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Whip Team Moves

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has initiated several changes in his Whip office. While Roll Call previously reported that Ashley Hoy had been hired as director of coalitions and that Kyle Nevins had been promoted to director of floor operations, there are a plethora of other moves taking place.

New to the office as counsel and policy adviser is Melanie Looney, 37. [IMGCAP(1)]

Previously, Looney worked as legislative counsel to former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) from 2005 to 2007. Before that, she worked as professional staff on the House Education and the Workforce Committee from 2002 to 2005. She also worked as director of research at the Center for Education Reform from 2001 to 2002, as a lawyer in private practice and as a law clerk for a circuit court judge in Alabama.

From Decatur, Ala., Looney earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Birmingham-Southern College in 1992. She went on to earn a law degree from the University of Alabama in 1995 and a master’s degree in political science from Utah State University in 2001.

Chris Tucker, 26, also is a new face in the office. He will work as communications adviser and speechwriter.

Previously, Tucker worked as communications director for Rep. John Peterson (R-Pa.) from 2005 to 2007. He also worked as a staff writer for The Heritage Foundation from 2004 to 2005 and as an information specialist at the House Legislative Resource Center from 2003 to 2004. [IMGCAP(2)]

A native of Trucksville, Pa., Tucker earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Johns Hopkins University in 2003.

Kristina Merrick, 25, will work as assistant to the chief of staff. Merrick previously worked in Blunt’s personal office as a research assistant and staff assistant from 2005 to 2006. During the summer of 2004, she interned for Blunt in his Majority Whip office.

Merrick, who completed the Marine Corps Marathon in 2006, graduated from Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in international business and geography in 2004. She is from Lansing, Kan.

Justin Hanson, 24, rounds out the new additions to the team. Having worked as an intern in the office since 2006, he will now work as a staff assistant.

From Palos Hills, Ill., Hanson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Marquette University in 2005.

Moving up in the office is Amos Snead, 27. Formerly a deputy press secretary, he will now work as press secretary in the office.

Prior to joining Blunt’s Whip office in 2006, Snead worked as communications director for Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) from 2005 to 2006. Before that, he was a press assistant on the House Energy and Commerce Committee from 2003 to 2005. He also worked as an account coordinator for Dittus Communications from 2002 to 2003.

Snead wrote in an e-mail that he is getting married this year to Whitney Drew and that they have been able to work through their “long-distance relationship,” which they have been in “for the duration of our engagement.”

“Whitney works out of Rayburn and I work out of the Capitol,” he wrote.

(Drew works as Republican staff on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.)

Snead graduated from the University of Montevallo with a degree in political science in 2002. He is from Centre, Ala.

Also receiving a promotion is John Stipicevic, 23. He will work as a floor assistant, having previously worked as a staff assistant and then deputy scheduler/assistant in the office since 2006.

From Yonkers, N.Y., Stipicevic graduated from Catholic University in 2006.

Finally, Sarah Little also has been promoted to press assistant. She previously worked as a staff assistant in the office from 2006 to 2007.

Little, who interned for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) during the summer of 2005, graduated from the University of Colorado with degrees in communications and sociology in 2006. The Cincinnati native wrote in an e-mail that she “enjoy[s] fly fishing and running.”

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