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Judiciary News

The new press secretary for the Senate Judiciary Committee is Erica Chabot, coming from the office of Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), where she served as deputy press secretary. Chabot began working for Leahy as a staff assistant when she graduated in 2002 from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont — Leahy’s alma mater — with degrees in political science and journalism.

“He represents Vermont values, which mirror the values of the nation,” Chabot said of Leahy.

Chabot, 27, enjoys the culture of Washington, D.C., saying there is always something to do.

“It’s just sort of fun to keep up with what’s going on in the city,” she said. [IMGCAP(1)]

Assisting Miller. Courtney Rochelle is the new scheduler and personal assistant for Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), having previously worked in his district office in a similar capacity.

“I love the work he does, he’s really close to his constituents,” Rochelle said of Miller.

After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in public policy, she worked for Sonoma County as a department analyst.

She then volunteered in Central America for Familias Especiales, an organization dedicated to helping handicapped children and their families with everything from education to transportation and jobs. Rochelle traveled in Europe as well.

From Martinez, Calif., Rochelle loves college football, especially Cal’s Golden Bears. She eventually wants to go back to school and continue to study public policy.

Hispanic Caucus Moves. As the new communications director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Miguel Ayala is charged with messaging for the caucus and works with CHC task forces, among other things. [IMGCAP(2)]

Ayala has a long history on Capitol Hill. He interned for Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and spent three years in the office of Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) as staff assistant, legislative correspondent, systems administrator and, most recently, legislative assistant. At Lee’s office, he handled the Out of Poverty Caucus, immigration, education, judiciary issues, agriculture, government reform and foreign relations in the Western Hemisphere. Additionally, he managed the intern program, redesigned Lee’s Web site — winning a Bronze Mouse award for it this year — and helped develop the Congressional Progressive Caucus Web site.

Ayala’s future goals include finishing his master’s at George Washington University in higher education administration policy and running for public office back home. He graduated from DePaul University in 2002 with an undergraduate degree in political science.

The Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc., the largest Latino-based fraternity in the nation, enjoys his active participation, and Ayala, 28, once had the privilege of throwing out the opening pitch at a Chicago White Sox game.

The CHC’s previous communications director, soccer-playing Carlos Sanchez, started as the press adviser for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last month. He is charged with reaching out to the Hispanic press in the U.S. and helping other Congressional offices do the same.

“I know [reaching out to Hispanic media] is very important to her and very important to our members,” he said.

Sanchez, a native of Laredo, Texas, graduated in 2001 from Texas A&M International University with a double major in communications and political science. He has previous experience in other Hill offices and in the areas of social work and education.

Sanchez calls Pelosi an “inspirational Speaker” and his job a “great opportunity.”

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