Blumenthal taps health expert, abortion-rights advocate as chief of staff

Richard Blumenthal announced his first hire for his U.S. Senate office on Wednesday, tapping Laurie Rubiner, an expert in health and women’s issues, to be his chief of staff.

Rubiner is a former aide to ex-Sens. Hillary Clinton, a Democrat from New York, and the late John Chafee, a moderate Republican from Rhode Island. Between those two lawmakers, she spent a decade on the Hill, working on health care, poverty policies, and women’s and children’s issues.

But her most recent job has been at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, one of the nation’s most active abortion-rights groups. Rubiner was the group’s top Washington lobbyist, directing federal policy and political advocacy campaigns.

 “Laurie brings to my office and to the people of Connecticut a passion for public service, invaluable experience in the Senate, unparalleled policy expertise, and mostly importantly, she shares my commitment to make Washington work for the people of Connecticut,” Blumenthal said in a statement announcing the move.