Announcements - February 11, 2009

Amber Wilkerson began her job as national press secretary for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) on Feb. 2. Her job transition has been smooth, thanks to communications director Brian Walsh, she said.

Wilkerson enjoys working in a smaller office where people can be more agile getting out their message through traditional and new media. “While I miss the Starbucks on Pennsylvania Avenue that fed my caffeine habit in 2008, I’m thankful that the garage at the NRSC means no more dodging the overzealous D.C. ticket attendant who patrols the House side,” Wilkerson said.

The best advice Wilkerson has been given about her new job came from her old boss at the Republican National Committee (RNC), Dan Ronayne, also a former NRSC press secretary. “He said we need to make the best use of every day going into the election, holding the Democrats accountable for their controversial votes and their records here in Washington,” she said. “It’s critically important that we hit the ground running early in the cycle, communicating our message and drawing distinctions, especially as the campaigns are starting to ramp up in the states.”

Prior to taking her new position, Wilkerson served as the deputy press secretary for the RNC, and before that served as the RNC’s Southeast Regional Press Secretary. “The person I miss most at the RNC is Brian Walton, who made the long days of the campaign entertaining before he made a career change to teach Spanish in California last month,” she said.

Job Moves

Justin Harding began his new position as chief of staff for Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzDem demands documents from TSA after scathing security report Chaffetz replacement sworn in as House member Democrats expand House map after election victories MORE (R-Utah) in January.

Harding enjoys getting to start on the ground floor with a new member. “It’s the satisfaction that comes from working with another dedicated team … albeit in a different and expanded role,” he said.

He was previously legislative director for Rep. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOvernight Energy: Puerto Rico officials defend Whitefish deal before Congress | US wants level playing field at UN climate summit | House passes flood insurance overhaul GOP chairman cites ‘credibility gap’ in Puerto Rico recovery Lawyers warned Puerto Rico utility against Whitefish contract MORE (R-Utah). Harding said he misses Bishop’s sense of humor, as well as his former colleagues.

If he wasn’t working on Capitol Hill, Harding said, he probably wouldn’t be working. “Given the state of the economy, it’s pretty tough out there right now,” he said. “It’s good to be gainfully employed, and even better to be gainfully employed doing what you love.”

Engagements and Births 

FORMER COLLINS AIDE TAKES OUT AD FOR ENGAGEMENT: Seth Colton, former aide to Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsStates fill family caregiver void left by Congress GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal MORE (R-Maine), got engaged on New Year’s Eve in Hendersonville, N.C. His fiancee is Christina Miller, a fundraiser for the Center for Independent Media. Colton proposed by placing an advertisement in the Hendersonville newspaper.
“We went to go read by a lake and she saw the advertisement in the paper and said yes,” Colton said.
The two plan to marry in May 2010 in Hendersonville. Colton now works in Republican fundraising. 

WELCOMES FIRST CHILD: Robert Boland welcomed the birth of his first child, Elizabeth Ellen, pictured at right, on Feb. 3. Boland is a senior legislative assistant in defense issues and veterans’ affairs for Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.). Boland and his wife, who is a kindergarten teacher, said Elizabeth is a fantastic baby.
“Everyone in Bilbray’s office has been so supportive,” Boland said. “Bilbray has five children himself, so he understands.”