Team Players in Politics and Love – The New York Times

Alessandra Rose Biaggi and Nathaniel Smith Koloc were married July 22 at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, N.Y. Yuh-Line Niou, a friend of the couple who is a New York State assemblywoman, officiated, with Hillary Clinton leading the couple in their vows.

Ms. Biaggi, 33, is a first-term New York State senator, a Democrat representing District 34 including parts of the Bronx and Westchester County. Until 2018 she was a lawyer in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s executive chamber in New York. She graduated summa cum laude from N.Y.U., and received a law degree from Fordham.

The bride is a daughter of Toni Biaggi and Richard Biaggi of Pelham, N.Y. She is a paternal granddaughter of United States Representative Mario Biaggi, who was a 10-term Democrat representing the Bronx, now part of the area she serves.

Mr. Koloc, 32, runs Formidable, a management consultancy based in Pelham, N.Y. He graduated from the University of Vermont, and received a master’s degree in strategic leadership toward sustainability from Blekinge Technical Institute in Karlskrona, Sweden.

He is the son of Brenda L. Smith of Pittsburgh and the late Fred J. Koloc.

The couple met in January 2015 when both were New York City New Leaders Council fellows. They gathered in Manhattan to learn about progressive politics, entrepreneurship and campaigns one weekend a month for five months.

“In the first session we didn’t talk to each other,” Ms. Biaggi said, “but without saying anything there was an energy.”

Mr. Koloc could also sense her intensity and seriousness. “We were two of the people in the group who were asking speakers the hardest questions,’’ he said.

At the February meeting, after Mr. Koloc was offered the role of the director of talent acquisition and development on Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign-in-waiting team, he asked Ms. Biaggi about her job and her next move.

“I’m going to work in the White House,’’ said Ms. Biaggi without skipping a beat.

Mr. Koloc, taken by her moxie, asked if she would work on a campaign, which she quickly took to mean a local one.

“How about a presidential race,’’ he countered, and his calm audacity stunned her.

“Who is this person,’’ she recalled thinking.

At the March meeting Mr. Koloc, more sure-footed in his job, asked Ms. Biaggi to send her résumé to the campaign, and by May she was on its vetting team.

“Everything was urgent in the moment,’’ said Ms. Biaggi, who vetted anything that touched Mrs. Clinton, including staff, volunteers, individuals, locations and social media influencers. “It was total chaos and I loved it.”

After a few weeks of sitting six desks from each other, they began grabbing coffee together or walking along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade during breaks.

In June, as they left a Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett benefit at the Plaza, Ms. Biaggi’s mother called to tell her that her grandfather, Mario Biaggi, died, and was touched when Mr. Koloc then showed up at her grandfather’s wake.

“It was a meaningful and hard moment,” she said.

In September, after they knew they were serious, using what Mr. Koloc called “comm strategy” (communications strategy), within the same hour they told colleagues about the relationship.

On election night at the Javits center “the energy was hopeful and exciting,” said Ms. Biaggi, who then was deputy national operations director managing state logistics and state operations teams, but by the end of the night they knew they had lost.

“We played very hard, and it was very hard to lose,’’ she said.

Before Christmas they broke up as they each tried to get to a better place personally, and got back together by June.

“We were crushed into a million pieces, but the love we had and have for each other triumphed,’’ she said. “Our relationship had a bigger purpose and continued, and it passed the test.”

On Monday following the ceremony Mr. Kuloc said: “For some cinematic flare, lightning struck the Blue Hill property about five minutes after our vows. It was fantastic.”