EMERGENCY LANDING. Rachel Racusen has been named director of public affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She was previously communications director under House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller, where she had been since February 2006. Before that, she worked at Dittus Communications, a public affairs firm specializing in crisis communications. The native Bostonian graduated from New York's Union College in 2004 and cut her teeth as a political operative and field organizer during the unsuccessful 2004 Senate campaign of South Carolina Democrat Inez Tenenbaum.
MARCHANT MARINES. A number of promotions and changes have been made in the office of Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas. Among the newly hired is Brian Werstler, who will serve as a legislative assistant dealing with financial services, the hot issue of the moment. Werstler was once an aide to former Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Ohio. Marchant also brought on Donelle Harder to be a new media and online communications adviser. Harder got experience in media relations at the Pinkston Group. Scott Cunningham was recently promoted from policy director to legislative director for Marchant. Ryan Moy, formerly a legislative correspondent, is now communications director in the office. In addition, moving from staff assistants to legislative correspondents are Maddie Kempf and David Haines.
BENCH PLAYER. Vincent A. Eng, who is joining the Raben Group as a principal, has spent over a decade assisting Asian-American nominees to the federal bench. But with the election of President Obama, his job has gotten a whole lot easier. The president "is very much aware of the lack of diversity in the federal judiciary and has worked very hard to ensure a diverse judiciary. Assuming all the Asian-American nominees get confirmed, he has doubled the amount of Asian nominees in the federal judiciary," Eng says. He comes to the Raben Group from the Asian American Justice Center, where he worked for 10 years, first as legal director and more recently as deputy director. He received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University, and both a law degree and a master's in criminal justice from American University. He teaches a course on Asian-Americans in the judiciary at Columbia University and is the author or editor of more than 10 books. At the Raben Group, Eng will continue as a "handler" for Asian-American nominees. The Raben Group is headed by Robert Raben, who formerly worked for Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and was Democratic counsel on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property.
This article appears in the May 29, 2010, edition of National Journal Daily.