By Molly K. Hooper - 06/07/12 06:17 PM EDT
House Speaker John Boehner's chief of staff, Barry Jackson, is taking on a new role as senior counselor to the Speaker and handing the day-to-day management of the office to veteran Boehner aide Mike Sommers.
Though Sommers will run the Speaker’s office, Jackson will remain intimately involved, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Jackson ran Boehner’s first campaign for Congress in 1990 and agreed to return to Capitol Hill in 2010 after the sudden death of Boehner’s respected longtime chief of staff, Paula Nowakowski.
At the time, Jackson told Boehner that he “didn’t envision staying in the chief of staff role forever,” according to a source close to the Boehner operation.
Jackson will change his focus to the long-term strategic planning with an eye on the lame-duck session and the impending “fiscal cliff” of spending cuts and tax increases for 2013.
“This transition is about preparing fully for the responsibilities ahead, even as we stay focused on the week-to-week House agenda of removing government barriers to job creation," Boehner said in a statement.
Jackson, a former White House aide, served as Boehner’s chief of staff for a decade and ran the Contract with America project for Republicans in 1994.
Sommers has worn many hats on Team Boehner and is respected by members in both parties.
The Miami University grad has managed the Speaker’s floor operations since January 2011. Sommers also has served as Boehner’s personal office chief of staff, policy director for then-GOP Leader Boehner and made a brief detour to the White House in 2005 as a special assistant on the National Economic Council.