Three Cheers for New Chiefs of Staff

Posted July 24, 2007 at 4:18pm

Raise the roof, because no less than three new chiefs of staff are in the House. [IMGCAP(1)]

From Houghton, N.Y., Robert Van Wicklin is the new chief of staff for Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.). He previously served as deputy chief of staff and spokesman for Kuhl and also worked for former Rep. Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.), starting as an intern for him and eventually becoming his chief of staff. A 1992 graduate of Houghton College in New York with dual majors of international relations and political science, Van Wicklin, 37, went on to obtain a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies at the Naval War College in 2004. He currently serves as a commissioned intelligence officer in the Navy Reserves.

“I look forward to working for Congressman Kuhl in this new capacity,” Van Wicklin said. “Working for Randy Kuhl has been and will continue to be a great opportunity.”

On the other side of the Capitol, an interim chief of staff has been named in the office of Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). Wally Rustad emerges from retirement to fill this position. He previously served as constituent and state staff liaison as well as director of economic development for Conrad from 1999 to 2005. He also was chief of staff for then-Rep. Art Link (D-N.D.) and worked with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and as a teacher at Williston High School in Williston, N.D. In his words, Rustad “knows the difference between Bowden, Bowman and Bowbells.”

From Grenora, N.D., Rustad served in the Army for six years and then attended Minot State University.

“It is my honor to assist Sen. Conrad in serving the people of North Dakota,” he said.

Back in the House, Joshua Lamel, 31, is the new chief of staff for Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), having previously served as the legal counsel for both Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.). From Jericho, N.Y., Lamel also practiced telecom law in

New York and Washington, D.C., before he began working on the Hill. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan in 2000 and his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in 1997. He and his wife, Meredith, just had their first child, Drew, who is now 2 months old.

Meek also has hired two new staff members in his Capitol Hill office. Hassan Christian, 21, is now serving as Meek’s legislative assistant. His responsibilities will include the Ways and Means trade portfolio and foreign affairs. The Los Angeles native previously served for the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.) and received a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 2001.

Phyllis Jo Gervasio is now tax counsel for Meek, after having served as a trial attorney at the Department of Justice for 18 years. There, she worked on a variety of tax and bankruptcy issues in many different states. She originally is from D.C. and has a master of laws degree in taxation from George Washington University, a law degree from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University.

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