Reid Unveils Senior Leadership Staff for 110th Congress; Outgoing DGA Executive Director Penny Lee joins Reid Veterans Darrel Thompson, Randy Devalk and Ron Weich in Key Leadership Office Posts

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 /-USNewswire/ -- Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Wednesday unveiled the team that will guide and direct his leadership office for the 110th Congress. Composed of three veterans of the Reid operation and one new hire, this team will work closely with new Reid Chief of Staff Gary Myrick to craft policy, develop strategy and conduct outreach on behalf of the Majority Leader and Democratic Caucus.

    "From skyrocketing health care costs to the intractable war in Iraq, enormous challenges await the 110th Congress," said Reid. "To meet our obligations to the American people, we're going to have to work in a bipartisan manner. We're going to have to work harder, and we're going to have to focus on results. This team is the best of the best. I have tremendous confidence in their abilities, and know they possess the right mix of talent to lead my office and assist the entire Democratic Caucus as we seek to move America forward."

    A snapshot of Reid's senior leadership staff follows.

    -- Penny Lee, Senior Advisor for Communications and Outreach

    Penny Lee joins Leader Reid's staff as senior advisor for communications and outreach. In this position, she will be responsible for oversight of all communications operations, including message development, policy integration and ongoing implementation to advance the leader's agenda and that of the Senate Democratic caucus. In addition, she will assume outreach responsibilities to targeted advocacy outlets.

    For the past 18 months, Lee has served as the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), which regained the majority of governors for the first time since 1994. Prior to working at the DGA, Lee served three years in Gov. Rendell's administration first as director of public liaison and then as communications director. Before her service with the Rendell Administration, Lee worked at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) concentrating her talents in several positions within the finance department.

    -- Darrel Thompson, Senior Advisor

    A key member of Reid's team for the past two years, Darrel Thompson will continue as senior advisor for the 110th Congress with increased responsibility and oversight for national constituency operations. In this post, he will take on key outreach and Nevada responsibilities of outgoing Chief of Staff Susan McCue, while continuing to handle issues related to organized labor, the African American and Faith Communities, the House leadership and the Senate Steering and Outreach Committee.

    Thompson came to Reid's office in 2005, having previously served as chief of staff for Barack Obama's Senate campaign. Prior to working for Sen. Obama, Thompson served in several senior positions over a five-year period for former House Democratic Leader Richard A. Gephardt.

    -- Randy Devalk, Policy Director

    Randy Devalk will serve as Reid's policy director during the 110th Congress. In this position, Devalk will be responsible for developing policy and providing legislative strategy for the Majority Leader's office and the Democratic caucus.

    A 20-year veteran of Capitol Hill, Devalk has been substantively involved in every major policy debate in Congress in recent years. Prior to joining Reid's team, Devalk served as a senior strategist to former Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. Before that, he was with the Senate Budget Committee for eight years.

    -- Ron Weich, Chief Counsel

    Currently Reid's senior counsel and point person on judicial nominations and Judiciary Committee legislation, Ron Weich becomes chief counsel to the majority leader. As chief counsel, Weich will retain his current duties and also advise Reid on a broader range of policy issues and institutional matters, including legal and constitutional questions.

    Prior to joining Reid's staff in January 2005, Weich spent eight years as a partner in the law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP. Earlier in his career, Weich worked for Sens. Edward Kennedy and Arlen Specter on the Judiciary Committee. He began his legal career as a prosecutor in New York City. Weich is a graduate of Yale Law School and Columbia College.
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