Herb’s New Agriculture Pick Takes Root

Posted January 23, 2004 at 3:39pm

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) has tapped veteran Capitol Hill agriculture expert Phil Karsting to be his new legislative assistant in his Washington office.

Karsting, who returns to public policy work after a stint in the private sector, will now handle federal policy concerning agriculture, conservation, food safety and the environment for Kohl, the ranking member on the Senate’s Appropriations subcommittee on Agriculture, rural development and related agencies.

“Dairy policy, food safety, agricultural trade and conservation are among the issues most important to me, and to the success of our state’s farmers, and Phil’s expertise will be invaluable as we work to further those priorities,” Kohl said in a statement.

Karsting began his career in the Senate in 1985 in the office of then-Sen. James Exon (D-Neb.) and continued with the Budget Committee, under Exon, as a senior analyst for agriculture. He holds a bachelor’s in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Centennial State Senator Snags Golden State Spinner. Sen Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) announced earlier this month the selection of Angela de Rocha as his new communications director.

A California native, de Rocha is the former editorial page editor of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and the Greeley Tribune. She is also a Hill veteran who has

worked for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-

Texas) as a press secretary and senior writer and for Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) as communications director for the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

De Rocha replaces former Communications Director Dick Wadhams, who left Allard’s office earlier this month to become campaign manager for South Dakota Republican Senate candidate John Thune.

Rush to Hire. As Congress got back to work last week, five staffers in Rep. Rush Holt’s (D-N.J.) office were getting settled into their new positions.

Joining the Garden State Member’s office as a full-time Congressional science fellow is Martin Sokoloski. Sokoloski, whose research interests include science, technology, aeronautics and space, formerly worked for NASA, the University of Maryland and the Energy Department. He has also chaired the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers committee on transportation policy and was selected to be a member of President Ronald Reagan’s national commission on superconductivity.

Sokoloski is a 1959 graduate of Bucknell University who went on to earn a master’s from Bucknell in mathematics and a doctorate in physics from Catholic University of America.

Taking on the role of legislative assistant for Holt is Jennifer Surovy, 24. A former legislative assistant/legislative correspondent and staff assistant for Holt, Surovy will now handle issues such as postal reform, animal rights and women’s issues. She will also handle the management of the office’s constituent mail system. Surovy is a graduate of Ohio University and hails from Mentor, Ohio.

Lesley Muldoon joins the office as Holt’s new executive assistant. A former legislative correspondent, staff assistant and intern for Holt, Muldoon’s new duties will include overseeing staff assistants and interns and handling various legislative issues. The 22-year-old New Jersey native graduated from the University of Maryland in December 2002.

Stepping up the ladder from staff assistant to legislative correspondent is 23-year-old Matt Dennis. Dennis, who now handles legislative mail for defense, Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, taxes and trade issues, has been part of Holt’s team since June 2003. The Woodbridge, Va., native graduated in May from the University of Virginia.

Rounding out Holt’s staff changes is Chris Gaston, who was recently tapped as the office’s newest staff assistant. Gaston, 21, has been an office intern since January 2003. The Pennington, N.J., native will graduate in May from George Washington University with a degree in political science.