U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine announced Monday that he has added new members to his Virginia and Washington, D.C.-based Senate staff.
“I’m proud to announce such a talented and diverse set of individuals have joined my Senate team,” Kaine said in a news release. “John Knapp and his team bring years of experience as well as a deep understanding of the Commonwealth to our operation that will serve Virginia well. And in Washington, this team of policy experts is already hard at work helping me navigate a wide array of important issues affecting Virginians. This entire team is driven by a strong commitment to public service and I’m so pleased to have them on board.”
The new statewide and Northern Virginia-based additions to Kaine's staff include:
John Knapp, State Director: Knapp joins Kaine’s team after recently retiring from a 29-year business career at Verizon that spanned a wide variety of functions including government and regulatory affairs, engineering, operations, and public affairs. Knapp retired in 2005 as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Virginia Army National Guard after a 24-year career which included commanding a combat engineer battalion. He has devoted significant time to service on non-profit and government boards and commissions. Knapp lives in the Ginter Park area of the City of Richmond with his wife Fay and son Johnny.
Keren Charles Dongo, Deputy State Director: Dongo was most recently director of the Democratic Coordinated Campaign, which worked to elect Kaine to the Senate, re-elect President Barack Obama and elect Democratic congressional members to the House. In addition to serving as deputy field director at the ONE Campaign, Dongo brings extensive Virginia experience having served as an adviser to U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Outreach and Political Director of the 2008 Democratic Coordinated Campaign.
Jose “Joe” Montano, Regional Director (Northern Virginia): For the past eight years, Joe has worked in electoral politics, including stints with the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party of Virginia. He served as the Outer Northern Virginia Political director for Sen. Kaine's campaign. Prior to campaign work, he served as the national vice chair of the Filipino Civil Rights Advocates and the executive director of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, where he worked primarily on civil rights, veterans’ equity and immigration reform advocacy. In 2009, then-Gov. Kaine appointed him to the Virginia Asian Advisory Board. He originally hails from Norfolk and is a graduate of The George Washington University.
Washington, D.C.-based staff:
Sergio Aguirre, Legislative Assistant (Foreign Policy): Aguirre is a Brookings Institution fellow from the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy. Prior to joining Kaine’s legislative team, Aguirre was the special assistant to the under secretary of Defense for Policy (Michele Flournoy and then Jim Miller). Prior to that, Aguirre worked for two years on the National Security Council Staff at the White House in the Middle East and North Africa office, focusing on the transitions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and working on U.S. policy toward Jordan, Algeria and Morocco. Before his time at the White House, Aguirre spent three years in the Middle East policy office at the Pentagon, participated in a short rotation to the State Department on the Colombia desk, and has experience working for the Air Force on international space research and development agreements. Aguirre is a graduate of Georgia Tech.
Nick Barbash, Legislative Assistant (Energy and the Environment): Barbash served as legislative aide for the last four years in Sen. Herb Kohl’s office, handling primarily energy and environment issues. Previously he worked on the Balkans program at the National Democratic Institute and interned for the House Rules Committee and People for the American Way. Barbash is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and an M.S. candidate at Johns Hopkins University.
Karen Courington, Legislative Assistant (Military and Defense): Courington joins Kaine’s staff after a year on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. As a Presidential Management Fellow, Courington also served in the immediate office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, at the White House Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek, Namibia and for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans. Courington has been an advocate for veterans and spearheaded Deutsche Bank’s Veterans on Wall Street program. She is a Major in the Air Force Reserve and served on active duty as a C-17 pilot. Courington is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Georgetown University.
Maribel Ramos, Legislative Assistant (Education, Health, Immigration): Ramos is a veteran of Virginia politics and most recently served in Sen. Jim Webb’s policy office in D.C. working on education, health, immigration women and children’s issues. She previously served as Assistant to the Governor for Policy in Kaine’s gubernatorial administration. Ramos began her career in Virginia politics in 2002 in then-Gov.Warner’s administration working in his Constituent Services office and serving as the first Latino Liaison in the Governor’s office. She has also worked in the public policy office of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Ramos is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.
Ron Storhaug, Legislative Assistant (Budget): Storhaug joins Kaine’s office as a Legislative Assistant handling a portfolio of issues including budget, financial services, tax and social security. Most recently Storhaug was employed at Deloitte & Touche LLP where he was an Enterprise Risk Management Consultant deployed on federal and commercial consulting engagements around the country. Prior to that he was on staff at the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget under Sen. Kent Conrad where he focused on economic issues. Storhaug is a graduate of North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D.