He’s a Brainiac, Brainiac …

Posted April 8, 2008 at 5:15pm

A budget whiz has taken charge of the legislative work for Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). James Leuschen is now the legislative director for the Blue Dog from Nashville, after serving as his legislative assistant for budget, tax and finance. During that time, Leuschen wrote an entire alternative budget proposal for fiscal 2008.

[IMGCAP(1)]“I didn’t have to search very far to find a thoughtful and talented manager for my policy staff,” Cooper said in a statement. “James quickly made himself indispensable in this office, earning my trust and the respect of many leaders in Washington and Tennessee.”

Leuschen is from Omaha, Neb., and has worked on Capitol Hill for more than three years. He has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Omaha’s Creighton University. He formerly worked for Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.).

“It’s an honor to work for one of the smartest guys in Washington, someone who holds his staff to such a high standard,” Leuschen said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to this new challenge and confident that our legislative staff is up to the task.”

Leuschen, 28, replaces Cicely Simpson, a Tennessee native who recently departed for the private sector. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling.

And don’t try to stump him with any hard questions.

“What about you would people not guess when they first met you?” Climbers asked Leuschen in a phone interview.

“The things people wouldn’t guess I don’t want people to know,” he replied.

A Hoosier All the Way. Ellen Quigley is the new chief of staff for Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), working out of his district office.

Quigley comes from Indianapolis and has served the city as deputy mayor for community affairs. That job included work with human services issues such as aging, crime prevention, housing, health, education, diversity and family economic self-sufficiency. Before that, Quigley was the city’s assistant deputy mayor for policy.

She also has experience as the executive director for the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, a public-private partnership that tries to advance the interests of Marion County, Ind. Quigley, 45, was also a partner at Norris, Choplin & Schroeder LLP in Indianapolis.

“Ellen Quigley’s strong leadership background and her record of passionate community involvement make her the right choice to lead my team,” Carson said in a statement. “I look forward to working together to make a real difference in Indiana’s Seventh Congressional District.”

Quigley earned her law degree from Indiana University in 1998. She is a member of the Indiana University Medical Group, the Indiana Repertory Theatre, the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee and the Local Rules Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

She is married to Fran Quigley, the director of operations in the Indiana University-Kenya Partnership, and has three children: Sam, Kate and Jack.

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