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Aging Committee Changes

A number of changes have been made around the Senate Aging Committee recently, resulting in the addition or promotion of a dozen staff members.

Catherine Finley will now serve as the staff director for the committee, in addition to her role as Sen. Gordon Smith’s (R-Ore.) primary adviser on Finance Committee health care issues.

Before joining Smith’s office, Finley served as the senior health policy adviser for Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). She has also worked for the Southern Governors’ Association, the Texas Legislature and the office of Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio). She holds a bachelor’s in economics, which she received from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Demetrios Karoutsos, 32, has come on board as the communications director for the committee. Previously, he served in the same role for Rep. John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), as well as press secretary for New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson (R).

Before entering the realm of politics, Karoutsos worked in banking and financial services in New York City and San Francisco. A native of Manchester, N.H., Karoutsos graduated from the University of Vermont in 1994 with a bachelor’s in business administration.

Mike Smith joins the staff as a professional staff member. He will handle issues related to housing, transportation, telecommunications, energy, labor/work force and veterans.

While Smith has most recently been out of the political game, in 1996 he served on Smith’s Senate campaign, and before that he worked at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He holds a bachelor’s in political science from Arizona State University and a master’s in business administration from Loyola University in Chicago.

Christina Hinkle, 35, has been brought on board as senior investigator. Prior to joining the committee, she worked as a staff attorney for the Federal Trade Commission. The Cissna Park, Ill., native holds a bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which she received in 1998, and a law degree from the Catholic University of America School of Law, which she received in 2001.

Jonathan Moss, 28, takes on the title of investigative staff assistant. He will help the committee investigators with their projects. Moss has been with the committee since it was chaired by Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho); he also served as an intern for the Senator. Moss calls Rexburg, Idaho, home and holds a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Utah.

Casey Hemard, 28, takes over as senior investigator. Previously, Hemard served as majority counsel for the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations. A native of Thibodaux, La., Hemard received a bachelor’s from the University of Alabama in 1998 in Russian and international relations, and a law degree from Louisiana State University in 2001.

Kara Getz comes on board as a professional staff member, handling issues related to pensions and social security. Prior to heading to Capitol Hill, Getz worked for Ernst & Young. The Pittsburgh native received a bachelor’s from Dickinson College in 1993 and a law degree from Duquesne University in 1998.

Steve Irizarry, 36, will now serve as senior health counsel and will handle issues related to health care and health insurance. He spent four years as health counsel to the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, including two years in that role for Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and one year doing the same job for then-Rep. Tom Bliley (R-Va.). The Alexandria, Va., native holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Georgetown University and a law degree from Arizona State University.

Tara Ward, 22, joins the staff as a legislative assistant, handling issues related to Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance, long-term care and medical research. Previously she worked for then-Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.). Ward holds a bachelor’s in politics from Princeton University, which she received in 2003. She calls Minneapolis home.

Kendall Van Pool, 29, comes on board as a professional staffer responsible for long-term care, elder justice and Older Americans Act programs. Previously, the Federal Way, Wash., native worked for Washington Reps. Jennifer Dunn and George Nethercutt. Van Pool graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s in communications.

Two staff assistants also joined the office: Paul Perkins, who graduated from Oregon State University in 2004 with a bachelor’s in political science; and Carley Dillon, who graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2004 with a bachelor’s in business/finance.

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