Henry Connelly, the communications director for Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, can empathize with the cinematic story of a farmer who discovers his “Field of Dreams” in an Iowa cornfield.
The girl of his dreams, Samantha Warren, was born and raised in the middle of a cornfield in Illinois. However, their love story took place in Washington.
“He inspires me,” said Ms. Warren, the chief of staff for Illinois Democrat Bill Foster. “Henry is successful but modest, and is so generous with his time and his talents, both for me and for his friends. And he comes from the most wonderful family.”
After graduating from Yale in 2009, Mr. Connelly, 34, was hired to host a campaign for the 2011 special election for a Los Angeles congressional seat, which was won by Janice Hahn. She then hired Mr. Connelly to work in her Washington office.
“If you win such a special election you are immediately thrown into an office and you have very little time to hire and fill people,” said Mr Connelly. “The first week or so is always complete chaos.”
Into the maelstrom of those very early days came Mrs. Warren, 36. “Samantha had a boyfriend then, and early on I really tried to do everything I could not to admit to myself how extraordinary I thought she was, and how much I loved her,” said Mr. Connelly, who was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles.
“She was smart and tough and radiant,” he added. “I was really trying to convince myself that it was a platonic thing.”
Just like mr. Connelly has Mrs. Warren’s career also took root in politics. She began working on Illinois Democrat Representative Debbie Halvorson’s election campaign in 2008. She then served as a regional director in Ms. Halvorson’s Illinois office until she lost re-election in 2010.
On the advice of a friend, Mrs. Warren took “a leap of faith,” as she put it, in July 2011 and moved to Washington without a job, initially as an intern with Mr. Connelly in Ms. Hahn’s congressional office.
“I was hoping for a paid job eventually, and thank goodness I did,” said Ms. Warren, a native of Princeton, Illinois, a rural farming community.
“Our childhood home was on a nameless mail road in the middle of cornfields,” she said. “Those cornfields seemed to stretch to the horizon.”
It wasn’t long before she and Mr. Connelly became close friends and confidants. “Henry was so handsome and super intelligent,” said Ms. Warren, who graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she earned a master’s degree in political science.
“I was more or less aware that he really liked me, and to tell you the truth, I was worried about it because I didn’t want to ruin a good friendship.”
They continued that friendship for two and a half years, “until it became undeniable,” Ms Warren said.
They turned a romantic corner in February 2013, on a first date that began at Mr. Connelly’s Washington apartment, where Mrs. Warren helped him cook risotto.
“I knew the constant stirring it took would mean precious minutes petting each other in front of the stove,” said Mr. Connelly with a laugh.
Later that night they went dancing and were still on the dance floor when they shared their first kiss.
“It was a little unnerving,” Mrs. Warren said. “But then I thought, ‘Wow, I think we’ve got something here.'”
On a weekend in March 2019, Mr. Connelly took Ms. Warren to brunch at their favorite Washington restaurant, and later they walked together through the cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin, where Mr. Connelly proposed to her.
They were married on July 31 at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara in California. Sidney Fowler, a Unitarian Universalist minister, officiated in front of 100 guests.
“We’re passionate about making the world a better place,” the bride said the day after her wedding, “and we’re going to make it happen.”