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A Brand New Day at Ensign’s Office

He drives a Ducati motorcycle, is a Sting fan and “always works in the pursuit of freedom.” He has dark glasses and dark hair. And suburban Berea, Ohio, seems like the last place one would find him. But that’s where Otto Mucklo, a new legislative assistant in the office of Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), is from. [IMGCAP(1)]

Mucklo, 33, is a graduate of Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. He came to Ensign’s office from the House Budget Committee, where he worked most recently as a policy assistant and budget analyst. Before that, he worked on the House Education and Workforce Committee under former Rep. William Goodling (R-Pa.).

Mucklo isn’t the only new addition at Ensign’s office. Mike Ragsdale, Ensign’s new legislative assistant for military issues, started out his career in telecom sales and as a quality assurance analyst for what was then the Immigration and Naturalization Service. But he decided he had another calling.

“I was literally looking out my cubicle one day and thought, ‘I’m not doing anything I’m passionate about,’” Ragsdale recalled.

Ragsdale, now 33, packed up and went to Officer Candidate School for the U.S. Navy.

After spending five years there as an intelligence officer, his last stop before Ensign’s office was the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Directorate for Human Intelligence.

Ragsdale, from Modesto, Calif., earned a double degree in political science and sociology from San Diego State University in 1996.

Taking a new role on Ensign’s staff is Jason Mulvihill. He came at a good time given that Ensign was just appointed to the Senate Finance Committee.

Mulvihill will be working on tax and trade issues as new chief counsel in the office. He was promoted from a position as senior counsel for science, technology and innovation for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. There, he worked for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Ensign.

Mulvihill, who likes golf but says he is not good at it, worked on the America COMPETES Act, aimed at increasing research investment, education in science and math, and developing innovation infrastructure. Before the Hill, he worked in antitrust law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in D.C. and for Crusader Entertainment in Los Angeles.

A member of the New York State Bar and the D.C. Bar, he earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in 1999 and his law degree from Columbia University. [IMGCAP(2)]

This was a good year for Mulvihill since he’s a Red Sox fan. He also got married in August.

Jennifer Cooper is the new press assistant for Ensign, and a May 2007 graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. There, she also was the Nevada executive director for College Republicans. Cooper was born in northern Nevada and raised in Las Vegas.

Before stepping into the press assistant role, Cooper was a press intern in Ensign’s Washington, D.C., office. During the 2004 elections, she was a volunteer youth coordinator for the Bush/Cheney presidential campaign.

Michelle Spence earned a promotion and now is senior legislative assistant to the minority staff director of the Finance Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy, where Ensign is the ranking member.

Her additional area of responsibility is health care, including Medicare, Medicaid and public health. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Spence, originally from Camarillo, Calif., recently ran the Marine Corps Marathon, her third road race of that distance. She said she likes Ensign’s office because he is so “passionate about health care and entitlement programs.”

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