Congress

Tillis promoted to Senate whip team; loses top staffer to Trump White House

FILE – Sen. Thom Tillis R-N.C., heads to a roll call vote in the U.S. Senate on Jan. 12, 2015. Tillis will serve on the 115th Congress Republican Senate Whip Team.
FILE – Sen. Thom Tillis R-N.C., heads to a roll call vote in the U.S. Senate on Jan. 12, 2015. Tillis will serve on the 115th Congress Republican Senate Whip Team. AP

North Carolina’s junior U.S. senator and former speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives, Thom Tillis, has picked up a promotion to the U.S. Senate Republican Whip Team – whose job is with wrangling the necessary 60 votes in the chamber to move bills forward.

In accepting the post, Tillis said he’d work across the aisle with Democrats.

“The American people sent a clear message in November that they want to see less gridlock and more results out of Washington,” Tillis said in a news statement. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support common-sense solutions that will help create jobs, grow our economy, and strengthen our nation’s military.”

U.S. Sen. Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, called Tillis as “effective partner” with Democrats and fellow Republicans, notably on veteran’s issues and criminal justice system changes.

Tillis was first elected to a six-year Senate term in 2014, ousting former Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. Since then, he’s tended to stake out more moderate legislative positions than he once did in the North Carolina Statehouse.

Prior to President-elect Donald Trump winning the Republican Party nomination, Tillis endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for president.

Also, one of Tillis’ top Senate staffers is headed to Trump’s White House policy team.

Tillis’ office announced Monday he’s appointed Courtney Temple as his next legislative director – a position left open after staffer Katy Talento was picked by Trump’s team to serve on the administration’s Domestic Policy Council. Talento will oversee health-care policy.

Washington, D.C.-based news publication Roll Call reported Monday on Temple as one of the few African-Americans serving in a senior role in a U.S. Senate office. Temple joined Tillis’ office in 2015. She most recently served as a senior legislative assistant. Her background includes working as a legislative director for former Nevada Rep. Joe Heck and as government relations director for the U.S. Travel Association.

“Courtney is a legislative all-star, whose work ethic and passion for public policy is unmatched,” Tillis said in a statement.

Anna Douglas: 202-383-6012, @ADouglasNews

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