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Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands) has a new prescription for one of her chief ailments: the need for a chief of staff.
The first-term congresswoman has hired a former drug company lobbyist to fill her top staff position. This month, Jerome Murray has taken over as chief of staff for the lawmaker.
For four years previously, Murray worked for Merck as their director of U.S. policy and government relations. He registered to lobby on a variety of issues related to health care including non-intervention in Medicare, drug patent policies, Affordable Care Act implementation and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
Murray has held several positions on the Hill in the past, beginning with a five-year stint in the office of Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.). After serving as Fattah's legislative director, Murray took on the role of associate director for the Senate Democratic Conference Committee under Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). He returned to the House in 2009 as Rep. G.K. Butterworth's (D-N.C.) legislative director.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has turned to his home state to hire a new legislative assistant.
Mary Martha Henson started with Cochran in August after leaving her position as an executive director at the Mississippi Economic Development Council. She has past experience on the Hill as a staff assistant and legislative assistant for Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) from 2003 to 2009.
After her previous stint in Congress, Henson also worked at the Mississippi Biotechnology Association and registered to lobby for Capitol Resources LLC while serving as a government relations professional.
Henson lobbied for a range of organizations, including the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency Inc. and the Mississippi Farm Bureau between 2009 and 2010.
As Congress emerges from an August recess, Republicans are returning with a more than three-to-one advantage in engaging with their constituents in town halls.
Republicans in both chambers collectively hosted 572 events since the start of recess at the end of July in the House and in early August in the Senate, compared to Democrats' 142. The divide was 427 Republican town halls in the House to Democrats' 136 and 145 Senate Republican town halls to Democrats' six.
Republicans also have the top 10 slots for members with the most town halls this year. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) leads with 140 compared to Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) with 133 and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) with 55.
The vast majority of events the town halls were in person, though several members in the House also held radio, telephone, Twitter and Facebook events.
The numbers are according to tracking by LegiStorm, which continues to add town halls from the last few weeks. The list includes only events where the member was a direct participant.
A former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) staffer has gained a healthy interest in the lobbying world.
Philip Goglas has started as a legislative associate at the Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington, where he will be helping to represent client interests on Capitol Hill, according to his LinkedIn profile. Goglas served as Zeldin's executive assistant between January and May.
Goglas has not yet filed a lobbying registration, but his new employer regularly registers to lobby for a variety of clients. This year the organization has lobbied on behalf of the American Liver Foundation, the Crohns and Colitis Foundation and the National Council for Diversity in Health Professions, among others.
Goglas has a 2014 bachelor's in government and politics from University of Maryland College Park. He also coordinated volunteers for Zeldin's campaign and worked as a firefighter for the Central Islip Fire Department until taking his position with the congressman in January.
House Homeland Security Committee Republicans have secured a lobbyist for their staff.
Cindy Boyd joined the committee as director of member services and coalitions last month, a few months after leaving her job as senior associate at Townsend Public Affairs.
Boyd has registered to lobby since 2013 for a variety of clients, including cities across California such as Laguna Beach, Berkeley and San Pablo. She has also lobbied for community college districts, the Oakland Zoo and the Discovery Science Center.
Boyd lobbied on issues such as municipal government, conservation funding and Pell grant funding. She has past experience at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Department of Homeland Security and CACI International Inc. as well as with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver.
The new committee staffer studied sociology at San Diego State University and has a bachelor's in security management in 2014 from Bellevue University.
We spend a large part of our days looking at data. Documents often come in by the dozens and hundreds. And while most are boring - how interesting can staring at a phone directory or salary records be, for example? - we find daily reasons for interest, amusement or even concern packed in the documents. So we are launching a new running feature that we call "Caught our Eye."
Longer than tweets but shorter than most blog posts, Caught our Eye items will bring back the interest in reviewing documents and researching people. Some items might bring hard, breaking news. Others will raise eyebrows and lead some into further inquiry. Others might be good for a joke or two around the water cooler. All will enlighten about the people or workings of Capitol Hill.
Caught our Eye items will be published each morning for LegiStorm Pro subscribers. Non-Pro site users will be able to receive the news items a few hours later. In addition to having immediate access to the news, LegiStorm Pro users will have a handy way to search and browse all past items.