IN THE FRONT PEW. Tamera Stanton Luzzatto is joining the Pew Charitable Trusts as managing director of government relations. She is a veteran of Capitol Hill, having served as chief of staff to former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. from 2001-09. At Pew, she will manage the nonprofit's relationships with all levels of government in the United States and abroad. Luzzatto graduated from Harvard University in 1979 and joined the staff of Sen. John (Jay) Rockefeller, D-W.Va., in 1985. Beginning as a legislative assistant, Luzzatto later served as Rockefeller's legislative director, a post she held for nearly a decade, before becoming chief of staff in 1998. But Luzzatto is most known for her time working under Clinton. "During our eight years in the Senate together, I relied on Tamera's advice, judgment and uncanny ability to build partnerships on both sides of the aisle," Secretary of State Clinton said in a statement. "Her passion, pragmatism and mastery of both policy and process make Tamera an excellent choice to lead Pew's outreach efforts." When she is away from the Hill, Luzzatto serves on the board of the Washington Bach Consort, a baroque choral group, and is active in the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church. "This is just what one hopes for after a career that I have already had, and that is to be able to draw on many, many years of working in Congress but also on public policy, from what I call animal welfare to Zaire," Luzzatto said. "In working for two senators, as well as on various boards, and with other nonprofits in a previous life, I ended up finding myself never being a specialist and instead constantly being asked to be, basically, an orchestra conductor."
FIGHTING ILLINI. Though a relative newcomer, Dena Craig has already discerned one of Washington's fundamental characteristics: "It seems like a very transient place. People are always coming and going," says Craig, the new communications director and press secretary for Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas. The native of Illinois came to Johnson's staff from the reality TV show "Judge Mathis," where she was a producer. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Craig went on to earn a journalism degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She has more than 15 years of experience producing nationally syndicated television shows. She has also helped develop media strategies for corporate giants Sony and Kinko's, prior to its merger with FedEx. But even if the "jargon is totally different" than what she is used to, Craig says she knows how to assert her new boss' agenda when dealing with the press from "having been on the other side."
This article appears in the May 29, 2010 edition of NJ Daily.