Aides both savvy, green join Va. Sen. Warner

Octogenarian Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) is saying goodbye to one seasoned staff member and welcoming two others to fill her place.

Ann Loomis, the lawmaker’s current chief of staff, is leaving to lobby for an energy company after 23 years with Warner’s office. Having reached retirement age, she has decided to enter the private sector.

“Ann was with Sen. Warner longer than just about anyone in this office,” Warner spokesman John Ullyot said.
Last year Warner also lost an experienced chief of staff, Susan Magill, whom Loomis replaced.

Warner, himself past retirement age, is debating whether to run for reelection in 2008. He will announce his decision by September, but the office is running as usual for now.

Loomis leaves large shoes to fill. Two will replace her: Carter Cornick, 45, who has worked with Warner previously, and Chelsea Maxwell, 37, who currently works with an environmental group.

Cornick, from Charlottesville, Va., has been Warner’s cheerleader in the past. He worked with Warner as his principal adviser during his last reelection campaign. “He’s been part of the Warner family for many years,” Ullyot said. “He is a trusted friend and adviser.”

Most recently Cornick was an official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and his work always has been tied closely to Capitol Hill. As the general deputy assistant secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at HUD, he communicated with senators and congressmen about the department.

And he knows his audience. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Cornick devoted 15 years of his life to work in the offices of both senators and congressmen — nine in the House and six in the Senate. “He picks up right where he left off,” Ullyot said.

The other new hire, Maxwell, has spent years working to protect the earth. She comes from the National Wildlife Federation, where she served as legislative director. As a spokeswoman for the group she has addressed issues such as global warming and environmental policies towards land devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The Maine native also worked as senior policy adviser for the Nature Conservancy. She offers know-how on environmental issues and will take over Loomis’s duties in working with Warner on the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Though Maxwell has been an advocate for the environment, her master’s degree from Boston University is in education.

She is new to Warner’s office, but not to Capitol Hill. From 1998 to 2003 she worked under former Sens. John Chafee (R-R.I.) and Bob Smith (R-N.H.) on the Committee on the Environment and Public Works. Ullyot described her as “respected.”