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Happy to Help Hare

Rep. Phil Hare (D-Ill.) has picked Tom O’Donnell as his new chief of staff and O’Donnell, a native of Boonville, N.Y., is very excited about the new position.

[IMGCAP(1)]“[Hare’s] leadership and passion to help working families has been a real inspiration to me from his days working for [then-Rep.] Lane Evans [D-Ill.] to his current service in Congress,” O’Donnell told Climbers in an e-mail. “I’m looking forward to helping him and our entire team achieve its goals in the years ahead.”

Before joining Hare, O’Donnell, 44, was the chief of staff for Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.). O’Donnell also spent 13 years working for Evans, who decided not to seek re-election in 2006. He graduated from the State University of New York-Plattsburgh.

“Tom is extremely bright and capable, and he understands the values of 17th district families,” Hare said. “I have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead my entire operation into the future.”

O’Donnell replaces Dennis King, who served as Evans’ chief of staff for 24 years and then went on to become Hare’s staff leader.

A Close Call. Things could have turned out much worse for Daniel Murray after he opened a door and nearly took out his boss while a group of staffers looked on (true story). But apparently Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) didn’t take too much offense, because Allard just promoted Murray to the position of deputy legislative assistant.

Murray previously held the positions of staff assistant and legislative correspondent; his experience also includes local campaign work in Colorado.

[IMGCAP(2)]Murray, 24, is in the midst of completing a master’s degree in government at Johns Hopkins University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado.

In his new position, Murray works with the military legislative assistant, Karen Yasumura, to develop and implement the Senator’s defense, foreign affairs and veterans affairs policy objectives.

In his spare time, he is a member of the Capital Alumni Network, where he plays softball, football and basketball for the University of Colorado’s alumni team. He doesn’t like “The Simpsons,” hates reality TV, never procrastinates and loves classical music.

He said he is “looking forward to working on defense and foreign affairs, issues I care deeply about.”

Yasumura is also new to her job. She told Climbers she is a “preschool dropout.” But that doesn’t seem to have affected her much. Yasumura went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in political science and leadership studies from the University of Denver and is currently studying national security at the Naval War College. She is from Arvada, Colo.

“I moved to D.C. right after graduating from DU in January of 2006, and have worked for Senator Allard on his Defense team since then,” Yasumura told Climbers in an e-mail. “Basically, my main aspiration at this point in my career is just to continue my work within the National Security realm and do my part to contribute to our national defense as a civilian.”

Yasumura is 23. She looks up to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for professional inspiration and says that her family is responsible for “so much of her strength and encouragement.”

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