Heard on the Hill

Schumer Builds Press Team for Leader’s Office

Minority leader mixes new and old in communications shop

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, right, and Communications Director Matt House have a new team for 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off a media whirlwind on his first day as Senate minority leader, Sen. Charles E. Schumer is rolling out his expanded press operation.

The constantly media-conscious New York Democrat is bringing some new faces to the Senate Democratic war room, with other longtime aides taking new or expanded roles.

Elizabeth Shappell, who previously worked as communications director for the Correct the Record group that supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s White House bid and fired a constant barrage of attacks on now President-elect Donald Trump, will be deputy communications director, focusing on strategic planning.

Latino Victory Project Advocacy and Communications Director Pili Tobar is entering the Schumer office as director of Hispanic media, which was a key position in the communications operation of now-retired Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

Alexandria Phillips, who had been working in the press shop of the Brooklyn-based Clinton campaign, comes aboard as director of surrogates and media affairs. Schumer’s office told Roll Call that Phillips will work not only with Democratic senators but also with outside supporters on promoting caucus messaging.

There are some familiar Capitol faces, too.

Matt House, Schumer’s communications director, will lead the operation.

“This expanded communications team will work day in and day out to deliver a sharp, bold economic message on behalf of Senate Democrats,” House said.

Justin Goodman, who has been with the Schumer-led Democratic Policy and Communications Center, takes the role of national press secretary for the New Yorker. Lindsay Kryzak, a long time aide to Schumer, will be digital director.

In addition, Dan Yoken has been tapped to be the Schumer shop’s rapid response director. He stays on with the new minority leader having previously worked for Reid.

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