Democrat Haley Stevens is running for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District touting her experience as chief of staff in former President Barack Obama’s Auto Task Force, even though her official position was mid-level.
Stevens’ campaign website prominently displays her title “Chief of Staff to the Auto Rescue,” referring to the title financier Steven Rattner ascribed to her when he headed up the administration’s auto bailout operation. She has made much of her positions there, which were designated in official documents as “confidential assistant” and “special assistant” at the Treasury Department.
Officials with those positions are defined by the federal government as “white-collar employees in mid-level positions.” A master’s degree is required and the pay range is about $52,000 to $68,000.
Rattner, now a contributor to the New York Times opinion page and an MSNBC economic analyst, wrote that they moved Stevens from Obama’s transition team to their team.
“After the election, she’d worked on confirmations for cabinet-level appointees,” Rattner wrote in his 2011 book Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administration’s Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry. “Since she was already on the transition team’s payroll, Deese and I quickly decided to make her our chief of staff.”
Rattner has also said Stevens was not given a great deal of power by the department.
“When I asked our energetic young chief of staff, Haley Stevens, what we were going to give our visitors [from General Motors] for lunch, she replied, ‘Nothing. Treasury has no budget for even bottles of water.’ It seemed harsh to expect our guests to go many hours without eating, so I gave Haley $100 and told her to go to a sandwich shop,” Rattner wrote in 2009
On her site, she credits Obama’s Auto Task Force with saving 200,000 jobs, and she also touts her work in job training programs and creating “the country’s first online certification program for digital manufacturing.” She also speaks frequently about using new technology to spur job creation, having also worked on a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education program.
Haley is one of five Democrats running in a crowded field to replace retiring Republican Rep. Dave Trott. On the Republican side, five contenders are also running to take Trott’s place, and the primaries will be held on Aug. 7.