Cliff Rothenstein worked for the federal government for three decades, mostly in jobs related to the environment. Now he's joined K&L Gates as a government affairs adviser.
Rothenstein most recently worked at the Federal Highway Administration, where he has been the head of legislative affairs since last year. But he previously held positions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and on Capitol Hill, and he said he’ll continue to concentrate on environmental matters at K&L Gates’ Washington office.
The firm is a good fit, Rothenstein said in a phone interview, because of the range of environmental issues it handles. “They cover the gamut of issues,” he said.
With a master’s in public policy, Rothenstein started his career in the EPA’s budget office. In 1988, he went to work for U.S. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), handling legislation before the Senate’s environmental committee. He left in 1997 to take a political appointment at the EPA, and a few years later he became a career employee and the head of the EPA’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks, which helps to clean up U.S. gas stations.
Rothenstein said the timing was right for his first move into the private sector. He had been working on the congressional reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program, but Congress has stalled work on the issue. “I had thought about doing this at some point in my career,” he said.