Announcements - January 20, 2009


Kurt Bardella is now press secretary for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and also for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), ranking member of the committee.

Last Friday, Bardella began in his new position. “It’s been a welcome change,” he said. “Mr. Issa is an incredibly engaged, proactive member of Congress, in a committee at the center of issues moving forward.”

Bardella, who didn’t attend college, said he would never encourage anyone not to go to college. “An odd conflict led me to where I am right now,” he said. “It was a lot of being in the right place at the right time. I’m fortunate enough to have great people around me who took a chance on me and put me in a place to succeed.”

Previously, Bardella worked for Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.). He also worked for Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) as a press secretary, and before that in the media at  a CBS affiliate.

“I’m fortunate enough that my job happens to be my hobby,” he said.


• Lawrence Brady is taking over as staff director. He previously served on the committee as a senior policy adviser, and as staff director of the subcommittee on Energy and Resources that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) chaired from 2005-06.

• John Cuaderes is now deputy staff director. He has served on the committee as a senior policy adviser in the 110th Congress, and before that as staff director for the Subcommittee on Federalism and the Census. He has 22 years’ experience in the government and political affairs arena.

• As chief counsel for oversight and investigation, Jennifer Safavian will return to manage a team of attorneys and investigators responsible for identifying waste, fraud and abuse. She’s served on the committee since 2003.

• Charles Phillips will be responsible for directing the legislative and policy agenda for the committee as chief counsel for policy. He has previously served as a special counsel to the House Select Committee on Hurricane Katrina.

• Frederick Hill is now the director of communications. He has been a staff member for Issa since 2001.

• The House Democratic Caucus confirmed Rep. Jim McDermottJames (Jim) Adelbert McDermottPromoting the voice of Korean Americans Lobbying World Dem lawmaker: Israel's accusations start of 'war on the American government' MORE (D-Wash.) as chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support for another two-year term. In addition, Rep. McDermott was tapped for the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. This would put him in the center of debate on international trade issues.

• Ray Sass left his position as the chief of staff to the assistant secretary for planning and evaluation for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Previously, Sass worked as a speechwriter for HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt for two years. Sass is local in the area and is looking to stay on Capitol Hill in global health issues.



• Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and wife Lisa welcomed Molly Hannah Sherman on Jan. 14 at 11:35 p.m. Molly is 20.5 inches and weighs in at 7 pounds, 15.6 ounces. According to Sherman, mother and daughter are doing splendidly and father is expected to recover.

• Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) and wife the Rev. Betsy Singleton Snyder, along with 2-year-old son Penn, welcomed triplets Aubrey, Wyatt and Sullivan on Dec. 9. “The boys came home last Monday,” Snyder said. “They are all doing very well, and at 2 pounds above their birth weight, we’re very pleased.”


Zara Van der Heide, 4, daughter of Jennifer, chief of staff for Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), received her yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do this month. She is planning on having a future in Democratic politics as well as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Zara turns 5 tomorrow and plans to have a snow-themed birthday party, complete with a snowball contest.

Zara says President Obama will “save the world.”


Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.)
Jan. 22, 1962 — age 47

Former Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)
Jan. 22, 1953 — age 56

Former Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.)
Jan. 22, 1943 — age 66

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Democrats suggest EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions rollback Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs MORE (D-Del.)
Jan. 23, 1947 — age 62

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
Jan. 23, 1924 — age 85

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.)
Jan. 24, 1949 — age 60

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.)
Jan. 24, 1951 — age 58

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.)
Jan. 25, 1937 — age 72

Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: Trump moves forward with rule on California drilling | House panel advances bill that resumes participation in Paris climate fund | Perry pressed on 'environmental justice' | 2020 Dem proposes climate corps Trump administration moves forward with final rule to allow new California drilling Overnight Energy: Interior chief says climate response falls on Congress | Bernhardt insists officials will complete offshore drilling plans | Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama landfill pollution rules MORE (D-Calif.)
Jan. 26, 1958 — age 51

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
Jan. 26, 1965 — age 44

Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.)
Jan. 26, 1951 — age 58

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.)
Jan. 27, 1943 — age 66

Former Rep Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.)
Jan. 27, 1949 — age 60

Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio)
Jan. 27, 1961 — age 48