Congressman-elect Bill Orton is busy setting up his congressional house.
Orton has named former Utahn Billie Gay Larson, 46, as his administrative assistant in Washington, and is retaining Ron Crittenden, Rep. Howard Nielson's chief of staff in Utah, to ease the transition as Orton assumes office.Larson was born in Salt Lake City and raised in Magna and has lived in Washington since 1976. She was senior legislative assistant to former U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill, D-Mass., from 1976 to 1986. After O'Neill retired, Larson spent three years as special assistant to the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. During the past year, Larson has been the congressional correspondent for ". . . home health line," a national independent newsletter.
Larson said she didn't know Orton but that people "in the state Legislature know me and my family and knew Mr. Orton, and we were recommended to each other."
"I am absolutely delighted after 14 years in Washington to be able to work for this new Democrat from my home state," Larson said. "I'm very impressed with Bill Orton and I think the people of the 3rd District are going to be served with distinction."
As Orton's administrative assistant, Larson will be responsible for "everything - office manager, issues, constituent services, keeping him abreast of concerns, issues.
"It's a hard job but . . . I feel honored to work for him in this capacity," she said.
Larson's father, W.G. Larson, served as a state representative, House minority leader, speaker of the state House, a state senator and a Salt Lake County commissioner.
Billie Gay Larson attended Cyprus High School and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in history and minors in philosophy and political science.