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Republican Ron Johnson addresses the media at his campaign’s Oshkosh headquarters one day after he unseated Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold in the U.S. Senate race. DINESH RAMDE — Associated Press

Sen.-elect Ron Johnson promised to change how Wisconsin is represented in Washington.

And he is doing just that.

Johnson narrowly defeated U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who was the chamber’s chief advocate for the sort of lobbying and ethics reforms that would limit the power of special-interest groups and eliminate pay-to-play politics. Feingold’s refusal to play Washington-insider games led to his being labeled by Washingtonian magazine as “the number one enemy of lobbyists in Washington.”

Johnson won’t be so labeled.

The new Republican senator has announced that his chief of staff will be Don Kent, a former vice president at Navigators Global LLC.

What’s Navigators Global LLC? A Washington-based power broker operation that describes itself as “an elite team of federal lobbyists, political strategists and communications experts.”

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That’s right. Ron Johnson has put a lobbyist in charge of his Senate office.

Does Kent have a Wisconsin tie? Nope, he’s a native of the Washington area who worked with Oklahoma’s congressional delegation on Capitol Hill, and with the Bush administration’s Department of Homeland Security, before going to work as an influence peddler.

So Wisconsin’s senator will be taking his counsel from someone who knows at least a little about what Oklahoma wants — and a whole lot about what corporate special interests want Ron Johnson to deliver for them.

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