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Show Me the Climbers

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) recently hired two new legislative assistants and an executive assistant/scheduler while promoting a staff assistant to legislative aide in his Capitol Hill office.

Joe Laird replaces Elizabeth Sharp as Akin’s military legislative assistant. Laird comes to the Congressman’s staff from the office of Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). A Wyoming native who graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law, Laird is completing a graduate degree at the U.S. Naval War College and also serves as a first lieutenant in the Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol.

Replacing Tom Carpenter as Akin’s LA for anti-abortion rights, human rights, global hunger, AIDS and telecommunications issues is Autumn Fredericks. Fredericks was formerly a staffer for Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) and a page for Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.). She is a graduate of Georgia’s Covenant College.

Replacing Amanda Carmen Akin — who married Akin’s son, Marine 2nd Lt. Perry Akin, last year — as the Congressman’s executive assistant/scheduler is Tressa Merola. Merola, a native of New Castle, Pa., served as a sales and licensing coordinator for the Emess Design Group. She is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio.

Josh Graham, who joined Akin’s staff in October 2003, has been moved up to legislative aide covering Interior Department, federal/postal employee, welfare, housing and animal rights issues. Before coming to the Hill, Graham previously served with Hands Along the Nile Development Services, which promotes community development and women’s rights in Egypt. He is a graduate of Biola University in Los Angeles

and holds a graduate certificate in advanced international affairs from Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Policy.

Watt Adds One, Promotes Another. Rep. Mel Watt’s (D-N.C.) office recently saw the addition of Marissa Jennings as a staff assistant and the promotion of Melissa Williamson from staff assistant to executive assistant/press secretary.

Jennings comes to Watt’s office after a yearlong internship at Van Scoyoc Associates Inc. Williamson joined Watt’s office in January. She graduated in 2003 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and hails from Belmont, N.C.

Golden State Pickup. Krissy Rodriguez, who was born in New York, raised in Texas, went to school in Alabama, then came to work on the Hill, recently switched jobs to serve as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-Calif.) new executive assistant.

A former staff assistant to Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), Rodriguez will now be in charge of scheduling all of Rohrabacher’s appointments, hiring interns and managing the office. The 23-year-old Spring Hill College graduate holds a bachelor’s in international studies.

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