Switching Secretaries

Posted February 28, 2003 at 4:04pm

Rep. Mike Castle’s (R-Del.) office will be switching press secretaries when current Press Secretary Elizabeth Wenk moves to the office of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jonathan Dean joins the office.

Wenk has worked with Castle in a variety of positions including deputy press secretary and campaign manager since 1997. Wenk received her bachelor’s in mass communication and political science from the University of Delaware.

Dean has spent the past nine years working for then-Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.). The 31-year-old received his bachelor’s in political science from Villanova University.

Sarah Rittling has also joined Castle’s staff. Rittling is the new legislative assistant managing Castle’s work as chairman of the House Education and the Workforce subcommittee on education reform. She previously worked for Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) as a legislative assistant and deputy press secretary. Rittling holds a bachelor’s in political studies and a law degree from Syracuse University.

Rittling replaces Kara Haas, who now works as a professional staff member for the House Science subcommittee on research. The Drexel University graduate received her bachelor’s in history and politics.

Science Shakeup. There are lots of advances in the House Science Committee. Eric Webster was promoted from professional staff member to staff director of the subcommittee on environment, technology and standards. He has worked with the committee since February 2001. Prior to that he worked as legislative director to Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.) from 1997 to 2001 and as a legislative assistant from 1993 to 1997 for Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.). Webster received his bachelor’s in European history from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., in 1991 and his master’s in European studies from Washington University in 1993.

Webster is replacing Peter Rooney, who is becoming the staff director for the subcommittee on research. Rooney steps in for Sharon Hayes, who left last year to join the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The Forum on Technology and Innovation was founded by Rooney, and he ran it as the executive director. Before founding the forum, he worked as program officer at the National Academy of Sciences. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at San Diego.

Elizabeth Grossman has also joined the committee. The new professional staff member has spent the past six years working for the National Academy of Sciences on a variety of studies on science, technology and public policy. Grossman holds a bachelor’s in physics and mathematics from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in computational physics from the University of Chicago.

Eli Hopson joins the subcommittee on energy as a professional staff member after completing his detail as the subcommittee’s presidential management intern. In 2001, Hopson received a master’s in environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hopson’s bachelor’s in environmental engineering, along with a minor in music, is also from MIT.

Porter’s People. Freshman Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) has finalized his new Capitol Hill staff. Windsor Freemeyer is Porter’s chief of staff. She has worked in the the offices of then-Sen. Hank Brown (R-Colo.), Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.), and Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and has served as chief of staff for Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah). Freemeyer graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Mike McEleney’s experience with the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and time spent as senior legislative assistant to Rep. Butch Otter (R-Idaho) will serve him well in his new capacity as legislative director. The Jacksonville, Fla., native developed his love of the Beltway while attending college at both Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities.

Traci Scott leaves behind television journalism to become Porter’s press secretary. She spent the past three years working as a general assignment reporter for KLAS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas. Scott worked in the Washington bureau of CBS News for 11 years before joining KLAS. Scott attended both Howard and George Washington universities in D.C.

Carin Nersesian and Jody Garner will serve as Porter’s legislative assistants. Nersesian, an Indiana University graduate, has previous Hill experience working as a legislative aide to both Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.). Nersesian graduated from Indiana University. University of California at Davis alumna Garner worked most recently on the Resources Committee and for Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.).

Polly Walker is Porter’s executive assistant. Walker is well-versed in working on the Hill, having served as a staff assistant for Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.) and then as executive assistant for former Rep. Ed Bryant (R-Tenn.). Walker hails from Memphis, Tenn., and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee.

Stephen Martinko of Toledo, Ohio, is Porter’s new legislative aide. A recent Brown University graduate, he has served as staff assistant to Nevada Rep. Jim Gibbons (R).

Ryan Temme will round out the staff as Porter’s staff assistant. The D.C. native is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia.