Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today announced that his chief of staff, Barry Jackson, will step aside for a new role in the office.
Mike Sommers, who has served deputy chief of staff for leadership operations since last year, will become chief of staff, while Jackson will become a senior counselor to the Speaker.
Boehner said the decision comes as Congress faces an epic lame-duck session. Jackson will focus all his efforts on strategic planning, while Sommers will take over responsibility for the office’s day-to-day operations, according to a statement.
“As I noted last month, the decisions that lie ahead this year and early next year will have huge implications for our economy and the future of our country,” Boehner said in the statement. “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.”
Jackson has been a fixture of the Washington, D.C., political scene for some two decades and has drawn some enemies. His curt style in dealing with some Members of the Republican Conference has rubbed some of them the wrong way.
He ran Boehner’s first Congressional campaign in 1990 and was his chief of staff from 1991 until 2001, when he became a deputy to Karl Rove, senior adviser to then-President George W. Bush. When Rove stepped down in 2007, Jackson became Bush’s senior adviser.
He returned to Boehner’s office in 2010, when the Ohio Republican’s longtime chief of staff Paula Nowakowski died.
Sommers has held several positions in Boehner’s personal office and in the Bush White House.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.