January 04, 2015

Sen. Thune Announces Staff Changes

U.S. Sen. John Thune (MTP)U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the 3rd ranking leader in the incoming U.S. Senate majority as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, announced several staff changes for the new Congress:

Brendon Plack, who has been serving as Sen. Thune’s Deputy Chief of Sstaff, has been named Staff Director of the Senate Republican Conference. Plack will also continue to oversee operations in Thune’s DC-based personal office. Plack, a South Dakota native, has served on Thune’s team in various capacities for the past 10 years, including Thune’s Legislative Director, Policy Director for the Senate Republican Conference, and energy analyst at the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Ann Marie Hauser has been named Deputy Sstaff Director of the Senate Republican Conference. Most recently, Hauser handled public affairs strategy for the financial regulatory consulting firm Patomak Global Partners. Prior to that, she served as managing vice president at JDA Frontline, Communications Director for Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s presidential bid, Vice President of Corporate Communications at JPMorgan Chase, Communications Director for U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Director of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce and spokesperson at the U.S. Department of Treasury in the George W. Bush administration.

AshLee Strong, Sen. Thune’s national Communications Director, has been promoted to Senior Communications Director. She will continue to serve as Thune’s chief spokesperson and will coordinate Thune’s national message in his leadership office and across his committee assignments. Previously, Strong served as Press Secretary for Sen. Thune, Press Secretary for Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), communications aide for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and as an aide at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in the George W. Bush administration.

Frederick Hill has been named Sen. Thune’s Communications Director for the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Hill most recently served as Deputy Staff Director for Communications to Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Hill has worked for Issa for the past 13 years.

In addition, Rachel Millard will continue to serve as Thune’s Communications Director for state press. Millard, a native of Chamberlain, SD, and graduate of Creighton University, has served on Sen. Thune’s personal staff for over five years and previously served as press secretary for Sen. Thune, internal communications adviser at the Senate Republican Conference, and legislative correspondent for Thune.  (PF tipster)

Jordan Departs House Small Business Cmte for U.S. Sen.-elect Lankford

D.J. JordanPolitico’s “Playbook” reports that D.J. Jordan is leaving the House Small Business Committee, under chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), and has been named Communications Director for U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).

Jordan previously served as a press aide for U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), as well as working for CNN and Fox News.

He is has a B.S. degree from Liberty University and a Master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University.

He is a native of Chesapeake, VA. (Politico “Playbook” and PF reporting)

Doheny Moves from House to Senate

Tom Doheny (color)Politico’s “Playbook” reports that Tom Doheny has been named Communications Director for U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE).

Doheny has been Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Renee Elmers (R-NC) since 2011.  Doheny took leave in 2014 to serve as Colorado Victory Communications Director for the RNC.  Before that he was Communications Director for the Delaware Republican Party.

He is a 2007 graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and a native of Fairfax Station, Virginia.  (Politico’s “Playbook”)

Speaker Boehner Moves Fritz from Political Role to Speaker’s Office

Cory Fritz with BoehnerCory Fritz, a longtime aide to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), has been named Press Secretary in the speaker’s office, with special responsibility for dealing with White House media.

Fritz has led communications for Boehner’s political committee for the past four years, serving as Ohio Press Secretary for Boehner before that.  Earlier he was Speechwriter for former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH).  (PF tipster)

November 24, 2014

Former Boehner Flack Buck Returning to Work for Chairman Ryan at W&M Committee

Brendan BuckPolitico’s Jake Sherman reports that Brendan Buck is returning to Capitol Hill to serve as Communications Director for the House Ways and Means Committee, under incoming chairman Paul Ran (R-WI).

Buck previously served as Press Secretary for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and most recently was vice president at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).  Buck worked for Ryan as traveling press aide after he was named the vice presidential nominee on the Romney-Ryan campaign.

He’s a native of Atlanta and a graduate of the University of Georgia.  (Politico)

October 31, 2014

Sen. Cardin Names Zink Press Secretary in State Office

Ben CardinU.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) has hired Tim Zink as Press Secretary, based in his primary state office in Baltimore.

Previously, Zink advised the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on communications strategies following oil spills and toxic releases in our nation’s oceans, most notably the 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Before that he directed communications and marketing for the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, a congressionally chartered non-profit organization, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a groundbreaking coalition of fishing, hunting and environmental organizations.

He also previously managed media relations for Trout Unlimited, the country’s foremost organization devoted to the protection of cold water resources.

Zink began his career as an environmental journalist, helping launch Blue Ridge Press, a syndicated column service publishing on environmental issues, and assisting the magazine and television operations of the National Geographic Society.

He holds a B.A. in Journalism from Washington & Lee University.  (PF tipster)

October 28, 2014

Freire Joins Sen. Hatch as New Communications Director

J.P. Freiere (suit)U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Friday that J.P. Freire will be joining his staff as Communications Director overseeing communications for the state of Utah and the personal office.

Freire joins Hatch’s staff after two years of serving as Communications Director and Speechwriter for U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS).  He previously worked as a Senior Communications Strategist in crisis communications, campaigns, and corporate defense for New Media Strategies following nearly eight years as an award-winning conservative journalist, including turns as Associate Editorial Page Editor at the Washington Examiner, Managing Editor at the American Spectator, and Researcher/Writer at the New York Times.  In 2009 he was honored as CPAC’s Journalist of the Year.

Freire holds a B.A. in English from Cornell University, where he also served as senior editor of the Cornell Review.

“J.P.’s experience as a policy-focused journalist, strategic communicator, and effective manager will be a major asset to our team as we coordinate our agenda for the Senate,” Sen. Hatch said.  “J.P. is an honest broker who knows how to discuss complicated issues with reporters, and I’m thrilled to have him as part of my team.”  

Freire is a native of Stamford, CT.  (PF tipster, press release)

September 29, 2014

Ayotte Aide Grappone to Siemens

Jeff GrapponeJeff Grappone, Communications Director for U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and top aide since her 2010 campaign, has joined Siemens in their media relations department, based in Washington, DC.  The news was first reported in Politico’s “Playbook.”

Grappone previously served as Press Secretary to U.S. Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) and on the legislative staff of U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH).  In 2008, he was a spokesman for the presidential campaigns of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-New York City).

He's a graduate of Georgetown University and a native of Concord, NH.  (Politico “Playbook”)

September 04, 2014

Claffey Leaves Sen. Chambliss for House Homeland Security Committee

Lauren ClaffeyLauren Claffey, the Communications Director for retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) is leaving his office after five years to become Communications Director for the House Homeland Security Committee under chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX).

Claffey has been replaced in Sen. Chambliss’ office by “fellow Georgian” Virginia Dent.

Claffey got her start interning for Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-GA) and in the press office of U.S. Sen. Jonny Isakson (R-GA), before working her way up from Deputy Press Secretary to press Secretary to Communications Director for Sen. Chambliss.

Claffey is a 2008 graduate of the University of Georgia and has a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University.  (PF reporting)

September 02, 2014

Sen. Paul’s Flack Bagley Smith Named Communications Director for House Majority Whip Scalise

Moira Bagley SmithHouse Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) today announced that Moira Bagley Smith has joined the leadership office as Communications Director.

She most recently served as Communications Director for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) since his election to Congress.

Prior to her tenure with Sen. Paul, Moira began her career in DC at Roll Call Newspaper before working for the Republican National Committee and subsequently, The Daily Caller.

She is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Kentucky.  (PF tipster)

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