Senator Carper Announces Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Staffing Changes

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced the following changes to the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee staff:

Richard J. Kessler has been named Staff Director. Dr. Kessler most recently served as the Democratic Staff Director of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. He was appointed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee as Staff Director by then Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-CA) in November 2008. Prior to his work on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dr. Kessler served as Staff Director and Democratic Staff Director for several committee and subcommittee positions including the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; the Subcommittee on Financial Management, the Budget and International Security of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs; the Subcommittee formerly known as the Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services. While there, he worked extensively on legislation relating to national missile defense, export controls, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, national security staffing, and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (PL 107-296). He also served as the Democratic Professional Staff Member of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Committee from 1994-1999, where he was responsible for all foreign policy and trade issues for then Ranking Member Howard L. Berman (D-CA). Prior to joining the International Relations Committee, Dr. Kessler worked on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee for Sen. Alan Cranston (D-CA) and Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI) as their principal foreign policy adviser assigned as Staff Director of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee.

A Sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1970-1973, Dr. Kessler served in Vietnam where he was awarded a Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Vietnamese Medal of Honor, and two battle stars.  He was assigned as an instructor at the U.S. Army Intelligence School at Fort Huachuca. He holds a Ph.D., M.A.L.D., and M.A. degrees from The Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy with a concentration in International Development Studies and a B.A. from Colgate University in 1970 with a major in French and Western European Studies.

John Kilvington has been named Deputy Staff Director. Since 2005, Mr. Kilvington has served as Staff Director and Democratic Staff Director for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security.  He has been Sen. Carper’s lead staffer on issues and legislation that have come before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and its predecessor, the Governmental Affairs Committee, since 2001.  During his time in the Senate, he has worked extensively on legislation related to the Postal Service, the National Archives, bankruptcy and legal reform, cybersecurity, and a number of efforts to combat waste, fraud, and abuse throughout the federal government. He has also led subcommittee investigations of management problems during the 2010 decennial Census, Medicare and Medicare waste and fraud, and federal information technology management. Prior to coming to the Senate, Mr. Kilvington worked on then-Governor Carper’s 2000 campaign for the Senate. Mr. Kilvington earned a degree from the University of Delaware in English and Political Science.   

Beth Grossman has been named Chief Counsel. Ms. Grossman has been on the staff of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee since 2002 and has served as the Committee’s Chief Counsel since 2010. During her time with the Committee, she has played key roles in the investigations into the collapse of Enron Corp and the response to Hurricane Katrina and has worked on many of the significant pieces of legislation that have originated in the Committee, including the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act and the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act.  Prior to coming to the Senate, Ms. Grossman was an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission, where she handled false advertising cases and started the FTC’s program to assist victims of identity theft. Ms. Grossman is a graduate of Brown University, Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government. 

Emily Spain has been named Communications Director. Ms. Spain will oversee both Sen. Carper’s committee and personal office press operations. Ms. Spain has served as Sen. Carper’s Communications Director since March 2010. She joined Sen. Carper’s office after working in the House of Representatives for Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Calif.). Ms. Spain began her time in Congresswoman Capps’s office in 2006 serving as Communications Director. Prior to working in the House, Ms. Spain spent a number of years working for various federal, state, and local campaigns as well as non-profit organizations both inside and outside of Washington, D.C. Her experience in campaign work includes serving as Press Secretary for now Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) during his 2008 Senate campaign. Ms. Spain, a California native, graduated from the University of California Los Angeles, earning a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science.