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New Mex Matters

Rep. Tom Udall’s (D-N.M.) legislative shop receives a facelift.

Longtime Udall staffer Mike Collins takes over as legislative director with responsibilities ranging from health care to defense issues. Collins, who rose through the Udall ranks starting as an intern in the summer of 1999, most recently served as legislative assistant.

The Taos, N.M., native holds a bachelor’s in political science from Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. He is 24.

After a year as legislative correspondent, Cynthia Cook gets the nod to become legislative assistant covering energy, veterans, foreign relations and women’s issues.

Previously, Cook was staff assistant and systems administrator for Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

Hailing from Albuquerque, N.M., the 24-year-old Cook attended the University of Colorado, where she earned a bachelor’s in media studies in December 2000.

Putnam’s Pals. Sunshine State Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) beefed up his staff this month.

Shawn Dhar, former deputy communications director for the House Republican Conference and then-Chairman J.C. Watts (R-Okla.), has joined the office as communications director, replacing George Rasley, who had also served as director of policy.

Originally from Rochester Hills, Mich., Dhar received a bachelor’s in political science from Michigan State University and went on to earn a master’s from George Washington University.

Also new to the office is Susan Lindahl, who becomes information manager.

Lindahl, who hails from the Heart of Dixie, previously served as staff assistant to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

The public relations and political science major attended Boston University.

Legislative Aide Jamie Harper moves up a notch to legislative assistant.

The Troy State University graduate will be responsible for education, housing, election reform and labor issues, among others.

Democratic Duo. Michigan Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D) has tapped Denise Mixon to be press secretary.

Mixon, a Detroit native, comes from the CBS News affiliate in Southfield, Mich., where she was a reporter and producer.

Previously, Mixon, 42, was an anchor at Reuters Television in Washington, D.C., and producer at NASA Television.

She is an alumna of Grambling State University.

Also new to the office is Jacob Bennett, who takes over as staff administrator and staff assistant.

Bennett has previously completed two stints in the office of then-Rep. Jim Barcia (D-Mich.), as an intern in 2001 and as a legislative assistant in 2002.

A member of Michigan State University’s class of 2002, Bennett has a bachelor’s in both political theory and constitutional democracy, and social relations.

The 23-year-old Bennett hails from Bellaire, Mich.

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