Idaho Rep. Labrador replaces fired spokesman

First District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador has shuffled the deck after he fired former spokesman Phil Hardy on Feb. 4 for mistakenly posting a racy tweet on the congressman’s Twitter account during the Super Bowl.

Hardy, affirming his affection for the scantily-clad stars of the CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls,” pole-dancing in a promo ad wrote, “Me likely Broke Girls.’ He took the post down after 14 seconds but it was captured by a website that follows tweets deleted by politicians.

Labrador’s new communications director is Michael Tate, who came from the House Republican Study Committee.  Labrador also announced other staff changes.

Labrador’s news release from Wednesday morning follows:

Congressman Labrador Announces Staff Changes for 113th Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho First District Congressman Raúl Labrador welcomed two new staff members to his Washington, D.C. office. Neil Siefring will serve as the Legislative Director, replacing Jason Bohrer, who became Chief of Staff earlier this year, and Michael Tate, who will serve as the Communications Director.

“I am pleased to welcome Neil and Michael into their new roles on our team,” said Congressman Labrador. “Their knowledge and enthusiasm will help me represent everyone in Idaho’s First Congressional District with the highest level of service possible.”

Neil Siefring has joined the office as the new Legislative Director. Before joining Congressman Labrador, he spent four years as a congressional liaison for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Michael Tate will join Congressman Labrador’s office as the new Communications Director. He most recently worked at the U.S. House Republican Study Committee, of which Congressman Labrador is a member, as the Deputy Communications Director.

Amanda Leamer, who previously handled press duties and legislative correspondence for Congressman Labrador, has been promoted to the role of Legislative Assistant. She will handle health care, education and foreign affairs. Kyle Smith has been elevated to Legislative Correspondent, having previously served as Congressman Labrador’s Staff Assistant.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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