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W.Va. natives among Capito’s new Senate staff

WASHINGTON – Senior staff appointments and a new communications director were announced on Thursday by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

Capito named Ashley Berrang as communications director.

Berrang is vice president of communications at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank founded by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell.

She will join Capito’s staff in February after more than six years at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Berrang is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and began her career in Washington working for a bipartisan government relations and public affairs firm.

Other senior staff appointments are:

* Joel Brubaker, chief of staff. Brubaker has been Capito’s chief of staff since 2005 and worked for two other members of Congress. He graduated from Gettysburg College. He has an MBA from American University.

* Amy Graham, deputy communications director. Graham most recently led communications for Capito’s campaign. She previously worked for a member of Congress, Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and Florida governors Rick Scott and Jeb Bush.

She attended Florida State University and has a master’s in Applied American Politics and Policy.

* Adam Tomlinson, legislative director. Tomlinson is a native of Cross Lanes, W.Va., and previously was Capito’s legislative director in the House of Representatives. Capito represented the 2nd District of West Virginia.

He was an associate at Steptoe & Johnson and has a bachelor’s from American University and a law degree from West Virginia University where he was managing editor of the West Virginia Law Review.

* Jan Brunner, senior energy policy adviser. Brunner is a native of Bluefield, W.Va. She was senior counsel for fossil energy on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and as senior energy adviser for Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

She is a graduate of Trinity College, has a master’s from the University of Leeds where she studied as a Fulbright scholar and has a law degree from the University of Virginia

* J.T. Jezierski, legislative assistant. Jezierski is a native of Weirton, W.Va., and a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University. He previously worked for Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va.

He served in the Bush Administration at the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and for NASA. He also worked on Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns and has a master’s from Regent University.

* Victoria Weaver, legislative assistant. Weaver, a native of Philippi, W.Va., for four years worked for Capito in the House of Representatives. She is a graduate of Philip Barbour High School, has a master’s in public administration from West Virginia University and a dual bachelor’s in international affairs and psychology from Marshall University.

* Mary Elisabeth Eckerson, state director. Eckerson is a native of Dunbar, W.Va., and has worked for Capito since 2007 as district director. She spent 16 years as communications manager at the West Virginia Housing Development Fund.

She has a bachelor’s from Hollins University and a master’s in communication studies from West Virginia University.

* Aaron Sporck, director of economic development. A native of Charleston, Sporck is based in Charleston and is responsible for identifying economic opportunities in West Virginia. He has worked for Capito for 14 years, most recently as deputy chief of staff in the House of Representatives.

He has a bachelor’s from Furman University and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

* Lauren Russell, director of scheduling. Russell graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in government. She served as Capito’s scheduler in the House of Representatives and also worked for two other members of Congress.

* Jim Durrett, director of operations. Durrett has worked in the United States Senate for nine years. He previously worked for two other senators and the secretary of the Senate.

Durrett is a graduate of Austin Peay State University where he earned a degree in political science.

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