Dayton native surveys riot aftermath from new Justice Department job

Joshua Stueve, Dayton native and a public affairs officer with the U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office, speaks outside the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va., in October 2019. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

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Joshua Stueve, Dayton native and a public affairs officer with the U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office, speaks outside the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va., in October 2019. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

A Dayton-area native who works for the Department of Justice said the capital was calm Thursday.

Joshua Stueve is a Huber Heights native who graduated from Wayne High School in 1997 and works as senior communications adviser and spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday in the nation’s capital, Stueve said he saw a “strong” security presence.

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The Department of Justice in Washington, Jan. 2, 2020. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)

The Department of Justice in Washington, Jan. 2, 2020. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)

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The Department of Justice in Washington, Jan. 2, 2020. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)

“Look, it’s pretty strong, as it should be,” Stueve told the Dayton Daily News Thursday. “The department is very well secured. We have a good amount of law enforcement professionals who are here, providing security to the building.”

Because of the pandemic, many of the workers who might normally work in downtown D.C. are not there, he noted.

“That makes the law enforcement presence stick out even more,” Stueve said. “As you drive down the street, you see a lot of law enforcement vehicles, you see a lot of law enforcement officers on foot in full-on gear. So there’s a strong presence.”

Stueve’s first day at the DOJ was Monday, after serving six years as the press secretary for the U.S. Attorney in Alexandria, Va. He is 41 years old; he and his wife have three daughters, and Stueve himself was born and raised in the Dayton area, growing up in Huber Heights. He calls himself a “proud” graduate of Wayne.

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He joined the Marine Corps in the year following graduation as an infantryman and spent five years in a platoon stationed in Spain, deploying all over Europe and the Mediterranean area as a member of a quick reaction force.

After that initial stint, he signed up for another four years in the Marines, including two as a Marine Corps media chief working in New York City.

After serving in the Marines, Stueve earned a bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University — he is pursuing a master’s degree at Purdue University — before going on to work for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and as official spokesman for Robert S. Mueller III and Mueller’s investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, among other roles.

His military training has served him well, he believes.

“Even literally this moment, as I’m dealing with just a barrage of national media interest as to what happened during the riots in the Capital yesterday,” he said. “It’s having the ability to keep cool, have a plan, engage your teammates and be able to think clearly through a situation where it’s high-stress and there’s a lot coming at you at once.”

His foundation in the Dayton region was formative, as well.

“I’m proud of being a son of Dayton, Ohio,” he said. “I get back there as often as I can, maybe once or twice a year. The closest relationships that I have — other than my wife, whom I met here — come from Dayton. My whole family is still there.”

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