Chris Collins, the newly elected member of Congress from the 27th District, on Tuesday appointed longtime aide Christopher M. Grant as his chief of staff.
He also named two other close assistants to top jobs – Michael A. Kracker as district director and Grant J. Loomis as communications director.
Republican Collins won the House seat Nov. 6 by defeating Democratic incumbent Kathleen C. Hochul.
Grant, 32, is a lawyer who has worked closely with Collins since his 2007 re-entry into politics with a victory in the race for Erie County executive. He served as Collins’ chief of staff in the Rath County Office Building, as a top political operative in Collins’ unsuccessful re-election campaign of 2011, and in last week’s congressional victory. He is a graduate of Canisius College and the University at Buffalo Law School.
Kracker, 24, previously served in county Republican Headquarters as executive director under Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy. He was campaign manager for Collins this fall. Kracker is a Geneseo State College graduate.
Loomis, 34, served as Collins’ communications director in the Rath Building and most recently was the Republican deputy elections commissioner for Erie County. He is a graduate of Syracuse University.
Collins said that he expects Grant to divide his time between Western New York and Washington and that more appointments will follow. “We’ll lock those three in now and then start backfilling,” Collins said. “We’re making good progress.”
Collins spoke with The Buffalo News from Washington, where he is attending a freshman orientation session that included a Tuesday night dinner with House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. He said the current session is designed to familiarize freshmen and their spouses with the “lay of the land.” More sessions are planned for Washington from Nov. 27 to 30 and at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., from Dec. 11 to 15, he said. His swearing-in is slated for Jan. 3.
“I feel a little old to be a freshman,” Collins said, “but it is like going back to college.”