Dianne Feinstein names new chief of staff

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a new chief of staff.

Feinstein & Duck circa 2011Jennifer Duck, 42, will be based in Washington and will oversee a staff of 70 in Washington, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. She replaces Chris Thompson, who is returning to California after nearly a decade of working for DiFi in D.C.

Duck since August 2009 has served as vice president of government relations and corporate leadership for Pfizer, Inc., the international pharmaceutical and consumer products company.

Earlier, Duck was staff director and chief counsel to Feinstein, D-Calif., on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2005 to 2009. Duck has also worked as counsel to former Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.; counsel to U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; and senior policy advisor for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

Duck also worked in the Clinton Administration at the Labor Department’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, managing outreach to state and local officials as well as Congress. In 2008, she worked on the Obama presidential transition with teams for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Management and Budget, the CIA and the Department of Labor. Duck holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and a law degree from Emory University.

“I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer Duck back to my team,” Feinstein said in a statement issued this morning. “Jennifer is a seasoned Capitol Hill aide with deep experience in both the public and private sectors, familiarity with the executive and legislative branches of government, and significant policy expertise. I will rely on her counsel and good judgment as we advance a busy legislative agenda and work for the people of California.”

“I want to thank Chris Thompson for his dedication and service,” Feinstein added. “For nearly a decade Chris has been a trusted advisor and a friend. He has been an instrumental part of the team, and I’m sorry to lose him.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.