For the Young and the Old

Posted June 26, 2007 at 5:14pm

Cameron Coursen’s favorite thing about Washington, D.C., is the diversity. Perhaps that is why his work as the associate director of external affairs at the Center for Education Reform focused on increased choice and quality among charter schools, promoting a diverse variety of school options for American kids. In that position, Coursen was a co-editor of “Education Reform 2006: A Voter’s Guide,” an analysis of how candidates stand on election issues, particularly how they stand on choice and charter issues. [IMGCAP(1)]

Coursen surely will keep pushing for better schools by way of these innovations in his new position as assistant communications director for the minority staff at the House Education and Labor Committee, which he began on May 29. A 2003 graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a degree in English, Coursen will be responsible for assisting in the press office and managing media relations. He is 26 and has a twin brother who works in commercial real estate. [IMGCAP(2)]

Debra Whitman’s focus is on a significantly older contingent. She’s the new majority staff director for the Senate Committee on Aging and has a long history of working on aging, most recently as a specialist in the subject for the Congressional Research Service. There, she studied the economic impacts of current policies affecting older Americans, providing Members of Congress with research and advice on how to craft future policy.

Before her job at CRS, she served as a Brookings LEGIS fellow to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee as a health policy aide for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). And before that, she worked in the Social Security Administration, founding the Perspectives section of the Social Security Bulletin.

A ’92 triple-major in economics, math and Italian from Gonzaga University, Whitman also holds a doctorate in

economics from Syracuse University. She is 37 years old and originally from Electric City, Wash.

She Hit the Ground Running but Still Needs to Work on Walking … More than 13 issues fill the plate of Caroline Hennigan, the new legislative assistant for Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), among the them are agriculture, health care, Social Security federal budget and abortion. She was recently promoted from staff assistant, a position she held after graduating from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s in economics in May 2006.

Originally from Tullahoma, Tenn., Hennigan, 22, has had at least one interesting experience while working on Capitol Hill. Once, while walking up the steps to the Capitol with Davis, she tripped and fell so severely that Davis actually had to pick her up off the ground. Better luck assisting with legislation than you’ve had with walking, Caroline.

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