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‘Deep Bench’ Lets Blumenauer Promote 5 Staffers From Within | Hill Climbers

The recent departure of deputy chief of staff and counsel Janine Benner helped set off a number of promotions in Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s D.C. office. And they’ve got the bicycle lapel pins made famous by their boss at the ready.

New Deputy Chief of Staff David Skillman stepped into the position from his previous legislative director role. Skillman first joined the Oregon Democrat’s staff in 2007 as a legislative assistant and has focused heavily on tax issues.

The newest senior legislative assistants, Tyler Frisbee and Michael Harold, were promoted from legislative assistant roles.

Frisbee has contributed to the congressman’s signature issues, including transportation, agriculture, energy and the environment.

“We have a deep bench in this office,” Blumenauer said. “Being able to promote from within and take advantage of the years of experience that my staff has built up serving the 3rd District of Oregon is a real asset to me and my constituents. These are challenging times in Congress, and I’m grateful to have such excellent and dedicated people to work with.”

Harold will continue to focus on Blumenauer’s defense, trade and international work as part of his role on the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee.

Stephanie Phillips was promoted from legislative correspondent to full legislative assistant. She will support the congressman’s efforts on national drug and gun laws, while assisting with work related to the Budget Committee.

Paul Balmer was moved from staff assistant to legislative correspondent.

Benner, who is married to Greg Dotson, the minority staff director for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, got a grand send-off from Blumenauer last month on the floor.

“Ms. Benner joined our offices as a legislative assistant in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and leaves having seen Congress at its best and worst — the near meltdown of the economy, wars and the shutdown,” Blumenauer said. “She has seen landmark legislation and made important contributions to many. She knows that we often make it harder than it should be, but that didn’t stop her or discourage her. History will judge what Congress has accomplished in her 12 years, but there’s no doubt that Ms. Benner made it better with her countless daily actions behind the scenes and helping in meeting with thousands of people, listening, learning and helping them understand the mysterious ways of their government and how to be more effective.”

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