Alexander Announces Staff Changes

Friday, February 01, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Friday announced the following staff changes stemming from his election as the top republican, or ranking member, of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee:

At the committee, Senator Alexander’s current legislative director, David P. Cleary, will serve as Republican staff director, MarySumpter Lapinski will serve as health policy director, Peter Oppenheim will serve as education policy director, Lindsey Ward Seidman will serve as senior policy advisor, and Michael Merrell will serve as chief counsel.

Jim Jeffries will continue to serve as communications director, overseeing press in Alexander’s Senate office and at the HELP committee (Republican). Liz Wolgemuth will move from the Senate office to serve as Republican press secretary for the HELP committee. Brian Reisinger, formerly a reporter for the Nashville Business Journal and new to the office, will serve as press secretary in Sen. Alexander’s office.

In Senator Alexander’s senate office, Allison Martin will serve as deputy legislative director.

David P. Cleary will be the Republican staff director at the HELP committee, and will continue to serve as Senator Alexander's legislative director, an assignment he has held since 2011.  From 2006 to 2011, Mr. Cleary was Alexander’s staff director for the HELP Subcommittee on Children and Families. He previously served as a staff member on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce under then-Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio), and as a legislative analyst for the U.S. Department of Education. Mr. Cleary earned a B.A. in Political Science and Master of Public Administration from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

MarySumpter Lapinski will be health policy director for the committee. Since 2007, she has served as Health Policy Advisor to Senator Alexander. She was manager of Policy & Government Affairs for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Europe from 2005 to 2007 and manager of Federal Government Affairs for Bristol-Myers Squibb in Washington, D.C., from 2002 to 2005.  She also served as director of Government Affairs for Jeffery J. Kimbell & Associates, a medical device lobbying firm in Washington, DC, from 2001 to 2002.  She was health legislative assistant to Senator Bill Frist (R-Tn.) from 1999 to 2001 and a legislative aide to Congressman Van Hilleary (R-Tn.) 1997 to 1999. She earned a B.A. in French and English at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

Peter Oppenheim will be the education policy director and counsel for the committee. He comes to this position after serving the past two years as Senator Alexander’s legislative counsel, advising the Senator on all education, labor, and pensions-related issues. Before joining Senator Alexander’s staff, Mr. Oppenheim was a managing associate in the education practice at Carmen Group, a government relations firm in Washington, DC, from 2007 – 2011, representing institutions of higher education, school districts, and nonprofit organizations. Mr. Oppenheim also served as a research assistant for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) from 2004 to 2006. He holds a J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law and a B.A. from Colby College, in Waterville, Me.

Lindsey Ward Seidman has worked for Senator Alexander since his first Senate campaign in 2002, and served as policy director on his 2008 Senate campaign.  Most recently, Ms. Ward was a professional staff member on the Senate Rules Committee. She earned a B.A. in History at Vanderbilt University. 

Michael Merrell comes to the HELP Committee from the U.S. Senate Rules Committee where he has advised senate republicans on senate rules and procedure, election administration, and campaign finance. Prior to serving on the Rules Committee, he worked for Senator Bob Bennett, who gave him his first job after graduating from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 2005. His legislative experience also includes issues under the jurisdictions of the Judiciary, Commerce, and Finance Committees. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

Allison Martin has served as projects manager and legislative counsel for nearly two years. She previously worked for former Senator Fred Thompson and Majority Leader William H. Frist, M.D.  She previously practiced law in West Tennessee where she grew up. Ms. Martin earned a B.A. in Political Science from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University.


Unum Appoints David Hill As New AVP Of Aviation

David Hill has joined Unum as assistant vice president of aviation, where he will oversee the company’s corporate aviation team of 13 that is based in Chattanooga. Mr. Hill joins Unum following an 18 year career with Duke Energy in Charlotte, N.C., where he led a fleet of 10 and a team of 42. A veteran, Mr. Hill dedicated 27 years to the U.S. National Guard, and 10 years ... (click for more)

Clint Powell: I Can Do That Myself!

Asking tough questions is sometimes…well…tough! That just makes sense right? However, knowing that tough questions are tough to ask…doesn’t mean they are still not…well...tough! Shoot…I did it again. Captain Obvious on the job. Well, what kind of tough questions are we talking about? There are quite a few I could spend time on. ‘How old are you?’ – ‘How much do you weigh?’ – ‘Is ... (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $8 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Wamp Refuses To Stoop

With less than two weeks before the Aug. 7 th election and the last week of early voting now underway in Hamilton County, Congressional challenger Weston Wamp sounded upbeat and relaxed early yesterday afternoon. “I’m pleased to say that I believe we are right where we need to be … maybe even more than we had hoped.” Wamp, who is challenging two-term incumbent Chuck Fleishmann ... (click for more)