Announcements - June 24, 2009

Harkin names new press secretary: Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinDistance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream MORE (D-Iowa) named Bergen Kenny as his new press secretary. Kenny previously worked for Envision Communications, a private firm, as well as former Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) during his 2003-2004 presidential campaign. She then went to work for the Iowa Democratic Party. Kenny also has served as Rep. Paul Hodes’s (D-N.H.) communications director. She is a 2000 UCLA graduate.

Miller announces new Education Committee staff:  Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, announced new staff joining the committee to work on higher education, K-12 education policies and worker safety and health.
The new staff includes Richard Miller, who joins as senior labor policy adviser specializing in worker safety and health issues, and Ajita Talwalker, who will join as an education policy adviser focusing on higher education. Also on staff is Lillian Pace, who will be policy adviser for the subcommittee on early childhood, elementary and secondary education, as well as Mike Kruger, online outreach specialist. Alexandria Ruiz will also be on staff as an assistant.

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‘The cutest thing’: Peter Karafotas, deputy chief of staff for Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), welcomed the birth of a daughter, Zoe Katherine, on April 28. Zoe weighed in at 8 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. Karafotas, who has a 2-year-old, Maya, has been enjoying his older daughter’s reaction to her new sister.
“It’s the cutest thing,” he said. “She says, ‘When you get older, you play with me, you go to school with me.’ ” Mom and baby are both doing well.

Dessert and... : Mary Sumpter Johnson, policy adviser for health and labor for Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderLawmakers reintroduce online sales tax bills Overnight Healthcare: New GOP health bill on life support | ObamaCare insurer threatens to leave over subsidies Trump's FDA nominee clears key Senate committee MORE (R-Tenn.) on the HELP Children and Families subcommittee, and Mat Lapinski, managing director at Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal, recently got engaged.
Johnson met Lapinski in 2000 through a mutual former employer. The two were engaged over Memorial Day weekend, when Lapinski had Johnson over to his place, where he’d made dinner for her.
“After dinner, he told me he got me some dessert and a little present,” Johnson said. “He surprised me with a gorgeous ring and a Key lime pie then asked me to marry him.”
Johnson said yes. The two plan to marry in 2010.