Moving Mitchell. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) recently gave the nod to longtime State Director Pete Mitchell to become chief of staff. He replaces Sheila Nix, who will return home to work for Blair Hull’s (D) Senate campaign in Illinois.
The 51-year-old Mitchell has worked for Nelson for the past eight years, during his rise in Sunshine State politics. He will divide his time between Florida and Washington, D.C.
Davis’ Dandies. As Rep. Jim Davis’ (D-Fla.) office undergoes a reorganization, it has acquired a onetime aide to the administration of then-Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles (D).
Karl Koch, former chief of staff to Lawton Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay (D), has joined Davis’ team as chief of staff.
A native of the Tampa Bay area, Koch most recently worked as the Dewey Square Group’s vice president of operations in the Southeast. Koch is a graduate of the University of South Florida and the Stetson University College of Law.
Veteran Legislative Director Tricia Barrentine moves up a notch to deputy chief of staff. Barrentine, also of the Tampa Bay area, earlier worked for Davis as a legislative assistant when he was in the Florida state House.
She has also served stints in the offices of former Florida state Rep. Cynthia Chestnut (D), as well as Rep. Ralph Hall (D-Texas) and then-Democratic Rep. Kent Hance (Texas).
An alumna of the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she majored in political science, Barrentine went on to earn a master’s in legislative affairs from George Washington University.
After spending the 2002 election cycle working as a polling analyst for the national Democratic polling firm Hamilton Beattie and Staff, Pat Collier comes aboard as legislative assistant in charge of budget, Social Security and tax issues, among others.
A 2000 graduate of the University of Virginia, Collier holds a bachelor’s in government. He has also worked at Mongo & Associates.
New Legislative Correspondent Erika Smith spent her college years at Florida State University in the office of Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), eventually rising from intern to assistant constituent advocate.
After earning a bachelor’s in international relations and political science in 2002, Smith interned for Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.).
Intern Steve Thomas has been promoted to staff assistant. A member of the University of South Carolina’s class of 2002, Thomas holds a bachelor’s in business administration.
Snowe-ing Staff. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) has acquired four new aides and promoted another.
After a two-year stint as legislative assistant to Snowe, Carolyn Holmes takes over as legislative director, with key responsibility for education, labor, welfare reform, and women and children’s issues.
Holmes has also served as legislative assistant to Rep. Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.). She handled Kelly’s work as chairwoman of the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues.
Hailing from Stony Brook, N.Y., Holmes earned a bachelor’s in political science from Gettysburg College.
New Senior Tax Policy Adviser Wes Coulam will cover Snowe’s Finance Committee work, including tax and budget issues.
He comes to the Pine Tree State Senator’s office after tours of duty at Deloitte & Touche LLP and as a legislative assistant to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
A native of Salt Lake City, Coulam holds a bachelor’s in business management from the University of Maryland. He later went on to receive a master’s in business administration from George Washington University.
Elizabeth Wenk, former spinner for Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), has been tapped to be press secretary.
Wenk, who earlier worked as both communications director and campaign manager for Castle, is currently pursuing a master’s in political management from George Washington University. Originally from Exton, Pa., Wenk holds a bachelor’s in political science and communications from the University of Delaware.
Philip Maggi arrives in the office as legislative assistant in charge of communications and technology issues for the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, as well as judiciary and banking issues.
Formerly of Infotech Strategies Inc., Maggi has also worked as legislative assistant for Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.).
The Nutmeg State native holds a bachelor’s in communication studies and political science from Northeastern University, a master’s in political communication from Emerson College and a law degree from the John Marshall School of Law.
Finally, Chris Ingram has joined as legislative assistant for trade and foreign policy issues. Previously of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on trade, Ingram hails from Troy, Ala. After earning a bachelor’s in international studies from Troy State University, he went on to receive a master’s in international economic policy from American University.