Announcements - - January 14, 2009

New Jobs:

FORMER WALBERG STAFFER MOVES ON TO ‘MEATIER’ ISSUES: Matthew Mika began working Jan. 5 for the American Meat Institute as the director of legislative affairs. Prior to this job, he worked for Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), who lost reelection. He was Walberg’s senior legislative assistant, working on matters related to the Agriculture Committee on which Walberg sat. Before his work for Walberg, Mika was a legislative assistant for Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.).

REP. buck MCKEON INTRODUCES NEW COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced the panel’s newly elected Republicans: Reps. Brett Guthrie (Ky.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Tom McClintock (Calif.), Duncan Hunter (Calif.) and Phil Roe (Tenn.).

• Eric Feldman, 28, is the new chief of staff for Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.). Feldman formerly was employed with the Democratic Caucus staff.

• Alanna Porter now lobbies for the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons. Porter formerly worked as legislative director for then-Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.).

• Michael Shank is now communications director for Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.). He was formerly communications director for the George Mason University Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

FEATURING

A Gator in Bulldog territory

Pepper Pennington, 26, began her job as communications director for Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) on Jan. 5. “Dr. Broun was one of only a handful of members I would’ve stayed on the Hill to work for,” she said. “I had other opportunities off the Hill, but this seemed like the perfect fit.”

However, Pennington had to confess a secret to Dr. Broun, a diehard University of Georgia Bulldogs fan, in her interview. “In my interview, I told him I was a Florida Gator,” said Pennington, who graduated from the University of Florida in 2004. “It ended up OK, though — we talked about how great the SEC was and how the Big 10 is terrible.”

Pennington, who previously worked for then-Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), hasn’t even had to navigate her way around a new building, as she simply moved next door in Cannon. “Walking in the hallway during my first week back, I got a lot of funny looks,” Pennington said. “I think people were thinking, ‘Did she not get the memo?’”

Pennington, a huge fan of Coke Zero, enjoys all things Coke, as the company is based in Georgia.

Engagements, weddings, births and birthdays

REP. SANDY'S LEVIN’S OFFICE ALIVE WITH ROMANCE OVER HOLIDAY BREAK: Rep. Sandy Levin’s (D-Mich.) Health and Income Security Legislative Aide Jocelyn Lippert is engaged to Drew Alt (both pictured at right), who works in the D.C. area. The two have not set a date yet. Another member of Levin’s staff, Tim Foster, asked Katrina Scott, a Baltimore teacher, to marry him over the holiday season. The two plan to marry Nov. 7 of this year.

OH, BABY: Kate Prible, a lobbyist for the Property Casualty Insurers Association (PCI), gave birth to twins Ella and Evan on Dec. 24 at 9:59 and 10 a.m. Kate is married to John Prible, a lobbyist at the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. The groups work closely together on insurance issues. In the twins’ photos, the babies are wearing hats that Kate knit.

Ben McKay, senior vice president of government relations for PCI, and his wife are expecting a baby. “In the initial sonogram, the picture had the baby’s arms behind its head, with the legs crossed, so wife is convinced it’s a boy,” McKay said. Due June 12, it would be the second child for McKay and his wife. The two have a little girl named Maggie, named after McKay’s grandmother.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

• Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Jan. 14, 1962 — age 47
• Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Jan. 18, 1951 — age 58
• Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine), Jan. 18, 1955 — age 54
• Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio), Jan. 18, 1943 — age 66
• Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Jan. 20, 1951 — age 58
• Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.), Jan. 22, 1962 — age 47
• Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), Jan. 23, 1947 — age 62

 TO SUBMIT AN ANNOUNCEMENT: Contact Kate Oczypok at (202) 628-8617 or kateo@thehill.com