Minnesota’s 8th District Congressman-elect Rick Nolan has appointed five staff members with Minnesota ties to help anchor his congressional staff.
Among the appointments is former Duluth City Council President Jeff Anderson, who was an opponent of Nolan’s in the 2012 DFL primary. Anderson will serve as district director, overseeing congressional offices planned for Duluth and Brainerd, as well as Iron Range and southern locations yet to be determined. An Ely native and fourth generation Iron Ranger, Anderson also served as president of the Duluth Economic Development Authority and was named a “20 under 40” award winner by the Duluth News Tribune for his contributions to the Duluth area.
Onamia native Jim Swiderski will be Nolan’s Washington D.C. legislative director, responsible for day-to-day supervision of legislative initiatives and working with various congressional committees and senior legislative staff in other offices. During Nolan’s previous congressional service (1975-1981), Swiderski served as staff director for the House Subcommittee on Family Farms and Rural Development, which Nolan chaired. He has worked extensively in the U.S. and abroad for international volunteer service organizations.
Jodie Torkelson of Thief River Falls, MN, will be Nolan’s deputy chief of staff in Washington D.C. A former Thief River Falls city administrator, Torkelson was a top aide to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta when he (Panetta) served as President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff. She also worked for Panetta during his time on Capitol Hill as a U.S. Congressman from California.
Ione Yates of Clarissa will be Nolan’s chief scheduler. Yates, who served Nolan in the same position in Washington D.C. from 1975-1981, later spent more than 20 years in consumer and customer relations for Canon USA. She has done extensive volunteer work in Africa, focusing on AIDS prevention, assistance to abused women and childhood education.
Steve Johnson of Red Wing will be Nolan’s communications director. A former director of communications for ex-U.S. Rep. Gerry Sikorski, D-Minn., and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Johnson served as Nolan’s press secretary during his previous time on Capitol Hill. He will leave his position as senior counselor at Ainsley Shea Communications in St. Paul for the new post.
“These senior staffers possess decades of combined experience in public service, business and volunteer work,” Nolan said. “They know Minnesota, they know Capitol Hill and they will hit the ground running to provide exemplary service to the people of the 8th District from day one,” Nolan said.