House Republican Leader John A. Boehner will add a familiar voice to his staff next year with the addition of Antonia Ferrier to his communications team.
Ferrier joins the Boehner team from her post as communications director to outgoing Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.), the no. 2 Republican in the House who is stepping down from his elected leadership post next year.
Since the election, Boehner has done everything possible to consolidate power in the House and make himself the most prominent Republican voice next year when Barack Obama moves into the White House and Democrats expand their majorities in both chambers.
Ferrier will help in this effort by serving as his principal spokesperson for the White House press corps, freeing Boehner Press Secretary Michael Steel to deal exclusively with the congressional media. The genial and energetic Ferrier will be responsible for pushing back on all the news generated at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Ferrier, who worked for moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine before coming to the House in 2007, is popular with reporters, but enjoys occasionally locking horns over contentious stories and doesn't shy from policy questions. She served as deputy communications director under former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Most expected her to return to the Senate after Blunt opted to relinquish the whip post next year.
In a series of year-end staff moves, Boehner-land also welcomes two new policy aides: Katherine Haley, who most recently developed policy and coalitions for Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra, will advise the leader on education, labor and social policy; and David Stewart, the deputy chief of staff and legislative director for defeated Pennsylvania Rep. Phil English, will oversee Ways and Means issues.
In addition, Boehner counsel George Rogers will add financial services issues to a portfolio that already incudes issues before the Judiciary Committee.