I Scream, You Scream, No Nuts in My Ice Cream

Posted June 19, 2007 at 4:11pm

According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, an estimated “30,000 individuals require emergency room treatment and 150 individuals die because of allergic reactions to food.” Kate Winkler, the newly crowned chief of staff for Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), tried to help take a dent out of that figure by authoring the bill, which requires more stringent regulation for the labeling of foods. [IMGCAP(1)]

Winemakers argued the bill was too burdensome because it required labeling of wines that used potential allergens during production but didn’t actually contain any of the allergens when the wine reached the bottle. But the bill persevered, attempting to prevent allergy-prone individuals from unnecessary hardship.

The bill was not, Winkler says, an attempt to save herself from such hardship, which was a most likely conclusion after learning that despite her well-known love of ice cream, she never chooses flavors with fruits or nuts. Winkler makes no bones about her indulgence, which she says she’s eaten every single day since she was a kid (she’s now 31). But she just as readily denounces any flavors with nuts or fruit, and this is not because of allergies: “I just hate them.” Go figure.

The food allergen bill was authored when Winkler served as Rep. Nita Lowey’s (D-N.Y.) principal staffer for the Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. More recently, she worked for Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) as legislative director.

Originally from Windsor, N.J., she received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Rochester.

More Culinary Quirks … Lydia Morgan, Rep. Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) new legislative assistant, also has a quirky palate; she says likes “any sort of interesting food.”

She also is getting a quirky degree, a master’s in statecraft and national security affairs with a specialization in intelligence from the Institute of World Politics, which she is slated to complete in December. This tops off her bachelor’s degree in English from California State University at Bakersfield. Morgan is originally from Southern California.

The 27-year-old legislative assistant will be responsible for labor, health care, Social Security and other issues and has interned for former GOP Reps. Bill Thomas (Calif.) and Max Burns (Ga.).

She once spent a year in Spain studying intelligence-related issues. Dulce de leche ice cream, anyone?

Flake also has promoted Mark Slobodien, a 2004 graduate of Lafayette College, from staff assistant to legislative correspondent. He has an impressive history of internships at not only Flake’s office, but also with Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) and at the Heritage Foundation.

Originally from Metuchen, N.J., Slobodien’s degree in government and English should serve him well in responding to constituents’ letters. He is 25.

Flake also hired David Garmon, 25, as staff assistant. This Cedartown, Ga., native loves spending time with his wife, Lynda, and their two children, but when he finds time is anyone’s guess. In addition to working in Flake’s office full time, Garmon is earning his master’s degree from George Washington University to add to his bachelor’s degree in history from Brigham Young University at Idaho.

Among his responsibilities are tour coordination, staff support and systems administration.

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