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Moving Up in Fossella’s Office

Correction Appended

Craig Donner just earned the title of director of communications for Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.). Donner has been working for the Congressman in a variety of positions since 1997.

[IMGCAP(1)]“He’s a great guy to work for, evidenced by the fact that I’ve been with him for 10 years now,” Donner told Climbers. “We have a good group of people who are committed to the idea of public service.”

Donner said he had been filling the role of director of communications for some time, as he has become even more involved in discussing legislation that goes through the office and developing an overall communications strategy.

Donner, a Brooklyn native, works out of the Congressman’s office there, but he said his location “really doesn’t” affect his ability to serve Fossella in Washington, D.C.

“I worked out of the district office since I started with Vito, and we’ve developed a system that worked for us,” Donner said. He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1993 with a double major in economics and journalism.

In his spare time, Donner, 37, plays basketball, softball and goes to the gym. He also spends a lot of time with his 6-year-old son, Daniel, and his 4-year-old daughter, Amanda. He has another baby on the way with his wife, Michelle.

“They keep me very occupied,” he said.

Ryan McKee is Fossella’s new legislative director, having been promoted from the position of legislative assistant. In her new role, McKee continues to take charge of financial services, health care and environmental issues for the Congressman.

McKee is from Toledo, Ohio, and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio University in 2003. She started working for Fossella after graduation. In addition to her positions as legislative assistant and legislative director, McKee has held the roles of staff assistant and legislative correspondent.

McKee, 26, has a lot of good things to say about Fossella’s office.

“[Fossella] represents part of New York City, so it brings [a] higher level of excitement and interest. Every issue affects New York City in some way,” she said.

She has been traveling with Fossella to major financial centers in the United States recently, as the Congressman is now chairman of the Capital Markets, Economic and Information Security Task Force under the House Republican Policy Committee. So far they have visited Chicago, Boston and Atlanta, among other locations.

In her spare time, McKee enjoys running and traveling on her own.

Jon Taets is now Fossella’s deputy communications director. He was promoted from the position of legislative assistant. While he will assume new press duties, he will maintain his legislative assistant issues of telecommunications, judiciary issues and government reform.

Taets has worked for Fossella since 2003 and has served as as the Congressman’s legislative correspondent and staff assistant as well.

“I think he’s been a great guy to work for for the past five years,” Taets said. “I agree with him on most things politically, and I think he’s a very smart Member. He knows how things here are going to affect Staten Island and Brooklyn, and how they play out on a larger scale as well.”

Taets, 28, is from Horseheads, N.Y. He is a graduate of Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., where he earned a degree in political science in 2002. He enjoys basketball, softball and golf, and has been married to his wife, Crystal, for a year and a half.

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Correction: Jan. 14, 2008

The column misstated the gender of Ryan McKee, Rep. Vito Fossella’s (R-N.Y.) new legislative director. McKee is female.

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