Inside the Washington, D.C., office of Sen. Claire McCaskill, the staff often fights political battles, but now their leader faces the biggest battle of her life.
"It was a little bit scary at first," said staff assistant Saundrea Shropshire.
Just a few weeks ago doctors diagnosed the Missouri senator with breast cancer. McCaskill said in a statement, "It was detected through a regular mammogram. It's a little scary, but my prognosis is good and I expect a full recovery." She went on to say, "During this time my staff will continue to assist Missourians."
"We are marching on," said Shropshire.
While McCaskill is away receiving treatment, her staff says she remains very engaged, often checking in from her St. Louis home.
"She is a very passionate boss. But she's a very good person to work for," said Shropshire. "She has this really good positive energy."
When in Washington, McCaskill serves as an outspoken voice on the Armed Services Committee. Her staff says she's not being silenced while she's gone.
"She wants to make sure that her voice continues to be heard during these hearings, so we've been submitting questions for the record," said Jason Rauch, the senator's military legislative assistant.
With pictures of fellow Missourian Harry Truman lining the walls, the staff in McCaskill's office knows the buck stops with them while the boss is away.
"Just because she's not here doesn't mean that our constituents don't have needs that we can help and assist with," said Shropshire.
McCaskill's staff expects her back at work soon. With her treatment about to wrap up, she should return to the Capitol within the next two weeks.
On her website, McCaskill also posts how she would vote on all the Senate votes that she's missing. To see thoseclick here.
Justin Wilfon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.