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July 20, 2010

RAYTHEON VEEP. Mark T. Esper has been named vice president of government relations for Raytheon Co. He joins the company from the Global Intellectual Property Center, where he was executive vice president, and from a stint as vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Previously, he was a senior scholar at the National Institute for Public Policy, a vice president at the Aerospace Industries Association and chief of staff at the Heritage Foundation. Until February 2008, Esper was national policy director for the 2008 presidential campaign of former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn. Before that, he was director of national security affairs for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and policy director for the House Armed Services Committee and a senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Government Affairs committees. He also was legislative director and senior policy adviser for former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. A retired Army lieutenant colonel, Esper worked at the Pentagon from 2002 to 2004 as deputy assistant secretary for negotiations policy.

ERICA'S SONG. A longtime actor and singer, Erica Elliott applies her talents to an entirely different sort of stage these days: Capitol Hill. For the past two years, she has honed her skills as press secretary and communications director in the office of Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J. Now she is putting them to work as communications director for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Born into a military family, Elliott moved frequently as a child. She spent six years in northern Virginia during the 1990s, then moved to Alabama, where she pursued a master's in communications at Auburn University. As a grad student, Elliot taught public relations and drew on everything from Britney Spears' latest media disaster to news from the political world to illustrate the dos and don'ts of PR. The teaching stoked a passion for politics, and she moved to Washington in 2008. Despite her inexperience, Elliott struck gold early on, landing a job in Garrett's office during the financial meltdown. Now in McCarthy's office, Elliott is poised to continue working on small business and financial services issues and pushing a jobs agenda.

ENGLISH MAJOR. Julia W. Lawless, most recently press secretary for Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, is joining Story Partners, a public relations firm launched this year by Gloria Dittus, who also founded Direct Impact and Dittus Communications (now FD Dittus). Lawless, a native of Pennsylvania, attended Mercyhurst College, interning for former Rep. Phil English, R-Pa., during her senior year. She was "hired right out of college" as English's staff assistant, and was promoted several times, eventually becoming his communications director. "I've spent nearly a decade on Capitol Hill," says Lawless, "so this is an exciting new endeavor for me."

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