally. She is a founding board member of the Jenkins Hill Society a fundraising group whose mission is to get more women engaged in financially supporting female Democratic candidates for the House and Senate and to begin closing the gender giving gap in politics. Karissa also generously gives her personal time to mentor young professional women as they navigate their own careers in Washington.

    Karissa earned a bachelor of arts in government and a masters of public administration from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. She currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband Marc.

  • Related News