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Rick Nolan selects former rival Jeff Anderson to be district director

Heading to Washington again, Nolan selects top aides, including Anderson, one of his competitors for the congresssional seat.

As he heads back to Washington, D.C., after a 22-year hiatus, Congressman Rick Nolan has selected his top aides. One is Jeff Anderson, a former Duluth City Council member who competed against Nolan in the DFL primary to select a challenger to Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack.

Nolan prevailed in the primary and went on to beat Cravaack convincingly.

Nolan served three terms in Congress from 1975 to 1981, from a different district.

In announcing that Anderson will be be district director, overseeing congressional offices planned for Duluth and Brainerd, as well as Iron Range and southern locations yet to be determined, Nolan’s office noted:

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An Ely native and 4th 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.

Mike Misterek will be Nolan’s chief of staff.

Nolan’s office also announced:

  • Jim Swiderski, an Onamia native, will be Nolan’s D.C. legislative director, responsible for day-to-day supervision of legislative initiatives and work with various congressional committees and senior legislative staff in other offices. During Nolan’s previous congressional service (1975-81), Swiderski served as staff director for the House Subcommittee on Family Farms & Rural Development, of which Nolan was chairman. He has worked extensively in the U.S. and abroad for international volunteer service organizations.

  • Jodie Torkelson of Thief River Falls, Minn., will be Nolan’s deputy chief of staff in Washington. A former Thief River Falls city administrator, Torkelson was a top aide to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta when he served as President 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, Minn., will be Nolan’s chief scheduler. Yates, who served Nolan in the same position in Washington, D.C. from 1975-81, 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 former U.S. Rep. Gerry Sikorski, D-Red Wing, 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.