Lewis’ Moves

Posted March 30, 2007 at 4:36pm

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) has re-arranged his D.C. office, adding three new staffers and promoting a fourth. [IMGCAP(1)]

Jamila Thompson is new to the office as senior legislative assistant. She previously worked as a legislative assistant for Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). Prior to taking that job in 2001, she participated in nonprofit work.

A native of D.C., Thompson earned her undergraduate degree in history with international relations and French from Goucher College in Baltimore.

Also new to the office is Special Assistant Nkena Epps, 28. Prior to joining Lewis’ team, Epps worked as a policy assistant for Kilpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis. Before that, she was the executive assistant to the president and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. She also worked as the executive secretary to the executive vice president for academic affairs at The George Washington University.

Epps, a D.C. native, earned her undergraduate degree in religious studies from Hampton University in Hampton, Va.

Rounding out the new staff additions is David Machak, 25. He will work as a legislative correspondent in the office.

Machak, who had been working for Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) since 2004, earned his bachelor’s degree from Denison University in 2003. The Niles, Ohio, native notes in an e-mail that he was recently married in Florence, Italy. Congratulazoni! [IMGCAP(2)]

Finally, Jesse Uman, 23, has been promoted to staff assistant and junior legislative assistant. He previously worked as a paid intern in the office.

From Seattle, Uman earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2006. He is currently working toward a master’s degree in international affairs at The George Washington University.

Movement at Commerce. Ranking member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has promoted four staffers and and hired three for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Republican staff.

Ken Nahigian, 35, has been made deputy staff director, adding to his role as chief counsel for the committee. He has also worked for the committee as senior counsel.

Prior to joining the committee, Nahigian worked for Jones Day as an attorney in the issues and appeals division. He also worked as a senior law clerk to Judge Donald Ivers on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

From Cleveland, Nahigian earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio and his law degree from Capital Law School.

Also moving up at the committee is Paul Nagle, 33. Nagle, who previously worked as counsel for the committee since 2005, will now work as senior counsel.

Before coming to the Hill, Nagle worked as an attorney-adviser at the Federal Communications Commission from 2003 to 2005. From 1999 to 2003, he worked as an associate attorney at Wilkinson Barker Knauer.

Nagle earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland in 1996 and his law degree from Catholic University in 1999. He is from Columbia, Md.

Chris Bertram, 43, is also on the receiving end of a promotion. Having served as staff director for the subcommittee on surface transportation and Merchant Marine infrastructure, safety and security since 2003, Bertram will now serve as senior budget adviser and professional staff member for aviation.

Prior to joining the committee, Bertram worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as assistant administrator for financial services and chief financial officer from 2001 to 2003. He also worked as a senior aide with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 1995 to 2001 and for the Office of Management and Budget from 1990 to 1995.

A 1985 history graduate from Trinity University, Bertram earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University in 1988.

New to the committee is Elizabeth McDonnell, 29. She will work as a professional staff member for the subcommittee on surface transportation and Merchant Marine infrastructure, safety and security. Prior to coming aboard, McDonnell worked as a legislative assistant for Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) since 2001.

A 1999 biology graduate of the University of Oregon, McDonnell is from Portland.

Michael Conathan, 34, is new as a professional staff member for the subcommittee on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries and Coast Guard.

Before assuming his new post, Conathan was a Sea Grant Fellow for the subcommittee since 2006. Prior to that, he worked as a research assistant in the Department of Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island from 2003 to 2005. In 2005, he worked as a teaching assistant in the humanities for the Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport.

Perhaps most interesting, Conathan writes in an e-mail that “while in [Los Angeles], I won $1,800 of Ben Stein’s money on [the Comedy Central game show] ‘Win Ben Stein’s Money.’”

Conathan earned his undergraduate degree in English literature from Georgetown University in 1994 and a master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island in 2005. He is from Centerville, Mass.

Peter Phipps has come aboard as a professional staff member for the subcommittee on consumer affairs, insurance and automotive safety.

Previously, Phipps, 43, worked for Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) as a legislative assistant since 2002. Before that, he was a speechwriter for Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) from 1999 to 2002. From 1985 to 1999, he worked for then-Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.), rising to the role of legislative assistant.

The Goffstown, N.H., native earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and political science from Syracuse University in 1985.

Finally, moving from press assistant to press secretary is Brian Eaton. The 22-year-old, who joined the committee in July 2006, interned for Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) immediately upon graduating college.

From Waterford, Pa., Eaton graduated from Penn State University with a degree in journalism.

Wu-hoo! Portia Wu, 36, is moving up in the world. Formerly the senior labor and pensions counsel on Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Wu has now been promoted to chief labor and pensions counsel.

“Portia Wu is a valued member of our team and I’m enormously appreciative of her work on the labor committee,” Kennedy said in a statement. “She’s been an invaluable asset and a true champion for workers and their rights.”

Prior to joining the committee in 2006, Wu worked as an associate at Bredhoff & Kaiser from 1999 to 2003. Before that, she was a law clerk for Judge Richard Paez of the Central District of California from 1998 to 1999.

From Delmar, N.Y., Wu earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Yale University in 1991 and a master’s degree in comparative literature from Cornell University in 1995. She earned her law degree from Yale in 1998.