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Van Hollen Names New Chief of Staff.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) recently tapped Karen Robb to become his new chief of staff. Robb steps into the shoes of Kay Casstevens, who, after two-and-a-half years of service to the Congressman, is leaving her post to care for her ailing parents in Texas.

Prior to joining Van Hollen’s office, Robb has served as deputy assistant to former President Bill Clinton, chief of staff to former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (D), and as Democratic staff director for the Senate Judiciary Committee under Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.). Robb is a 1974 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and received a J.D. from the Duquesne University School of Law.

Robb’s wide-ranging Washington experience was what attracted Van Hollen. “Karen Robb,” he said in a statement, “is a seasoned political insider who brings a wealth of public policy and management experience to her new position. Her expertise will be invaluable to our office as we work on the issues that affect Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District and our nation.”

Casstevens said her time with Van Hollen have been “a wonderful experience.” She fondly recalled the “opportunity to work with people who are here because they believe in the ideals and principles of the Democratic Party and want to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Van Hollen praised his outgoing chief of staff as having been “an exceptional leader for our office.” He said he and his staff “will miss her talent, experience and political savvy.” Robb also commended Casstevens’ service, and said she promises to “benefit enormously from the strong pattern of leadership established” by her predecessor.

[IMGCAP(1)]Pitts Hires New Staff Assistant, Promotes Two Others. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) has recently made some changes in his Washington, D.C., office. Pitts has selected 22-year-old Matthew Batzel, a 2005 graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, to inherit the staff assistant position vacated by Angelita Avila, 24, who will now assume the duties of a legislative correspondent.

An officer in his Franklin and Marshall chapter of College Republicans, Batzel earned his degree in political science. He also distinguished himself as a captain of both his track and cross country squads. An intern for Pitts during the summer of 2003, Batzel’s new duties will include giving tours, processing mail and other general office tasks.

“We all enjoyed working with Matt when he interned in the Washington office two summers ago and we’re looking forward to having him back again,” Pitts said in a statement.

Before her promotion, Avila served as Pitts’ staff assistant, a position she has held since January. In her new role she will chiefly oversee the process of responding to constituent mail. A native of San Diego, Avila spent her college years at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and graduated in 2003.

Earning a promotion along with Avila is Amy Jones, 28, whose new job will be legislative assistant/legislative correspondent. Jones, a native of Cleburne, Texas, has also served as a staff assistant to Pitts. She took that assignment in December 2003, and by January 2004 had risen to the position of legislative correspondent. In her new role Jones will handle military, housing, postal and other issues for the Congressman. Her educational achievements include a bachelor’s in communications in 1999 from Asbury College and a master’s in international journalism from Baylor University in 2003.

“Angelita and Amy are both great members of my team. I have greatly enjoyed working with them and getting to know them. Their promotions are well-deserved,” Pitts said. They become the third and fourth members of the Congressman’s current staff to earn promotions after first occupying the staff assistant’s chair.

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