The Washington Times - January 28, 2011, 02:59PM

Freshman Sen. Marco Rubio has named veteran Washington insider Cesar Conda — a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney and a longtime Capitol Hill staffer— as his chief of staff.

The Florida Republican said he made his decision after “a long and exhaustive search.” Conda served as an advisor to Rubio during his 2010 campaign for Senate and helped the senator-elect pick his staff after his Nov. 2 election victory.

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“Cesar brings a wealth of policy, legislative, political and management experience that will greatly aid our office’s mission of serving the people of Florida,” Rubio said.

Conda has more than 25 years of Washington experience. He served in the White House as Cheney’s assistant for domestic policy from 2001 to 2003, and was a senior Republican staffer on Capitol Hill in the 1980s and 1990s, including stints with Sen. Spencer Abraham of Michigan and Sen. Robert Kasten of Wisconsin.

He also has advised several GOP presidential campaigns, including the Dole-Kemp campaign in 1996 and Mitt Romney in 2008. And he served as an economic analyst at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with Senator Rubio as he pursues conservative alternatives to the policies coming out of Washington that are taking our country in the wrong direction,” Conda said.