Democratic News

Staff Director Bob Simon has completed an outstanding round of recruiting for the 110th Congress, adding six new hires to the Energy Committee’s Democratic staff. These talented professionals bring even greater depth and expertise to a team that already is the best in town on energy and public lands:
 
  • Angela Becker-Dippmann joins ENR from the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell, where since 2001 she had served in roles ranging from Committee LA to Policy and Communications Director.  Before moving from Washington State to Washington, D.C., Angela held editorial and managerial positions at Energy Newsdata Corp. in Seattle.  She is a magna cum laude graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.  Angela works on energy policy issues and special projects.
 
  • Tara Billingsley coordinated international activities for the Energy Information Administration when she moved from Executive Branch to Legislative Branch.  Before that, she briefed the U.S. Energy Secretary on energy security issues and had private sector experience as a policy analyst and project manager.  Tara’s abilities were well known to the Committee, having worked here on detail in 2005.  Her degrees are from Johns Hopkins SAIS and American University and her issues include fuels and energy markets.
 
  • Jonathan Epstein will cover energy research and development and all matters relating to the Department of Energy.  He has a Ph.D. in engineering science and applied mechanics from Virginia Tech, a law degree from the University of Idaho, a master’s of law degree in securities and financial regulation from Georgetown and a post doctorate fellowship at Oxford.  He also was a known to the Committee: Since 2000 he has worked in Chairman Bingaman’s personal office, handling national defense, energy R&D and global competitiveness.
 
  • Rachel Pasternack, Staff Assistant, is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of New Mexico, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree.  As a student, Rachel was active in many organizations, including Albuquerque Council on Foreign Relations, Amnesty International, AIDS Services of New Mexico and Justicia Sin Fronteras.   She will assist with parks, public lands and national forests issues.
 
  • Britni Rillera, Staff Assistant, graduated in 2006 from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in political science.  Her leadership activities as an undergrad included the Young Black Scholars Association, the USC Association for Blacks in Pre-Law and the USC Black Women Investing Club.  Britni will provide support for issues involving energy policy, water and insular affairs.
 
  • Jorge Silva-Bañuelos, Professional Staff, also educated in California, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor degree in international relations and Spanish from the University of San Diego.  Jorge, a New Mexican, has worked since 2004 as Research Director in Chairman Bingaman’s personal office.  On the Committee, his areas of responsibility will include Native American issues and public lands.
 
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