Sutton’s Staff

Posted January 30, 2007 at 4:24pm

Freshman Rep. Betty Sutton’s (D-Ohio) new staff members are up and ready to go. [IMGCAP(1)]

Anne Caprara, 27, will serve Sutton as her chief of staff. In an e-mail she describes her responsibilities in one word: “everything.” It is unclear whether Caprara meant to refer to everything related to the office or everything under the sun.

Before becoming Sutton’s top aide, Caprara served as the deputy research director at EMILY’s List since 2003. From 2001 to 2003 she was the research director at Cassidy & Associates, and from 2000 to 2001 she was a paralegal at Dechert.

Caprara, who recently adopted a retired racing greyhound, earned her bachelor’s degree in communications, legal institutions, economics and government from American University in 2001 and a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University in 2003. She is from Radnor, Pa.

Adri Jayaratne, 29, joins Sutton’s team as her legislative director and rules associate.

Before joining the office, Jayaratne was senior legislative assistant for Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.) since 2003 and a legislative assistant for then-Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.) from 1999 to 2003. [IMGCAP(2)]

A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., Jayaratne earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1999 and a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University in 2005.

Handling the press in the office is Linden Zakula, 23, who will serve as press secretary.

Zakula worked as the deputy press secretary to then-Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) since June. Prior to that, he worked on the staff and as a research assistant for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission from 2005 to 2006.

“I play the violin and performed in the White House in December of 1994,” Zakula wrote in an e-mail.

An honors graduate in communication studies from Gustavus Adolphus College, Zakula is from Hibbing, Minn.

Esther Oh, 28, will serve as a legislative assistant and budget associate in the office.

While Oh said this is her first real job on the Hill, she did intern for Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) in 2005.

The eighth-grade spelling bee champion graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned a law degree from The George Washington University in 2006. She is from Dublin, Ohio.

Eric Delaney, 27, joins the office as a legislative assistant. The Philadelphia native graduated from the State University

of New York at Binghamton with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in economics in 2001.

Also coming to the office as a legislative assistant is Ian Mandel, 23. He formerly worked as a political research assistant for EMILY’s List since May.

A 2006 graduate of Hamilton College, Mandel was editor in chief of his college paper. He said he has a lot of friends from the opposite side of the aisle, or should we say, an overabundance.

“Too many of my friends (probably a result of where I went to college) are Republicans,” the Nyack, N.Y., native wrote in an e-mail.

Angela Schoonover, 27, will work as the office manager and scheduler. Schoonover said she will be responsible for “managing the chaos.”

Prior to starting with Sutton, Schoonover worked as the campaign manager for Will Cobb’s campaign for the Ward 6 City Council seat in Washington, D.C., from August through Election Day. Before that she was a business litigation associate at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice from 2004 to 2006. She also worked as a summer associate for the firm in 2003.

Perhaps most impressively, Schoonover wrote in an e-mail that she used to be the governor of Pennsylvania. Or more accurately, she said she “served as Youth Governor of Pennsylvania” at a 1997 YMCA Youth & Government program.

Schoonover earned her bachelor’s degree in communications, legal institutions, economics and government from American University in 2001 and a law degree from Washington & Lee University in 2004. The former governor is from Harrisburg, Pa.

Finally, Tony Baker, 24, will work as a staff assistant in the office. Baker previously worked as a finance assistant, deputy field director and webmaster for Betty Sutton for Congress.

A 2004 graduate in political science from John Carroll University, Baker noted in an e-mail that he “went to the same college as Tim Russert.” Baker is from Brunswick, Ohio.

“I feel fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented staff to serve the 13th district of Ohio,” Sutton said in a statement. “Their diverse backgrounds and youthful energy promise to translate into a productive 110th Congress for Ohioans and Americans.”

New Chief for McHenry. Jon Causey, 33, has been promoted to become the top aide to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). The Liberty, N.C., native, who previously served as administrative assistant and legislative director in the office since 2005, will now work as McHenry’s chief of staff.

“Jon’s leadership and tireless work ethic set a high water mark in our office,” McHenry said in a statement, “and his unparalleled understanding of both policy and politics is a driving force, pushing forward our conservative agenda.”

Before joining McHenry’s office, Causey worked as a legislative assistant for Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) from 2002 to 2005. From 2001 to 2002, he was a legislative correspondent for then-Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). He also worked as an analyst for Rasmussen Research from 2000 to 2001 and as a staff assistant for Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) from 1999 to 2000.

Causey earned his undergraduate degree in exercise physiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in exercise and sports science from Appalachian State University.

Changes at the Conference. The Senate Republican Conference has recently finalized its staff additions.

Ryan Loskarn, 29, will be the communications director for the Conference.

Prior to making the move, Loskarn worked since 2003 as the communications director for Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). From 2001 to 2003 he worked as the deputy press secretary for then-House Rules Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.), and from 2000 to 2001 he worked as a junior legislative assistant for Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.).

Loskarn graduated from Tulane University with a degree in history and political science in 2000. He is from Sykesville, Md.

Acting as press secretary and communications counsel for the Conference is Andy Chasin, 31.

Before joining the Conference, Chasin worked as the communications director for Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-Ariz.) successful re-election campaign. Prior to that, he worked as an attorney for Baker and Hostetler from 2002 to 2004 and as the deputy press secretary for former Arizona Gov. Jane Dee Hull (R) from 1997 to 1999.

A Phoenix native, Chasin earned his undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College in 1997 and a law degree from Stanford University in 2002.

Steven Duffield, 36, joins the Conference as its policy director and chief counsel.

Before assuming his new post, Duffield was the deputy policy director and chief counsel for the Senate Republican Policy Committee since June and served as a judiciary policy analyst and counsel for the committee since 2003. From 2001 to 2003, he practiced constitutional law for Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. He also worked as a judicial clerk for the Alaska Supreme Court from 1999 to 2000.

The Vista, Calif., native earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in 1992 and his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1999.

Brooke Jones Bacak, 27, will work as deputy policy director and counsel to the Conference.

Previously, Bacak worked as a judicial policy analyst and counsel to the Senate Republican Policy Committee since June. From 2005 to 2006, she worked for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on administrative oversight and the courts as a legislative counsel. She also has worked as a law clerk in the Alabama governor’s legal office and in Alabama’s attorney general’s office.

A 2001 graduate in public relations from Auburn University, Bacak earned a law degree from the University of Alabama in 2005. She is from Birmingham, Ala.

Becoming senior writer for the Conference is Mary Katherine Ascik, 24.

Ascik previously worked as a speechwriter for the House Republican Conference from 2005 to 2006 and was a presidential writer in the White House in 2005. From 2003 to 2005, she worked as a staff assistant and later a press assistant in the Office of the House Majority Leader.

From Asheville, N.C., Ascik earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dallas in 2003.

Leigh Hightower, 27, will work as director of operations for the Conference.

Before accepting the new gig, Hightower worked for former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) since 2001 as, at various times, a senior legislative assistant, legislative assistant, legislative correspondent and staff assistant.

From Storrs, Conn., Hightower earned her undergraduate degree from Mary Washington College in 2001.

Finally, Michael Bleicher, 22, will work for the Conference as a press assistant. He previously worked for the Conference as a staff assistant since September. From 2005 to 2006, he was a legislative fellow at the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

A native of Staten Island, N.Y., Bleicher earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Queens College of the City University of New York in 2005.

As Roll Call reported in December, Ron Bonjean joined the Conference as its chief of staff.

“Each of these individuals brings the experience we will need to effectively communicate our vision for this country with the American people,” Senate Republican Conference Chairman Jon Kyl (Ariz.) said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the conference team to help craft and drive a successful message strategy that will help us win back the majority.”