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Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has picked his senior staff members.

Lisa Sutherland, a longtime Stevens staff member, is the new staff director. A native Alaskan, Sutherland began working at the Senator’s personal office in 1977 as a summer intern, and climbed all the way up to chief of staff in 1992.

Since 1997, Sutherland, 48, has worked in the Commerce panel’s office as the deputy staff director. Sutherland received a bachelor’s in public administration and political science from Drake University in 1975, and a law degree from the University of Washington in 1987.

Christine Kurth, 34, has been brought on board as the deputy staff director to replace Sutherland. A native of Anchorage, Kurth has worked for the National Labor Relations Board and the chief judge of the U.S. District Court of Alaska.

In 2000, Kurth went to work for the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior, and later worked as counsel on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Kurth did both her graduate and undergraduate work at Valparaiso University, earning first a bachelor’s and then a law degree from the school.

David Russell, who lived all over the Pacific Northwest as a child, is the new chief counsel for the committee. Russell, 33, began his work with Stevens in 1997 as a legislative assistant and later served as his legislative director and deputy chief of staff.

Russell received his law degree from the Boston University School of law in 1997, and his bachelor’s from the University of Washington in 1994.

Matthew Paxton joins the staff as senior counsel on maritime, oceans and atmosphere. The Sitka, Alaska, native comes to the committee staff from Stevens’ personal office, where he served as legislative director.

Paxton, 31, is another graduate of the University of Washington, having received his bachelor’s from that school in 1997. He also holds a law degree, which he received in 2001 from Willamette University’s College of Law.

Melanie Alvord, 37, has been picked up as the committee’s communications director. She originally joined Stevens’ personal office in 1989, working her way up from legislative correspondent to correspondence manager when she left in 1996. After a brief stint at an accounting firm, she came back to the office to serve as press secretary.

The Arlington, Va., native graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s in American government.

Aaron Saunders, 28, comes on board as deputy communications director. Previously, he served as Stevens’ deputy press secretary and as public relations manager at the Alaska SeaLife Center.

The Piqua, Ohio, native graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a bachelor’s in history and American studies in 1999. He is currently working on a master’s from Georgetown University in the communication, culture and technology program.

Cannon Picks Staff. Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) hired two new staffers and promoted one more last week.

Charles Isom, 30, has been brought on board as communications director. Isom has worked in several different Nebraska Members’ press shops, including those of Rep. Lee Terry (R), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) and then-Rep. Bill Barrett (R).

Off the Hill, Isom worked as an analyst and legislative liaison in the Washington, D.C., office of the Parents Television Council. A native of Mullen, Neb., Isom graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1997 with a degree in journalism.

Matthew Iandoli has joined Cannon’s office as counsel. He will handle issues related to the Judiciary Committee, appropriations, energy, telecommunications, technology, transportation and tax.

Iandoli, 30, received a degree in government from Georgetown University in 1996, and a law degree from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law. He hails from Manhasset, N.Y.

Rachel Dresen, who just turned 25 on Feb. 23, has been promoted from legislative correspondent to legislative assistant. She will deal with health and Resources Committee issues.

A native of Rexburg, Idaho, Dresen received her bachelor’s from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and is currently pursuing a master’s from George Washington University.

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