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New Director

Joel Kassiday, a top republican Capitol Hill aide for 23 years, last month was tapped to become the next director of Congressional affairs by the Republican Jewish Coalition. In his new role, Kassiday, 51, will be charged with overseeing the RJC’s lobbying and Congressional department on Capitol Hill.

“We are very pleased to have someone with Joel’s experience, knowledge and accomplishments as our bridge between Capitol Hill and Jewish Republicans,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement.

Kassiday, a 1974 graduate of Colorado State University, comes to the RJC from Rep. Elton Gallegly’s (R-Calif.) office, where he served as chief of staff for the past five years. He has also worked in the offices of former Sen. Hank Brown (R-Colo.), then-Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and then-Rep. James Johnson (R-Colo.). [IMGCAP(1)]

Ins and Outs at Houghton’s Office. During the August recess, Rep. Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.) said goodbye to a five-year veteran of his staff, Francesca Tedesco. Tedesco, 27, originally from Allegany, N.Y., first became an executive assistant for the Congressman in 1998, and in 2000 she was promoted to legislative assistant.

The 1998 graduate of Boston College left the Congressman’s office to pursue a master’s in business administration at New York University.

Laura Dennis, who was executive assistant to the Congressman, also recently left the office. The Elmira, N.Y., native has since become a legislative associate at the National Court Reporters Association.

Dennis is a 2001 graduate of Salisbury State University in Maryland and holds a bachelor’s in political science.

As Houghton said goodbye to his old staffers, he promoted two current aides, Steve Perrotta and Erica Ferri, and welcomed two new faces, Stacey Wade and Chelsi Stevens.

Perrotta, 31, has been promoted from legislative correspondent and systems manager to legislative assistant, covering, among other issues, labor, agriculture, education and welfare. The Horseheads, N.Y., native worked in Houghton’s Corning office from 1995 to 1999 as a staff assistant before coming to Washington.

Perrotta graduated from Cornell University in 1995 with a bachelor’s in industrial labor relations.

Ferri, 25, has been moved up from a legislative correspondent and legislative assistant to a full-time legislative assistant covering health, science and technology, telecommunications and other issues. Ferri started with Houghton’s office

in November 2000 as a staff assistant and press assistant, and she moved to her role as legislative correspondent and legislative assistant in November 2001.

Prior to her work in Houghton’s office, Ferri was a research assistant at the Business Council of New York in Albany and an assistant at the law office of Marc E. Cohen. The Saratoga Springs, N.Y., native graduated from Nazareth College in 2000 with a degree in social science.

Wade will be taking over some of the responsibilities left by Perrotta and Ferri as the office’s newest legislative correspondent, systems manager and Web site manager. She joined Houghton’s office last month after holding internships at Nationwide Insurance’s corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, and at World Kitchen corporate headquarters in Corning, N.Y.

Wade, a 2003 graduate of Ohio State University, holds a bachelor’s in communications.

Stepping into the role of office receptionist is 21-year-old Stevens. Stevens graduated this spring from Union College in Albany, where she double majored in political science and French. This is her first job out of college.

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