Announcements - February 24, 2009

DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES NEW EXECUTIVEs: The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) announced Thursday that Larry Soler has been appointed executive vice president for its newly created government relations and operations section, which is a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of Type 1 diabetes research, according to a press release from JDRF. The foundation also announced that Cynthia Rice has been appointed vice president of government relations.

Before joining JDRF, Rice served as vice president for policy for the New Democrat Network. Soler previously worked as the senior federal relations officer for the Association of American Universities.

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PRESS SECRETARY: Todd Jurkowski began his position as press secretary for Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) earlier this year. His favorite aspect of his job is the pace and energy.

“My first week was when the recovery act was in conference and passed,” he said. “I learned more about politics in those four days than in my entire life, practically. I still look at the Capitol and the Washington Monument every day when I walk into Longworth and think, ‘It is such an honor to work here.’ ”

The best advice Jurkowski received about his new job was from a chief of staff for a member on the other side of the aisle. That advice? “You can get in a lot of trouble by saying too much, but it’s hard to get in any trouble by saying nothing.”

Before working on Capitol Hill, Jurkowski was an anchor and reporter at WKMG, a CBS Orlando affiliate. “I miss the fact that I can leave work at work; as a reporter, after your live shot is done and your story airs, you can go home and not think about work until the next morning,” he said. “Now I find myself lying in bed at night thinking about my next press event or news release.”

If Jurkowski weren’t working on Capitol Hill, he said, he’d still be working in television as a reporter and anchor in Orlando.

SANCHEZ GETS NEW CHIEF OF STAFF: Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) has announced that she has a new chief of staff, Meghan Johnson, in her congressional office.

Johnson previously worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, where she served as a senior adviser, focusing on political affairs and fundraising strategies for the House Democratic leadership.

Sanchez said Johnson brings with her skill, passion and diligence that will serve her office well. Johnson is honored to serve the congresswoman, she said, adding that she has a vested drive to increase opportunities for working families in her district.

Before Sanchez’s office, Johnson worked as director of finance operations for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) “Pelosi for Congress/PAC to the Future.”