Filling a Mentor’s Shoes

Posted February 5, 2008 at 4:53pm

Mike Buttry has stepped in as chief of staff for Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) following the departure of Lou Ann Linehan. Buttry previously served Hagel in the role of communications director.

[IMGCAP(1)]Buttry is from Papillion, Neb., and started with Hagel in the spring of 2000 as a press assistant. He left at the end of 2001 to work on the campaign of Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). But he returned to Hagel’s office following the 2002 elections.

“I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from [Hagel] and from our former chief of staff Lou Ann Linehan,” he said. “They’ve been great mentors.”

Buttry cited a host of issues on which he’s excited to work, including foreign policy and infrastructure.

“We’ve got a strong core group of people,” Buttry said of Hagel’s office. They’re “dedicated to Sen. Hagel, and dedicated to making this next 12 months productive as we can,” he said.

In his spare time, Buttry enjoys fly fishing. He has fished in West Virginia, Delaware and New York, and he enjoys catching trout and bass.

Buttry, 31, and his wife, Susie, will celebrate their fifth anniversary this July.

Buttry will get some help in his new job from Rexon Ryu, who will add deputy chief of staff to his responsibilities. Ryu is also the Senator’s senior foreign policy adviser.

Ryu, from Oakland, Calif., began working with Hagel “on loan” from the State Department for help with foreign policy. He stayed on, adding deputy legislative director to his title. And he kept adding from there.

He calls his experience at Hagel’s office outstanding.

“It’s a wonderful group of people they have here, who are prepared to work overtime for someone they admire a lot,” he said.

Ryu, 35, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s in public administration from Princeton University.

He also has six years of experience at the State Department, where he focused on Middle East nonproliferation work, including stints in Jerusalem and Cairo, Egypt. He also served as a special assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Ryu said Hagel’s view on foreign policy is “one that I support completely.”

He has two young daughters: 2-year-old Maya and 9-month-old Zoe. His wife, Kelly, works at the State Department.

Legal Expert Joins House Panel. Lance Kotschwar is the new general counsel for the Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

David Cavicke, the former general counsel, has been promoted by ranking member Joe Barton, (R-Texas) to serve as the chief of staff for Republicans on the committee.

Kotschwar, 41, previously worked at Foley and Lardner, where he handled federal legislative and regulatory affairs. He focused on food, agriculture, energy and derivatives issues.

He also has served as general counsel to the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and chief counsel to the House Agriculture Committee. And he has experience at an executive branch agency, having worked on the general counsel staff for the Agriculture Department.

“Lance knows the law, knows the House and knows how committees run, and I’m confident that he will be an effective and highly successful general counsel to the most important committee in Congress,” Barton said in a statement.

Kotschwar has been involved with legislation such as the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, the Plant Protection Act of 2000, the Animal Health Protection Act and the past two farm bills.

Kotschwar is from Hemingford, Neb., and earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a law degree from the University of Nebraska. He lives in McLean, Va., with his wife, Linda, their 6-year-old son, Tommy, and Lucky, their English springer spaniel.

In his spare time, he enjoys model rocketry and Cub Scouts with his son. He also likes to get outdoors as much as possible with his family.

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