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Silver State Rich in Hires, Promotions

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) announced seven staff changes in his Capitol Hill office last week. Chris Jaarda, Eli Greif, Matt McCullough and Nick Vander Poel are new to the office, while Rosie Barry, Alexis Bayer and Tory Mazzola have all received promotions.

Jaarda is a new legislative assistant replacing Carrie Simmons, who moved to the Office of Management and Budget. Jaarda’s previous Hill experience includes working for Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif) and the late Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-Ga.). He also spent four years in private practice in real estate, corporate and tax law before returning to the Hill. Jaarda will now be responsible for Ensign’s work with the Budget Committee and will also follow banking and financial services,

campaign finance and election reform, housing, judiciary and tax issues. The Furman University graduate earned his law degree from Villanova University.

Greif replaces Cody Johnson — who has relocated to Las Vegas for campaign work — as Ensign’s legislative correspondent. Grief, who previously worked for Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) and before that in the financial industry, will handle budget, banking, tax, health care and veterans’ issues for the Senator. The Kansas City, Mo., native is a graduate of Indiana University.

Replacing Michael McCarlie, who has moved back to Nevada to work for the Bush/Cheney campaign, is McCullough. A former legislative assistant/legislative correspondent for Rep. Ernie Fletcher (R-Ky.), McCullough also worked for Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.) and interned for Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) while obtaining his master’s from George Washington University.

Vander Poel joined Ensign’s office earlier this year as a staff assistant. He began working on the Hill as an intern with Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.). The native of Reno, Nev., attended California State University at Fresno and holds a bachelor’s in agricultural economics.

Rosie Barry, who joined Ensign’s office as an intern and was hired as a legislative correspondent in 2003, has been bumped up to the legislative aide position previously held by Shelly Astle. Astle recently relocated to Boston to work for Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R). Barry will handle issues pertaining to the environment, small business, energy and agriculture. A native of Las Vegas, Barry graduated from the University of Nevada at Reno.

Bayer has moved up to the legislative aide position formally held by Tara Jones, who left Ensign’s office to work in the Office of the secretary of Defense. A former Ensign assistant to the deputy chief of staff, Bayer will now take on foreign affairs and defense issues. The Gardnerville, Nev., native holds bachelor’s degrees in international relations and German from the University of Nevada at Reno.

Rounding out Ensign’s staff changes is Mazzola, who has been bumped up to Ensign’s press office to serve as deputy press secretary. A former special assistant to the Senator, Mazzola has press experience working at the government relations firm The National Group and interning for Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.). Mazzola is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and holds degrees in international economics and political science. He hails from Wakefield, Mass.

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