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Twenty-Somethings Shine in Prairie State Office

With three promotions and two hires of staffers all under 28 years old, last month was a good time to be young and in Rep. John Shimkus’ (R-Ill.) office.

Flavio Amaya, a native of Ecuador, was picked up as a fellow for Shimkus late last month. Amaya, 25, will be handling data input, special projects and constituent services for Shimkus.

Amaya comes to the office from the Embassy of Ecuador, where he worked as a database assistant. Fluent in four languages, Amaya has also worked as a Latin services volunteer at the Whitman Walker Clinic and as a Spanish instructor at the United States Embassy in Ecuador. He is working toward a bachelor’s degree in international business from Strayer University in Washington, D.C.

Jen Daulby, a legislative assistant for Shimkus, has recently changed her issue focus to military, education, labor, social security and commerce. Before being hired by the Congressman, the 27-year-old Du Quoin, Ill., native interned for Shimkus and volunteered for his election campaign. Daulby holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Eastern Illinois University and earned her law degree last year from the Southern Illinois University School of Law.

Recently moving up from legislative correspondent to legislative assistant is Mo Zilly. Zilly, who has also served the Congressman as a staff assistant and intern, will handle health, agriculture, environment and veteran issues. The 23-year-old Aurora, Ill., native graduated last year from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in international, resource and consumer economics.

Stepping up to the position of legislative correspondent is Ryan Tracy, 24. The former Shimkus staff assistant and intern for Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) will be responsible for constituent mail, writing letters, postal operation issues and housing issues. Tracy is a 2001 graduate of the University of Illinois and calls Monticello, Ill., his home.

Shimkus’ other new hire is staff assistant Greta Hanson. Hanson, 22, of Sugar Grove, Ill., will be in charge of tours and flagging requests and mail for the Congressman. A former intern for Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and The Carmen Group, a public affairs lobbying firm, this is Hanson’s first job out of college. She graduated in August from Northern Illinois University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in international politics. [IMGCAP(1)]

Team Dutch. Freshman Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) spent the early fall season filling out his office roster and has scored a double-double on

promotions and new hires.

Joining the office as the new chief of staff is Capitol Hill veteran Steven Jost, 49. Jost, who most recently worked as campaign manager for fellow Maryland freshman Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D) Congressional bid, has also worked as chief of staff for Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) and then-Rep. Richard Lehman (D-Calif.). The California native is a graduate of California State University.

The Congressman’s new press secretary may be familiar to many Hillites who live in the area. Heather Moeder Molino was formerly a reporter for Newschannel 8 and WJLA Channel 7. The 30-year-old Massachusetts native and Cornell University graduate has also worked as a reporter for television stations in Virginia and North Carolina.

Tara Linnehan Oursler, who has worked for the Congressman for nine years and is a registered Republican, has recently been promoted from district director to deputy chief of staff for the district office. She now manages the district staff and works closely with local business leaders, community activists and government professionals. Oursler, 34, is a graduate of Loyola College and a Maryland native.

Ruppersberger’s other promotion is Walter Gonzales, 29, who moves up from legislative director to deputy chief of staff for the Congressman’s Washington office. Gonzales began his career on the Hill as an intern for Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) in 1995 before becoming a lobbyist and then returning to the Hill last fall as Ruppersberger’s policy director for his congressional campaign. The 29-year-old Maryland native is a graduate of the University of Vermont.

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