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Protecting the Homeland

Uttam Dhillon will return to Capitol Hill as chief counsel and deputy staff director of the Homeland Security Committee. The Hill veteran has served as the policy director of the House Republican Policy Committee and as senior investigative counsel to the then-House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

Before joining the ranks on the Hill, Dhillon was assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles for more than six years. While there the El Centro, Calif., native was awarded the United States Department of Justice Special Achievement Award for sustained superior job performance. He also received letters of commendation from both the FBI director and the attorney general.

“His background of working with federal, state and local law enforcement provides him with a solid base for overseeing that element of the department’s responsibilities,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.). Dhillon graduated from the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1987. He earned his master’s degree in psychology from the University of California at San Diego and received his bachelor’s from California State University at Sacramento and Imperial Valley College.

Former Silicon Valley high-tech executive and Hill veteran Vincent Sollitto has become communications director for the panel.

Sollitto, who previously was vice president for corporate communications and external affairs for the online payments company, PayPal, Inc., is an alumnus of Cox’s staff, having worked as his press secretary from 1995 to 1996. He also served as communications director for Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and as media relations director for the American Enterprise Institute. He holds a bachelor’s in public policy studies and political science from Duke University.

Akin’s Assistance. Rob Schwarzwalder, 45, will serve as chief of staff for Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.). He has served on the staffs of former Senator and current Ambassador to Germany Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and former Rep. Bill Baker (R-Calif.). Schwarzwalder has most recently served as chief speechwriter for Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. He received his bachelor’s degree from Meiola University in 1979 and his masters degree in theology from Western Seminary in Portland, Ore., in 1983.

Veteran Akin staffer Franz Kohler will serve as the legislative assistant for the Small Business subcommittee on workforce, empowerment and government programs, of which Akin serves as chairman. The 32-year-old Kohler is a former manager of the St. Louis Steinway Piano Gallery and a 1993 graduate of Wheaton College.

Elizabeth Sharp, 28, joined the staff as Akin’s military legislative assistant. Sharp recently worked in the press office of the House Administration subcommittee on armed servcies before working her stint as legislative director for Ervin Technical Associates. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where she received her degree in psychology.

Tom Carpenter is moving on up from legislative correspondent to legislative aide. He will now, in addition to communicating with constituents, manage issues such as telecommunications and human rights. Carpenter, 24, received a bachelor’s degree in speech communications with a minor in political science from the University of Tennessee in 2001.

Ready to Serve. Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) made three new appointments to the House Administration Committee’s Minority staff.

Kellie Cass Broussard was added to the professional staff as part of the committee’s member-support services team. Broussard mastered her communication and customer service skills while working for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and while managing her own business. The 31-year-old New Orleans native graduated in 1998 from Southern University in New Orleans with a bachelor’s in arts and history.

Tiffani Joy Mendivil, 23, hops on board as the office manager and Franking Commission staff assistant. The bilingual California native will secure approval of franked mass mailings in both English and Spanish. Her managerial skills are culled from years of managing her father’s medical office in Mission Viejo, Calif. Mendivil graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s of arts degree in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Catherine Le Tran will also serve as a staff assistant to the committee. Le Tran will be responsible for staffing a summer intern lecture series held by the House Administration Committee in conjunction with the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, in addition to maintaining the calendar of legislative activity for the committee’s minority members. The Rotary international scholar spent a year in Singapore fine-tuning her linguistic skills, which include Vietnamese and Spanish. Le Tran graduated magna cum laude in 2000 from the University of California at San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

“I believe these three outstanding individuals will bring much youthful enthusiasm to the mission of reaching the members quickly and making them aware of the services that the House provides,” Larson said.

Larson has also transferred staffers from his personal office to the committee. George Shevlin IV, who was Larson’s legislative director, will now serve as the Minority staff director for the committee. Shevlin, 41, has more than a dozen years of House experience working in a variety of capacities. He earned a master’s of law degree from the London School of Economics in 1989 and a J.D. from the University of Baltimore in 1988. In 1984 he graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in government.

Mary Elizabeth McHugh has also transferred to the committee, vacating her post as scheduler and executive assistant to join the committee’s professional staff as part of the member-support services team. The East Hartford, Conn., native has served Larson since his first term in office.

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