From Whip to Whip

Posted January 15, 2008 at 4:37pm

Nick Simpson has switched from being a press secretary for then-Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R- Miss.) to being one for House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.).

[IMGCAP(1)]Simpson came to the Hill after working for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal as a police reporter. He is a 2004 graduate of the University of Mississippi, where he completed a double major in political science and journalism.

“I think it’s a great move,” he said of his new job. “I can put down that I’ve worked for both the Senate and the House Whips, so I guess I’ve typecasted myself. But I guess it’s a pretty good typecast to have.”

Simpson, 25, said he got a tennis racquet for Christmas, so he wants to learn how to play. In the meantime, he does know how to play golf, and enjoys it.

He is from Wiggins, Miss. “It sounds as big in real life as when you spell it out,” he noted.

His wife, Meredith, also is familiar with the Hill. She used to work for Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

Two Aces for Arcuri. During two summer breaks when he was attending St. Lawrence University, Chris Wilcox was a mascot for the Oneonta Tigers, a minor league baseball team in New York.

After graduating from St. Lawrence in 2000, he went on to obtain a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a law degree from Albany Law School in 2007.

[IMGCAP(2)]Now, the 30-year-old is legislative counsel for Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.). Wilcox brings a host of experience to the office. He was a regional staff assistant in the Oneonta office of former Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D-N.Y.) for the summers of 1999 and 2000, and had a part-time internship in Moynihan’s

Washington office during the spring of 1998. Wilcox also interned in the Washington office of former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) during the summer 1997.

As legislative counsel for Arcuri, Wilcox primarily will take on transportation and infrastructure issues. He also will handle energy, environment, tax, judiciary, Indian affairs and appropriations work.

Wilcox said his most embarrassing moment on the Hill dates back to when he was an intern. Wilcox asked a close personal friend of a Congressman’s to spell his name.

“The name was initials; he was not pleased to be asked to spell them,” Wilcox said in an e-mail.

Wilcox’s hometown is Oneonta, N.Y.

Sylvia Stanojev also joined Arcuri’s office, as his new legislative aide and correspondent. She will deal with the areas of housing, banking, small business and consumer protection.

Stanojev is from Queens, N.Y., and was most recently a scheduler in the office of Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.). She earned bachelor’s degrees in sociology and political science from Boston University in 2006.

She said one of her goals is learning to drive.

A San Diegan at Heart. Kurt Bardella started as press secretary for Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) at the end of December after working for Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) as his press secretary.

Bardella is happy about the move.

“The opportunity to work for someone who is so well-regarded from a public policy standpoint was just a phenomenal opportunity,” he said.

Bardella originally is from Rochester, N.Y., but said he has “spent more time in San Diego than anywhere else,” and that he considers himself a San Diegan.

“It’s 72 and sunny every day of the year — what’s not to like?” he said.

Before he came to the Hill, Bardella was a producer and reporter for KBAK, a CBS affiliate in Bakersville, Calif. He said he loves his career working with the media.

“Nothing is more powerful than public perception,” he said. “And working in the press, you have opportunity to shape public perception every day on a wide variety of issues.

“Being able to advance public policies that you do believe in is one of the remarkable things about Capitol Hill.”

Bardella, 24, also loves playing sports, especially basketball and football. And he likes watching baseball.

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