Yelberton R. Watkins is Chief of Staff for the Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the third-ranking democrat in the US House of Representatives. Watkins has served in this capacity for almost 18 years.
As Chief of Staff, Watkins is responsible for the overall management of Congressman Clyburn’s office, where he leads a team of legislative, policy, communications, and outreach professionals. He has extensive interaction with members of Congress, senior White House officials, and industry representatives.
Highly regarded in Washington, Watkins has been featured in National Journal magazine in its annual edition of top Capitol Hill aides. For the past four years, he was named by Roll Call newspaper as one of the top 50 staffers on the Hill. In 2007, he was named a prestigious Liberty Fellow. In 1995, as a delegate of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, he traveled to the former Soviet Union, as Official International Observer for the Russian legislative elections. In 1999, he was a member of the American delegation to the American Council on Germany Young Leaders Exchange. In 2001 he was a delegate to the Transatlantic Forum in Munich, Germany. He has participated in official delegations to Gambia, Israel, Singapore, Brazil, Taiwan, France, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Colombia and Morocco.
Active in the civic life of Washington, he is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and the board of directors of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Watkins previously served on the board of trustees of Washington’s historic Shiloh Baptist Church. A native of Columbia, Watkins is the son of Romeo and Annette Caughman Watkins. He graduated from W. J. Keenan High School as Salutatorian, received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Duke University and his Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University.