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Gopher Gang

Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) has said goodbye to long-time staffer Jill Beatty, who recently retired.

Beatty, who most recently served as scheduler and office manager, spent 33 years at Oberstar’s side beginning as his staff assistant in 1969 when the Congressman was chief of staff to now-deceased Rep. John Blatnik (D-Minn.).

After Oberstar was elected to the House in 1974, Beatty stayed on to handle military casework and academy nominations for the office.

Beatty, who in a statement compared working for the Congressman to working for her brother, has also spent time at the Federal Aviation Administration and in the private sector.

Oberstar Staff Assistant Jeri Sparling assumes Beatty’s duties as the new scheduler and office manager.

The Pine Technical College graduate has also worked for the Minnesota attorney general’s office.

Sparling, 25, is from Pine City, Minn.

In turn, Melody Hamoud joins the office as staff assistant.

The 23-year-old New Brighton, Minn., native graduated last May from Messiah College with a bachelor’s in politics.

Lone Star Leaders. After four years as Rep. Pete Sessions’ (R-Texas) communications director and legislative assistant for national and cyber-security issues, Adrian Plesha leaves the office this month to open the Washington federal-affairs office of cyber-security defense contractor Promia Inc.

The 32-year-old Plesha holds a bachelor’s in political science from Ohio State University. He is from Greensburg, Pa.

Hailing from Rockville, Md., Gina Carty replaces Plesha as communications director, coming to the office with several years of Congressional Republican campaign and press experience under her belt, including stints with Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).

Carty, 29, is a member of the University of Virginia’s class of 1995, where she earned a bachelor’s in foreign affairs.

Sessions veteran Jeff Koch, who served as AA since 1998, moves over to the Labor Department to become special assistant to the CIO.

The 39-year-old Show Me State native has also worked as systems administrator for Sessions and holds a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Rolla College in Missouri.

Elan Liang will add legislative director duties to her current position as Sessions’ Rules Committee associate.

The one-time aide to then-Rep. Mike Pappas (R-N.J.) will also continue to cover financial services and health care issues.

Liang, a graduate of the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s in government and psychology, hails from Chapel Hill, N.C.

Former health care specialist and legislative assistant Matt Bassett has left the office to become deputy chief of staff for Rep. Ernie Fletcher (R-Ky.).

Bassett, who holds a bachelor’s in criminal justice from Baylor University and a master’s in health care administration from Trinity University, is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

He is replaced by Bobby Hillert, who moves up a notch from legislative correspondent and will be responsible for information technology, Government Reform Committee issues, and the Results Caucus.

Hillert, a 2001 graduate of Southern Methodist University in history and economics, hails from Dallas.

Houston native Jenny Sheffield is promoted to office manager and adds scheduling duties and science issues to her current workload managing Sessions’ Web site.

The 25-year-old holds a bachelor’s from Texas A&M University.

Legislative Correspondent Will Murchison is promoted to legislative assistant/deputy press secretary covering tax and Social Security issues. The Rhodes College graduate, 24, will also serve as systems administrator.

Fifth-generation Texan Tucker Anderson moves up to senior legislative assistant and legal counsel.

The 32-year-old Anderson holds a bachelor’s in history from Texas A&M University and a law degree from St. Mary’s University.

New to the office is Legislative Correspondent Scott Cunningham.

The former Sessions intern coordinator recently graduated from Emory University with a bachelor’s in political science and history.

He hails from Dallas.

Also joining the office as Legislative Correspondent is Jeremy Van Haselen, another former intern coordinator.

The Lindell, Texas, native holds a bachelor’s in political science from Texas A&M University.

Torch’s Talker. Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) recently acquired retired Sen. Robert Torricelli’s (D-N.J.) former communications director, Debra DeShong.

Dayton’s new communications director is an old hand at media relations, having also served as press secretary for Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), for the 1998 Blanche Lincoln for Senate Campaign and for the New Jersey State Democratic Committee.

The one-time reporter holds a 1993 bachelor’s in English from Fairfield University and a master’s in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University.

DeShong, 31, is from Middletown, N.J.

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