Carney’s Crew

Posted February 6, 2007 at 6:26pm

Freshman Rep. Christopher Carney (D-Pa.) has finalized his staff.

April Beeman Metwalli, 31, serves as the office’s first chief of staff. She previously worked on Carney’s campaign as a senior adviser. [IMGCAP(2)]

Prior to helping propel Carney to Congress, Metwalli was the regional director for the Oklahoma/Arkansas Alzheimer’s Association from 2001 to 2005. In 2000, she worked as a public affairs specialist for the National Center for Family Literacy, and in 1998 she worked as a press secretary on now-Sen. Bob Casey’s (D-Pa.) failed Congressional campaign.

From Kingsley, Pa., Metwalli earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and communication from Elizabethtown College in 1997 and a law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2000.

Serving as legislative director in the office is Jeffrey Gabriel Jr.

Prior to joining the office, Gabriel, 37, worked as legislative counsel to the National Marine Manufacturers Association from 2003 to 2006. From 1999 to 2001, he worked as a consultant to Washington Management Group, and from 1995 to 1999 he worked as floor monitor and a legislative aide to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).

Gabriel, who said he is a “fly fishing and hunting enthusiast,” earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from LaSalle University in 1991 and a master’s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University in 1996. The Chinchilla, Pa., native also earned a law degree from George Mason University in 2003.

Rebecca Gale, 26, will be the voice of the office as its communications director. [IMGCAP(1)]

Before joining the team, Gale worked as communications director for Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) since 2005. She

also worked in Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D-Texas) office from 2002 to 2005.

From Cincinnati, Gale earned her undergraduate degree in 2002 from the Miami University of Ohio. She expects to receive a master’s degree in political communications from Johns Hopkins University this fall.

Joseph Toth, 26, will serve as scheduler and legislative correspondent in the office.

As a noncommissioned officer in the Pennsylvania National Guard, a role he still maintains, Toth served on active duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom as security for the Iraq Survey Group. He also once owned an online wholesale company.

From Clarks Summit, Pa., Toth earned his bachelor’s degree in American studies from The Pennsylvania State University in August.

Aaron Davis, 27, is serving as a legislative assistant in the office. In that role he said he will handle primarily “Homeland Security Committee-related work.”

Since 2002, Davis worked as a systems administrator and then a legislative assistant for Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). Before that, he was a staff assistant and systems administrator for former Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Mich.) in 2002. He also interned for DeFazio from 2001 to 2002.

A 2002 graduate in government and politics of the University of Maryland, Davis is originally from Philadelphia.

Michael Martirone, 22, is a legislative correspondent for Carney.

Martirone previously worked as a field organizer for Carney for Congress. Before that, he was an intern for Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.). He also worked as a field organizer for Corzine for Governor, as a field representative for the Kerry/Edwards campaign, as a campaign manager for a New Jersey state Senate candidate, and as an intern for Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.).

Martirone sees his political career so far as a steppingstone to much larger aspirations.

“When I was in the third grade my great-uncle gave me an old Life magazine which was a tribute to President Kennedy from 1963,” he wrote in an e-mail. “I was so inspired by his inaugural speech that ever since then in 1992 I have wanted to be President of the United States.”

No matter how far this would-be president goes, however, he said he will always keep New Jersey close by.

“Because of my ‘Jersey Shore’ roots, wherever I go, whether it is on vacation, campaigning … I always carry a jar of my ‘front yard’ beach sand with me,” he said. As of right now, his front yard beach sand is “currently on [his] desk.”

A proud native of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., Martirone earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Finally, Lisa Wiswell, 22, joins the office as a staff assistant. She previously worked as office manager for Carney for Congress in the fall of 2006.

From Tunkhannock, Pa., Wiswell earned a bachelor’s degree in modern American history from Syracuse University last May.

Lautenberg’s Moves. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) recently announced some staff changes in his office.

Dan Katz, 38, has been promoted to the office’s top position: chief of staff. Katz replaces Timothy Yehl, who leaves Lautenberg’s office to become the senior vice president and co-general manager of the MWW Group, a New Jersey-based public affairs firm with an office in Washington, D.C.

Speaking to Katz’s promotion, Lautenberg said in a statement: “Dan has been a longtime member of my team. I know him well and I, along with the rest of the people in the office are enthusiastic about his new role as chief of staff.”

In the statement, Lautenberg also thanked Yehl for his years of service.

“I thank Tim for his service to my office and the people of New Jersey and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Katz has a long career history with Lautenberg that started back in 1997 when he was a legislative assistant for the Senator until 1998. From 1998 to 1999, he was counsel to the Senate Budget Committee, of which Lautenberg was ranking member. From 1999 to 2000, Katz served as legislative director for Lautenberg, and in 2002 he ran Lautenberg’s transition back to the Senate. Since 2003, he has served as chief counsel for his longtime boss.

Katz also worked as the legislative director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State from 2001 to 2002.

From Clark, N.J., Katz earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in 1990. He earned a law degree from the same institution in 1993.

Doug Mehan, 30, also is moving up in the office, assuming the position of legislative director. Mehan previously served as legislative assistant and counsel to Lautenberg since 2005.

A native of Basking Ridge, N.J., Mehan graduated from Boston College in 1998 and earned a law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2002.

In an e-mail, Mehan wrote that he has “traveled to all 50 states — [the] last one [being] Hawaii in August 2006.”

A Team Player. Ted Clark, 30, is leaving the House Ways and Means Committee to lead THEO, an independent IT firm with offices in Virginia and Washington, D.C. Clark had worked as information technology director for the committee since 2005.

Prior to joining the committee, he worked as the information systems manager for then-Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) from 2003 to 2005. From 2000 to 2003, he was the systems manager, correspondence manager and assistant to the operations director to Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio).

In 2000, Clark graduated from Indiana University at Bloomington with a degree in political science, and in 2002 he received a Federal Enterprise Architecture Certification. In 2005, he earned an executive master’s degree in information science from The George Washington University School of Business. He also received the General Service Administration’s CIO University Certification.

Clark wrote in an e-mail that he set “a standard for doing what other’s viewed impossible at an early age.” What did Clark do that was so remarkable?

“In 8th grade,” he said, “[I] accepted a dare to play girls’ field hockey at a ‘equal opportunity’ private school.”

While the school initially denied his request, Clark persisted and ultimately succeeded in his quest, albeit with certain stipulations.

“After a letter to the board, the school allowed me to play on the condition that I wear the team uniform, a pleated skirt, which I did over a pair of Umbro shorts.”

This transformational experience was instrumental in teaching a young Clark much about the world.

“Being from a family of all boys, my experience as the only male in a group of 30-plus females was one of the most educational experiences, since ‘as one of the team’ I got to learn what girls were like when no boys were around.”

Clark is from Toledo, Ohio.

Running Start. Matthew Sandgren, 33, has been promoted by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Most recently a legislative assistant in Hatch’s personal office, Sandgren will now serve as counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Hatch is the ranking member for the subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights.

“Matt is a very valuable part of my team, a real credit to the people of Utah,” Hatch said in a statement. “He has a wealth of experience, and I was eager to promote him to my judiciary committee staff. He’s a committed public servant, and I anticipate more great work from him for Utah and this country.”

Sandgren also served as a legislative aide in Hatch’s personal office from 2004 to 2005 and a legislative correspondent in the office from 2003 to 2004.

A native of Provo, Utah, Sandgren is a marathon runner who said his best time is 3 hours and 32 minutes. Just in case you were curious and wanted to compare Sandgren to your favorite celebrities, the rapper Diddy famously ran the New York City Marathon in 4 hours and 14 minutes, while talk-show host and media mogul extraordinaire Oprah Winfrey clocked in the Marine Corps Marathon at 4 hours and 29 minutes.

Sandgren earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in 1998. He also earned a law degree from The University of Tulsa in 2002 and a master of laws degree from The George Washington University in 2003.