BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Kevin O’Neill, Arnold & Porter partner and co-chairman of the legislative group

By POLITICO Staff

How/where are you celebrating your birthday and with whom? “A quiet, school-night dinner with Patty, John and Kate. My wife, Patty, and I share a birthday week, so Saturday night we are having an ’80s costume party with friends in Williamsburg that I hope will keep me out well past my normal bedtime.”

How did you get your start in your career? “As a senior in high school, I interned for the RNC in 1987. I got to meet Vice President Bush, Sen. Dole, Jack Kemp and several other political heavyweights in the race for Reagan’s third term. By the time I went to college, I knew I wanted to work in policy and politics.”

What’s an interesting book/article you’re reading now or you’ve recently finished? And why? ‘Billion Dollar Whale,’ ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘Super Pumped.’ Those three books share common stories about ambitious individuals who conned billions out of some of the world’s smartest people and companies, each building a house of cards that was sure to collapse when their lawbreaking was finally disclosed. In the legal and lobbying world, it’s a reminder to look deeper before reaching conclusions.”

What’s a trend going on in the U.S. or abroad that doesn’t get enough attention? “Pension reform and runaway entitlement obligations. These programs threaten to swallow us whole, but there’s no political benefit to addressing these problems in time to minimize the pain that is coming.”

What’s a fun fact that people in Washington might not know about you? “I spent two years as the Syracuse Orangeman mascot (1988-90) during one of the historical heights of the football and basketball programs. I traveled as far as Japan for games, was kidnapped by midshipmen at the Naval Academy, hit bowl games and the NCAA tournament, and stopped traffic in Manhattan while serving as America’s greatest fruit-based mascot. I had to go hours in the suit without being able to talk, something anyone who knows me now finds hard to believe.”