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Murkowski Picks State Director

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has chosen her new state director. Mary Hughes takes over in the role this month, replacing the former state director, Pat Heller, who retired earlier in the year.

Prior to joining Murkowski’s office, Hughes worked in both the public and private sector. She was a partner at the law firm Hughes, Thorsness, Gantz, Powell and Brundin before being appointed municipal attorney for Anchorage, Alaska. Her most recent job was as an adviser to businesses in Alaska on government relations, organizational and management issues.

Hughes is a lifetime resident of Alaska. She was born on Kodiak Island, grew up in Anchorage and graduated from the University of Alaska with a bachelor’s of business administration in management in 1971. She has maintained strong ties to her alma mater: She currently serves as vice chairwoman of the board of regents and is a member of the board of trustees of the University of Alaska Foundation.

Hughes also holds a law degree, which she received from Willamette University College of Law in 1974. She is a trustee for Willamette University. Other experience in Alaskan issues include 10 years of volunteering with the Sisters of Providence including a stint as the chairwoman of the Providence Alaska Foundation and chairwoman and member of the board of directors of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation.

In a statement, Murkowski praised Hughes’ life of effort on behalf of Alaskans. “Mary brings a lifetime of Alaska experience, both personal and professional, to my office,” she said. For her part, Hughes is excited to join the staff, saying she is “honored to be selected as the State Director for Senator Murkowski.”[IMGCAP(1)]

Speaker Picks New Press Assistant. Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has chosen a new assistant for his press shop. Chris Taylor joins the office and will assist the communications office in spreading the GOP side of the House’s message.

Taylor, 24, has been an intern in the office since February. Before coming to Washington, D.C., Taylor worked on the 2005 re-election campaign of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) as an intern, and in 2004 he served as the lead field representative in Michigan for the College Republican National Committee during the presidential campaign.

A New York City native, Taylor holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated in 2004.

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