News & Politics

Aranthan "AJ" Jones II: 40 Under 40

The young lobbyists with the most influence in Washington

Name: Aranthan "AJ" Jones II
Firm: Podesta Group
Age: 35

Jones sums up his time on the Hill as “bookended by crises.” He joined the office of Virgin Islands delegate Donna Christensen just after 9/11 and started working on homeland-security concerns. His swan song as a congressional staffer came in 2009 when, as the first African-American policy director in the House majority whip’s office, he was charged with incorporating the policies into the Troubled Asset Relief Program that were necessary to get the $700-billion bailout enough votes to pass. “That was a non-sleeping event,” he recalls.

Since joining the Podesta Group more than two years ago, he’s taken on a range of issues, including global health. At the request of Lance Armstrong’s organization, Livestrong, Jones was instrumental in convincing the United Nations to agree to host a head-of-state summit on noncommunicable diseases. He also helped secure the largest increase in resources for patients in the reauthorization of HIV/AIDS legislation last year.

This article appears in the June 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.

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Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a possible wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia. Kashino lives in Northeast DC.