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It’s Official

The Energy and Commerce Committee will get a new chief counsel for energy and environmental issues when Mark Menezes reports to work today.

The recent vice president and associate general counsel of public policy and government affairs with the Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power comes to the panel with a “wealth of experience,” Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) said in a statement.

Prior to AEP’s merger with the Central and South West Corp., Menezes was CSW’s vice president of governmental affairs.

He has also practiced law in Washington, D.C., at the law firm Arter & Hadden, worked as staff counsel to what was then known as the Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on Merchant Marine and served as counsel to Sen. John Breaux (D-La.).

Before arriving on Capitol Hill, Menezes spent nearly a decade working in the Louisiana House of Representatives.

He holds both a bachelor’s and a law degree from Louisiana State University.

McConnellites. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently picked up a few new sets of hands to assist him in his personal office, including several freshly minted college graduates.

Onetime McConnell intern Brad Sullivan comes on board as legislative correspondent.

Sullivan, who has also worked as an intern for the Labor Department, holds a bachelor’s in political science from Transylvania University. The Campbellsville, Ky., native is 21.

Pam Simpson has been named staff assistant responsible for constituent services.

A member of the University of Arizona’s class of 2003, Simpson earned a bachelor’s in communication. She is from Louisville, Ky.

Former McConnell legislative intern Kinda Lowder Hall returns to the office as legislative correspondent.

Hailing from South Shore, Ky., Hall received her bachelor’s in history and government in May from Morehead State University.

Boston College graduate Sarah Long joins as legislative correspondent responsible for health and education issues.

The 24-year-old Shelbyville, Ky., native also holds a master’s of social science and economics in international relations from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth.

A veteran of then-Sen. Tim Hutchinson’s (R-Ark.) office, Michael Zehr is the new legislative assistant covering tobacco, agriculture, environment, interior and gambling issues.

Zehr, originally from Little Rock, Ark., earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Virginia and a master’s in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. He is 26.

A onetime intern for then-Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), Paige Yurachek has returned to the Hill to serve as McConnell’s legislative correspondent.

The 23-year-old University of Virginia graduate hails from Charlotte, N.C.

Finally, new Deputy Press Secretary Julie Adams comes on board after a stint as campaign manager for Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) in the 2002 election cycle.

A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Adams holds a bachelor’s in political science from Luther College and a master’s in education from the University of Iowa. [IMGCAP(1)]

Miller Time. Freshman Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) has acquired a trio of Tar Heel State natives to fill out his inaugural team.

Legislative Director Tom Koonce is an old hand at Congressional politics, having spent two years working for then-Rep. Steve Neal (D-N.C.) before heading to law school at the College of William & Mary. The 32-year-old Koonce, who holds a bachelor’s from Davidson College, has also worked as an associate at the Washington law firm Clifford Chance LLP.

After a stint in the office of Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Sophie Milam joins as legislative assistant.

Milam, 25, is already a veteran of the campaign trail, having served on former Sen. Bill Bradley’s (D-N.J.) 2000 presidential bid. She also spent a year working for a Charlotte, N.C., homeless shelter.

Milam is a member of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s class of 2001.

Political neophyte Jamie DeMent arrives in the office after earning a bachelor’s from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is 23.

Given the fact that his father, former Rep. John Lesinski Jr. (D-Mich.), and his grandfather, former Rep. John Lesinski (D-Mich.), both served in Congress, new System Administrator Gary Lesinski’s recent move to the Hill was — it seems — the natural thing to do. He previously spent 13 years as a mainframe programmer for Nortel Networks.

Other members of Tar Heel State Congressman’s starting lineup include: Chief of Staff Mark Harkins, who earlier worked as Democratic legislative director for the House Science Committee; Miller’s general election Office Manager Eleanor Blaine, who is now executive assistant in his personal office; former staffer for then-Sen. Jean Carnahan (D-Mo.) Bryan Mitchell, who has become legislative assistant; Joe Bonfiglio, communications director during Miller’s Congressional 2002 campaign, who gets the green light to be press secretary; and finally, 21-year-old Boz Zellinger, also a veteran of the Miller campaign, has become legislative correspondent.

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