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Johnson Shuffles Staff

Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) has made some moves around his district office in the wake of the departure of his chief of staff, who has been called to duty in Iraq.

Jerry Clarke has taken a leave of absence from the office to fill his second tour of duty with the Army Reserves in Iraq. A major in the Army, he previously served an eight-month tour in 2003.

While Clarke is in Iraq, Legislative Director Steve Borg will take over the chief of staff duties. Borg has been with the office since 2001. A native of Evanston, Ill., Borg graduated from Johnson’s

alma mater, the University of Illinois, with a degree in sociology.

Phil Bloomer has been hired to take over as press secretary. Bloomer replaces Matt Brisbee, a six-year veteran of Johnson’s office who is leaving for a job in the private sector. Bloomer has been covering Johnson since his days in the Illinois Legislature as a reporter for The Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette.

Bloomer, a native of Champaign, did his undergraduate work at Southern Illinois University, graduating in 1979. He then went on to become a Fighting Illini as well, receiving his master’s from the University of Illinois in 1983.

Crowley Hires Two, Promotes One. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) has made a number of changes around his Washington, D.C., office recently.

Jennifer Psaki has been hired to fill the role of communications director for Crowley. She replaces Suzanne Anziska, who has moved over to the office of new Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) to serve as communications director and administrative assistant.

Previously, Psaki served on Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign in Iowa and then as press secretary for the families of Kerry and then-Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) during the general election. She has also worked on campaigns for Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

Shawn Hodjati, 23, has been promoted to executive assistant and scheduler for Crowley. In addition to handling the schedule, he will assist the chief of staff in the operation of the office.

Hodjati began his tenure in Crowley’s office in September 2004, serving as an intern before being promoted to staff assistant. The Bethesda, Md., native received a bachelor’s in political science with a minor in philosophy from the University of Maryland.

Carlos Sanchez, 25, will take over for Hodjati in the role of staff assistant. Among the other duties a staff assistant usually takes on, Sanchez will also take the lead in assisting with the Hispanic media for Crowley.

Prior to heading for Washington, D.C., Crowley served on the campaign staff of now-Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.) and worked in Grand Junction, Colo. for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The Laredo, Texas, native graduated from Texas A&M University in 2003 with a bachelor’s in political science and sociology and a minor in economics.

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