Republican Conference Rearranges. The Senate Republican Conference, chaired by Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), has made a number of changes recently.
Eric Francisco Ruiz, 26, has been promoted to office manager. Previously an assistant to Robert Traynham, deputy staff director of the SRC, Ruiz has a number of new responsibilities. He now performs all administrative functions within the office and hires and manages new interns.
In addition to his duties as office manager, he is also a coalitions assistant for international religious freedom. In this capacity, Ruiz will help members of the Conference in developing coalitions for international freedom of religion.
A native of Boston, Ruiz attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he received a bachelor’s in political science and Hispanic studies in 2000.
Kate Fowler, 24, is taking over for Jennifer Sweeney as assistant to the staff director. Previously deputy press secretary for the Colorado state Senate during the 2000/2001 sessions and human rights lobbyist for the Wilberforce Forum from 2002 to June of this year, Fowler will take on responsibilities that include keeping the schedule, assisting with conferences and helping with special events.
Hailing from Evergreen, Colo., Fowler stayed in the Centennial State for her education, attending the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2002, she received a bachelor’s in journalism/news editorial.
John Rankin, 25, is taking over for Alex Kauffman as the radio producer and booker for the SRC. He will be in charge of producing and organizing media conference calls for Senators, booking Senators on radio shows and getting audio clips of Senators to media outlets.
Rankin moved to Washington in March and interned with Rep. Howard McKeon (R-Calif.) before starting with the SRC in late April. He graduated from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M., in 2002 with a bachelor’s in philosophy and classics and is originally from South Pasadena, Calif.
Promoted to communications adviser, Melissa Seckora, 28, previously served at the SRC as deputy director of coalitions. She replaces Sarah Berk, who is moving on to the American Hospital Association. Originally arriving in Washington in 1998 to work for the Federalist Society, Seckora has also been employed by National Review and The Hill.
Seckora graduated from the James Madison College at Michigan State University in 1998, where she received a bachelor’s in political philosophy, with a minor in German. Originally from Frankenmuth, Mich., Seckora will be managing communications for the conference on health care and education.
Taking over for Seckora as deputy director is Shonda Werry. The 22-year-old will assist in developing coalitions to support both issues specific to the conference and the Republican agenda in general. Werry will also assist in developing constituent coalitions.
Another native Michiganian, Werry studied at the University of Chicago, where she received a bachelor’s in international studies in 2004. During her summer breaks she interned for the SRC.
Garret Fahy, 22, replaces Eric Ruiz as the new assistant to the deputy director. Also a former Senate Republican Conference intern, Fahy’s responsibilities will include managing the front office, directing interns, handling scheduling requests and assisting the rest of the staff as required.
Originally from Thousand Oaks, Calif., Fahy attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he received a bachelor’s in political science and history in 2004.
Nick Schweich, 23, is now the graphic designer for the SRC, taking over for Katie Wise. His responsibilities include layout on newsletters, posters, stickers and charts. Previously an intern in graphic services from February to April of this year, he has also worked as an assistant photographer for Irvin-Simon Photographers.
A resident of Reston, Va., Schweich received an associate’s degree in 2003 from the Art Institute of Washington and certification in multimedia from Northern Virginia Community College in 2002.