Announcements, September 23, 2009


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James Decker has joined the congressman’s office as legislative counsel and handles energy and security issues. Decker was previously legislative assistant and staff attorney for Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and legislative counsel to former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.).

Rep. Sherman announces staff changes: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) is pleased to announce new changes in his office, nicknamed “Shermania.” Justin Friedman will join as legislative assistant, handling financial services-related issues. Friedman previously worked for Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), where he served as a legislative correspondent. Before Sen. Bayh, Friedman worked as staff assistant to then-Rep. Ben Cardin (now Sen. Cardin, D-Md.).
Also joining the team is Cameron French. French will handle communications concerns and will focus on Sherman’s presence in online media. Before this position, French worked in the press office of the 2008 Democratic National Convention and then joined the Obama campaign in North Carolina, where he served as regional press secretary for the Democratic National Committee.

Jessica Jensen will also come on staff, working as a staff assistant. Responsible for tour requests and coordinating the internship program, Jensen will be the first face visitors see in Sherman’s office lobby. A Minnesota native, Jensen previously worked as an intern for the Democratic National Committee,

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Grassroots Solutions, Project Vote Smart and the Minnesota Women’s Campaign Fund.

There are also internal promotions in the office, including:

Rebecca Korman — Korman was formerly legislative assistant and is now legislative director, where she oversees the congressman’s floor activities.

Marc Berkman — Berkman has been a Sherman aide for many years and is now the chief counsel.

Brad Cheney — Cheney was formerly Sherman’s administrative assistant and now is his chief of staff.

Erin Prangley — Prangley, Sherman’s former district director, moved to D.C. last spring and is now working in the D.C. offices as a counsel and senior adviser.

Stacey Lima — Lima stepped up to the scheduler position, having formerly handled staff assistant responsibilities and constituent tours.

Committee on Homeland Security welcomes new staff: The Committee on Homeland Security has many recent staff additions it’s excited to announce. Michael Blinde is subcommittee director, directing the panel on intelligence, information-sharing and terrorism risk assessment. Blinde spent two and a half years as an intelligence analyst with the FBI after he transferred to the Government Accountability Office, where he served as a senior analyst with the Homeland Security and Justice Team for another few years. After several months with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Blinde joined the Committee on Homeland Security.

Alan Snyder joined the committee last month to work on homeland security grants and preparedness. Before the committee, he was previously the federal liaison for New York state’s Office of Homeland Security. He was also legislative assistant for Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), where he focused on defense and northern-border security matters.

Pizza Ashby is outreach coordinator, responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with public and private stakeholders, state and local governments and trade associations. Before her time with the committee, Ashby worked for private industry.

Arianne Callender, a D.C. native, joins as deputy oversight counsel after clerking for Judge Constance Baker Motley and working as a plaintiff’s class action attorney in New York. Callender returned to the D.C. area to become general counsel to an environmental watchdog group. Before her work in the committee, Callender worked as a healthcare fraud litigator.

Elizabeth Studdard recently graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. She joins the committee as part of the professional staff. She spent part of her third year of school prosecuting cases with the Lynchburg Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. Studdard also interned with the Eastern District of Virginia U.S. Attorney’s Office and the AARP’s Federal Affairs Department.

Finally, Nicole Tisdale joins as a professional staffer, conducting oversight on DHS small-business issues. She received her J.D. and B.A. from the University of Mississippi.

Staffer makes move from Senate to House: Marie Francis is now communications director for Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.). She previously worked as deputy press secretary in Sen. Evan Bayh’s (D-Ind.) office before moving to the House side. She graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., in 2008 with a degree in political science and international studies. In her spare time she plays tennis, bikes and runs (when not battling a foot injury, as she is now). Francis also speaks French and lived in Montpellier, France, in high school and studied abroad in Paris in college. Originally from St. Louis, Francis is a big Cardinals fan.

Law firm promotes Patton to master: George T. Patton has been promoted from barrister to master in the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court in Washington, the law firm of Bose McKinney and Evans LLP announced last week. Patton is co-chairman of the Appellate Group and a partner in the Litigation Group Bose McKinney and Evans. While practicing law, he taught appellate advocacy and procedure at Indiana University School of Law.

Better World Campaign gets new director of communications: The Better World Campaign announced Heather Wong as its new director of communications. Wong was spokeswoman for international affairs and terrorism and financial intelligence issues at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She also worked as communications director for Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). The Better World Campaign works to foster a successful relationship between the United States and United Nations through outreach, communications and advocacy, according to its mission statement.