Jan 18, 2020
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Politics Aside, a Win for Both in the Senate Softball League

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Kate Hannah Henjum and Bill Gephart Jaffee were married Jan. 18 at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis. Kate White, an aunt of the groom who became a Universal Life minister for the event, officiated.

The bride, who is 24 and taking her husband’s name, is a program manager for the energy and environment program at the Aspen Institute in Washington. She was previously a legislative aide for Senator Michael F. Bennet, Democrat of Colorado. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

She is the daughter of Nancy Lynn Henjum and Stephen C. Kern of Colorado Springs, Colo. The bride’s father, who is retired, was a public-school teacher for 34 years in Colorado Springs for School District 11. He last taught at William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs. Her mother is an executive coach and principal owner of the Henjum Consulting Group in Colorado Springs.

The groom, 29, is the press secretary for Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, in Washington. He graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., and received a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University.

He is a son of Judith Louise Jaffee and Elliot Jay Jaffee of Minneapolis. The groom’s father is executive vice president and head of commercial banking at the U.S. Bank in Minneapolis. He also serves on the board of directors of the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Club of Minnesota. The groom’s mother is a stay-at-home parent.

The couple met in July 2016 while both were working at the Senate in Washington. At the time, Ms. Henjum was working as an intern for Senator Bennet, and Mr. Jaffee was working for Senator Toomey.

Despite the fact that their offices were located around the corner from each other on the second floor of the Russell Senate Office Building, Ms. Henjum and Mr. Jaffee had never met.

But when the “Hit It Toomey” softball team, a part of the Senate Softball League, needed to recruit another woman to play to avoid a forfeit, Mr. Jaffee was made aware of Ms. Henjum by two of his teammates. He reached across the political aisle and recruited Ms. Henjum, who said that while she had never met Mr. Jaffee in person, she had “seen him around,” and thought he “carried himself very well.”

Mr. Jaffee’s move to add Ms. Henjum to his lineup paid major dividends, as her performance helped lead his team to a victory. “She singled in her first at-bat and played great outfield for us,” Mr. Jaffee said of Ms. Henjum.

Ms. Henjum recalled Mr. Jaffee approaching her after the game and saying “thanks for coming out, I owe you a beer.”

But the beer was postponed as Mr. Jaffee was dating another woman. “He called me a few weeks later, after his relationship had ended, and reminded me about that beer,” Ms. Henjum said. “He was a true gentleman in that regard.”

A few days later, they went to a bar in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and chatted over three rounds of beers.

“Our conversation just flew by,” Ms. Henjum said. “I found Bill to be really intelligent, really charming and a great conversationalist.”

They began spending time together, but Ms. Henjum had to say goodbye to Mr. Jaffee in August 2016, as her internship had ended and she had to finish her studies and graduate from the University of Colorado. They kept in touch, and in May 2017, they were reunited when Ms. Henjum returned to Washington to work as a legislative aide for Senator Bennet.

“From the very start, I have always loved Kate’s energy and optimism,” Mr. Jaffee said. “She was very smart and very funny, and though we were from different political parties and had different perspectives on some issues, we were really interested in what each other had to say.”

“Politics has since become so polarizing,” Mr. Jaffee said, “but me and Kate remain a positive blip on the political radar.”

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