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Blount Weapon

One of the founding members of the National Group, John Blount, has left to join the Capitol Hill Consulting Group, the lobby firm co-founded by former Rep. Bill Brewster (D-Okla.). [IMGCAP(1)]

Blount, 51, is a one-time House staffer — he was legislative director to former Rep. Bill Emerson (R-Mo.) — but since leaving the Hill has specialized in the Senate Judiciary and Commerce panels.

“John’s well-known and well-respected; he helped write the airline legislation after 9/11,” Capitol Hill Consulting Group President David Jory said. Blount will be bringing with him his client list, which includes Delta Air Lines and ChoicePoint, among others.

Hall Monitors. Reps. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) have garnered 228 co-sponsors for a bill they introduced Thursday to change the name of the Capitol Visitor Center’s Great Hall to Emancipation Hall.

Renaming the space is important, they say, not only to avoid confusion with the older, venerated Great Hall at the Library of Congress, but also to acknowledge a seminal moment in American history and the slave laborers used to build the Capitol.

Specific language to require such a change already was included in the fiscal 2008 legislative branch appropriations bill passed by the House in June, but Wamp and Jackson’s measure now goes before authorizers on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

A similar stand-alone bill to change the name of the 20,000-square-foot space to Emancipation Hall was introduced in the Senate in late June by Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) and currently is before the Senate Rules and Administration panel.

Digital District. Supporters of D.C. voting rights took their message to Chicago last week to try to rally bloggers across the country to join their movement.

Shadow Rep. Mike Panetta (D) led a panel discussion at the YearlyKos convention on the voting rights effort and more budget autonomy for the District.

“It’s a real issue that affects people here in town, but it doesn’t get a lot of national attention,” said Panetta, the brainchild behind the effort to get D.C. an Olympic curling team.

“These are the people to go back to their communities and blog about local issues,” Panetta said of the YearlyKos attendees. “This is exactly the crowd we’ve got to get in front of to do this.”

Cornhusker Nation. The White House has nominated former Rep. Tom Osborne (R-Neb.) to sit on the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps.

Osborne, who lost the state’s gubernatorial GOP primary last year, retired in 1997 with a 255-49 record as the head football coach at the University of Nebraska. He was elected to his first of three House terms in 2000.

— T.R. Goldman, John McArdle, Elizabeth Brotherton and Matthew Murray

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