Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
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Cooper Announces Staff Changes

Feb 6, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today announced several changes to his staff.

Justin Tooley, Rep. Cooper’s Washington-based Legislative Assistant for education, immigration, voting rights and other issues, has taken a new job with the Office of the State Superintendent of the District of Columbia as Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs and Policy. Prior to joining Rep. Cooper’s office, Tooley taught high school in Memphis with Teach For America and worked in the Tennessee Department of Education.

“I’ll miss Justin’s policy expertise and upbeat personality,” Rep. Cooper said. “We were lucky to have him, and he’ll be a great asset to D.C. schools and students.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Air Force Maj. Kevin Scholz has filled the position of Defense Fellow, advising Rep. Cooper in Washington on national security, foreign relations and veteran affairs. Serving his 25th year in the Air Force, Scholz has deployed numerous times; he received the Bronze Star Medal for his actions while serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Additionally, Scholz was the recipient of the 2011 Air Force Lieutenant General Leo Marquez Award – the most prestigious award an aircraft maintainer can earn. Prior to becoming Rep. Cooper’s Defense Fellow, Scholz was the Aircraft Maintenance Operations Officer for Air Force One, leading a team of more than 200 personnel. Scholz succeeds Rep. Cooper’s former Defense Fellow, U.S. Air Force Maj. Donavan Laskey, now an Air Force Legislative Liaison at the Pentagon.

Rep. Cooper also has hired a new Washington-based Staff Assistant, Ella Mathews, a Nashville native who graduated from University School of Nashville and Southern Methodist University. Mathews will supervise Rep. Cooper’s intern program, organize U.S. Capitol tours and assume other responsibilities.

“I’m delighted to have Kevin and Ella join my staff,” Rep. Cooper said. “Both are deeply committed to helping Middle Tennesseans.”

Mathews’ predecessor, Miranda McDonald, has been promoted to Legislative Correspondent and will manage Rep. Cooper’s mail system. McDonald is a Nashville native who graduated from St. Cecilia Academy and Tennessee State University.