Announcements, October 21, 2009

As part of the Advisory Council, Rietz and Phelps will provide strategic counsel to WE’s Global Public Affairs Practice and clients on a range of issues affecting business, government policy and public debate.

Biggert hires new office manager and scheduler: Andrea Pivarunas has joined Rep. Judy Biggert’s (R-Ill.) team as office manager and scheduler. Pivarunas began her political career in 2007 as a legislative intern in the Illinois state Senate and later came to D.C. as an intern in Biggert’s office. In early 2009, she was recruited by Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) to serve as his staff assistant and resident expert on constituent hospitality and communications. A Naperville, Ill. (Biggert’s suburban Chicago district) native, Pivarunas is now returning to Illinois to manage the schedule and administer D.C. office affairs for the 13th district.

Office of Republican Whip gets new hire for strategic communications: Brian Patrick is now handling strategic communications for the Office of the Republican Whip. He previously served as war room director for the Republican National Committee and also worked with the Michigan Republican Party.

Advocacy firm announces new senior vice president of operations: DDC Advocacy, a leading issue advocacy firm, announced Mathew Newfield as its senior vice president of operations. Newfield will lead the company’s professional services teams. Newfield joins DDC Advocacy after spending the last decade leading a variety of service teams performing mission-critical functions for a diverse set of companies.

Energy and Natural Resources Committee welcomes new staff:  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Democratic staff announced three recent additions:

* Kevin Rennert is the committee’s newest professional staff member. He is an expert on the science of climate change and the design of climate policy.

For the past year, as a Congressional Science Fellow, he helped Senate Energy develop legislation related to vehicle fuel efficiency. In his spare time, Rennert enjoys kayaking with the Orcas in the San Juan Islands near Seattle.

* Virginia Corless will spend the next year as a Congressional Science and Tech Fellow doing full-time legislative staff work focusing on energy, international affairs and education. In addition to the U.S., she previously worked in Germany, England, China and Italy. She has a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Cambridge University in the U..K. She is also an accomplished actress, director and writer of theatrical productions in the U.S. and England.

* Abby Campbell will support committee professionals who concentrate on clean energy technologies and public lands management. She also has experience ranging from research assistant and scheduling to special events planning and finance compliance. Campbell is currently continuing her studies at the National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs.

Two new receptionists have also joined Senate Energy as non-designated staff.

* Megan Gins was previously legislative correspondent for Rep. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichSenators introduced revised version of election cyber bill Senate Intel releases summary of election security report Revisiting America’s torture legacy MORE (D-N.M.). She earned her degree at Bucknell in political science and environmental studies.

* Jake McCook graduated from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, after writing his thesis in Uganda. He then returned to his home state to work for the governor of New Mexico. He grew up on an organic farm, but his mother is from New York City, so he said he’s as comfortable in a saddle as he is in a taxi.


Appropriations associates find love across party lines: Megan Milam and Tate Rosenbusch recently got engaged after a memorable weekend. Milam, an appropriations associate for Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), and Rosenbusch, an appropriations associate for Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.), met playing on the Congressional Flag Football team a few years ago.

Rosenbusch proposed to Milam on her birthday, hiding the ring in the pocket of a new wool coat he bought her. “It took me completely by surprise — I had absolutely no idea,” Milam said.

The two went to Orlando for a three-day weekend to celebrate and ended up spending six hours in the ER after Rosenbusch got a bad case of food poisoning. “It definitely wasn’t quite the weekend we had planned,” Milam said.

The couple hasn’t made any wedding plans yet, but is working on figuring out a wedding and honeymoon around the congressional calendar.

“Everyone always told us we’d better not break up because hearings and markups would be very awkward, so thankfully we don’t have to worry about that anymore,” Milam joked.


Pink toga stymies love, but not for long, as Peters aide weds elementary school teacher: Kevin Hrit, constituent services coordinator for Rep.

Gary Peters (D-Mich.), married Lisa Tarczynski, a second-grade teacher from Redford, Mich., on July 11.

Hrit and Tarczynski first met at a pink party Hrit’s fraternity was hosting while the two were both students at Michigan State University. Hrit was wearing a pink toga and asked Tarczynski out, and she promptly turned him down. A month later, Tarczynski decided to ask Hrit on a date. After two and a half years of dating, on Dec. 18, 2008, Hrit took Tarczynski on a date in downtown Rochester during a snowstorm. He proposed under the streetlights.

The two married at Tanglewood Golf Club in South Lyon, Mich., and currently reside in Berkley, Mich.