Republican Governors Association – 2017

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Note: 2018 leadership elected Nov. 16, 2017 and starts immediately.

Chairman  Gov. Bill Haslam (TN)

(elected chair Nov. 16, 2017) 

Vice Chairman  Gov. Pete Ricketts (NE)

(elected chair Nov. 16, 2017) 

Executive Committee - Bill Haslam (TN), Pete Ricketts (NE), Scott Walker (WI), Susana Martinez (NM), Mary Fallin (OK), Doug Burgum (ND), Eric Greitens (MO), Eric Holcomb (IN) and Phil Bryant (MS).

RGA Policy Chair  Asa Hutchinson (AR)
RGA Policy Vice Chair  Matt Bevin (KY)

2017 Leadership and Organization
Chairman  Gov. Scott Walker (WI)

(elected chair Nov. 16, 2016) 

Vice Chairman  Gov. Rick Scott (FL)
(elected Feb. 24, 2017) succeeded Gov. Nikki Hayley (SC) who resigned to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Executive Committee - Scott Walker (WI), Nikki Hayley (SC), Susana Martinez (NM), Bill Haslam (TN), Rick Scott (FL), Mary Fallin (OK), Doug Ducey (AZ), Charlie Baker (MA), Pete Ricketts (NE), Larry Hogan (MD), Greg Abbott (TX) and Asa Hutchinson (AR).


Executive Director  Paul Bennecke

(announced Dec. 2, 2014)  Advisor on David Perdue's successful campaign for U.S. Senate in 2014.  Principal at ConnectSouth, a public affairs firm; and part of the Georgia lobbying team at Capitol Resources.  Founding principal of Red Clay Strategies, a public affairs and issue advocacy firm.  RGA deputy executive director and political director from 2007-10.  Executive director and earlier political director of the Georgia Republican Party, 2003-06.  Political director on Sonny Perdue's 2002 campaign in Georgia when he defeated incumbent governor Roy Barnes.  twitter

Deputy Executive Director  Janel Broderick

Janel served as the RGA’s policy director and director of the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee for the 2015-2016 cycle, a role in which she provided guidance and counsel to Republican governors on a wide range of policy initiatives contemplated at the state and federal level.  Previously director of policy and federal relations for Gov. Susana Martinez (NM).  Deputy executive director and communications director for the Republican Party of New Mexico.  Policy analyst for former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.  Several years in the non-profit sector throughout India, the South Pacific, Asia, and Russia.  Woked for U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (AK).  M.A. in Russian and Eastern European affairs from Indiana University; B.A. in history from the University of Southern Mississippi.  Alaska native.

Governor's Liaison  Justina (Rusch) Hulen

(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Previously events coordinator at the RGA from July 2012.  Experience includes internship with Dutko Worldwide in DC and in Gulfport, Mississippi.  Bachelor's degree in mass communication from LSU in Baton Rouge, 2012.  Native of Gulfport, MS.

Director of Operations  Laura Ciciarelli

(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Started at the RGA as an executive intern in May 2013 and executive assistant from May 2014, organizing the internship program and assisting the Governors Liaison with the coordination of meetings and conferences.  Bachelor's degree in political science and Spanish from Wake Forest University.  Native of Wall, NJ.

General Counsel  Mike Adams

(started as in-house counsel in Jan. 2007)  Also partner at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP since Feb. 2012.  Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General at U.S. DOJ, 2006-07.  Deputy general counsel to Gov. Ernie Fletcher (KY).  Associate at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, 2002-04.  J.D. from Harvard Law School, 2001; B.A. in political science from University of Louisville, 1998.

Policy Director  Brian Sanderson

(2015 as senior advisor)  Policy director for the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) and its 501c(4) The Rule of Law Defense Fund, 2014-15.  President of Cardinal Group, LLC, 2013-15.  Attorney at Brunini Grantham Grower & Hewes, 2010013.  President of the Gold Coast Business Council, 2006-10.  Deputy director of the Office of Recovery and Renewal under Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour, 2005-06.  Attorney at Butler Snow LLP, 1999-2005.  J.D. from University of Mississippi Law School; B.B.A. from University of Mississippi.


Political Director  David Rexrode

(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Campaign manager on Cuccinelli for Governor, Jan.-Nov. 2013.  Executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia Jan.  2010-Dec. 2012 and also served as Virginia RNC Victory director in 2012.  Deputy campaign manager on Attorney General Bob McDonnell's successful 2009 campaign for Governor of Virginia.  Campaign manager on Bob Goodlatte for Congress, Feb.-Nov. 2008.  Coalitions director on John McCain 2008 to July 2007.  Director of coalitions at the RNC starting in 2005.  Deputy director of coalitions for the Central Region for Bush-Cheney '04.  Graduate of James Madison University, 2001; while at James Madison managed Randy Fisher's first campaign for Augusta County sheriff.  Native of Augusta County, VA (Waynesboro area).  twitter

Deputy Political Director  Mike Young

Executive director (2015 election cycle) and political director (2013-14) of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus.  Double major in government and history from the College of William and Mary, 2016.

Political Assistant  Hunter Mullins

Prior to joining the RGA, Hunter served as Deputy State Director for the Colorado Republican Committee. From 2015-2016, Hunter worked as Political Ballot Access Director for Governor Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. Additionally, he worked for Governor Susana Martinez’s reelection campaign in 2014 and Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-09) as a legislative aide. He is a native of southwestern Virginia and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in History.

Director Lauren Luxenburg

Prior to joining the RGA, Lauren worked for WPA Opinion Research conducting public opinion research for congressional, senatorial, and presidential political campaigns across the country. Before WPA, Lauren specialized in social media and campaign communications strategy having been a part of Conviction Digital in Austin, TX and Engage-DC. Lauren graduated with a political science degree from the University of South Carolina and is a native of Fairfax, Virginia.


Communications Director  Jon Thompson

(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Promoted from RGA press secretary; served in that role since early March 2011.  Director of radio and television at the NRCC in the 2010 cycle.  Press assistant at the RNC, 2007-09.  Degree in political science from UNC Wilmington, 2007.  From North Carolina.  twitter

Press Assistant  Molly Walko

Prior to joining the RGA as a Press Assistant, Molly has served in offices on Capitol Hill and with the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee. She is a native of northern Vermont and graduated from American University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Minor in History.

Rapid Response Coordinator  John Burke

John serves as a Rapid Response Coordinator in the RGA’s communications department. Prior to joining the RGA, John was the Director of Rapid Response for the Nevada Republican Party during the 2016 election cycle and also served as a War Room Analyst for Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. John is a graduate of George Washington University where he majored in International Affairs. He grew up in Manhattan Beach, California, becoming a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan.

Rapid Response Coordinator  Steven Yaffe

Steven joins the RGA after serving as Rapid Response Director and spokesman for the Illinois Republican Party, where he handled communications for the party’s 2016 state legislative campaign program and worked extensively with Governor Bruce Rauner’s political operation.  Prior to working for the Illinois Republican Party, Steven got his start in politics working as a press assistant on Rauner’s successful 2014 campaign. Steven graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in political science, and is a proud native of New Jersey.


Chief Digital Officer  Ben Friedmann

The RGA Digital Department oversees Online Advertising, Original Content, Web Analytics, and Digital Campaign Best Practices & Training. Prior to joining the RGA Ben’s professional career in Digital Media and Marketing spanned both the political – RNC, NRSC, Romney For President – and private sectors – Google, Unilever, Creative Artists Agency. He holds a BS from Northwestern University in Radio/TV/Film and International Studies, and an MBA from Columbia University.

Deputy Digital Director  John Britten

Prior to joining the RGA, John Britten (“JB”) was the Digital Director for Judicial Watch from 2013 to early 2017. There, he created and led the organization’s digital department, plotting the strategy for online advertising, email acquisition/marketing, digital fundraising, audience development, and cybersecurity. Prior to Judicial Watch, John served as the Director of Online Advertising for the Republican National Committee and eventually also advised the Romney for President campaign during the final months of the 2012 election cycle. Before the RNC, he was the Director of Digital Strategy for Smart Media Group, where he handed digital strategy and media buying for statewide races. His background also includes stints at: Mediacom and the National Republican Congressional Committee. John was born in Boston, MA and graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Political Science.”

Digital Content and Editorial Lead  Amanda Elliott

Prior to joining the RGA, Amanda worked at the NRA-Institute for Legislative Action. There, she managed the social media strategy for the 2016 election cycle and coordinated digital efforts around the NRA’s national and state-based legislative priorities. Her background also includes stints at CRC Digital, The Daily Caller, and National Journal’s Hotline. Amanda is a native of Greenville, S.C., and graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Political Science and a minor in journalism.

Online Platforms Lead  Joel Richardson

Before joining the RGA, Joel Richardson oversaw digital and web for Young People’s Ministries at the United Methodist Church world headquarters. Joel has managed digital assets for candidates for the West Virginia Senate, House, Secretary of State, Commissioner of Agriculture, as well as state-wide political organizations like the West Virginia Federation of Young Republicans. Joel received his bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Technology from Marshall University.

Creative Lead  Maurice Lewis

Prior to joining RGA, Maurice was the Digital Director for the House Republican Conference. In this role, he managed digital communications campaigns for House Republicans. Maurice oversaw the digital roll-out for the American Health Care Act in early 2017. Maurice is a native of Orange County, California and graduated from the University of California, Merced with a degree in Political Science.

Digital Analytics Lead  Andrew Mullins

A Georgia Tech grad, Andrew serves as analytics lead in the RGA’s digital department. Prior to his work at RGA, he coordinated digital engagement at the Media Research Center and helped craft federal education policy for the Home School Legal Defense Association. Even though he grew up in Savannah, Georgia, Andrew is a native Virginian, and has campaign experience ranging from Congresswoman Barbara Comstock to digital efforts in Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign in Virginia.


Research Director  Todd Johnson

A veteran of campaign committees, Todd most recently concluded his sixth consecutive election cycle at a national party committee. Todd began his research career as a Research Analyst at the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2006. After a cycle in the Research Department at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Todd returned to the NRCC in 2010 as the committee’s Deputy Research Director when Republicans won control of the House. In 2012, Todd served as Research Director for the NRCC’s Independent Expenditure unit. Todd was later named the NRCC’s Research Director in 2014 and again in 2016 where he oversaw the Republicans’ research efforts in cycles that led to historic Republican majorities in the House. A native of Arizona, Todd is a graduate of Pepperdine University.

Deputy Research Director  Yaron Eisenberg

Prior to joining the RGA, Yaron worked for Freedom Partners. He holds degrees from Bowdoin College, University of St. Andrews, and University of Connecticut School of Law.

Research Analysts 
Joshua Boyer

Prior to joining the RGA, Joshua worked as a Research Analyst with the National Republican Congressional Committee and with Freedom Partners’ Competitive Intelligence department. He is a native of south central Pennsylvania and graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

Casey Dietrich

Prior to coming to the RGA, Casey worked as a Research Analyst at the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2016 cycle. Before the NRCC, she worked as a Researcher for Freedom Partners. Casey graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2012, where she majored in Political Science, German, and History.

Aaron Greenberg

Prior to joining the RGA, Aaron worked as a Political Analyst at i360 during the 2016 cycle. Before i360 he worked as a Researcher for Freedom Partner, an Analyst at Aegis Strategic and as a Research Analyst at WPA Research. Aaron is a 2009 graduate from the University at Buffalo with a degree in Political Science and History.

Russ Hayes

Before joining the RGA, Russ worked at Right to Rise USA as a research associate and later at the Pat McCrory Committee as its research director during the 2016 election cycle. Previously, Russ worked at a political consultancy in Ann Arbor, Michigan during the 2014 cycle. Russ attended the University of Michigan, where he majored in Political Science. He is a native of Clifton Park, New York.

Alex Pisciarino

Alex Pisciarino serves as a Research Analyst for the RGA. Prior to this role, Alex worked as a Research Analyst for Freedom Partners during the 2016 cycle, and as a Research Analyst for The Club for Growth during the 2014 cycle. Alex is a native of Syracuse, NY and graduated from George Washington University with a B.A. in Political Science and Geography.

Director of Tracking  Daniel Chiasson

Prior to joining the RGA, Daniel worked at the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2012, 2014, and 2016 election cycles, running the Video Tracking program for the last four years there. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended the University of Richmond, where he studied History and Russian Studies.


Finance Director  Mary Ann Laconte

x(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Deputy finance director at the RGA in the 2014 cycle from Jan. 2013; director of the RGA's Statesmen and Cabinet membership programs, Jan. 2011-Jan. 2013.  Previously worked with the major donor programs at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee, and the Republican National Committee.  B.A. in economics from Duke University.  Native Houstonian.

Executive Roundtable Director  Caitlin Schroder

Part of the RGA team since 1999, Caitlin leads the RGA’s Executive Roundtable, a membership program that brings together governors with business owners and executives.  Prior to this role, Caitlin served as the RGA’s Director of Recruitment, RGA Finance Director from 2002-2008 and RGA Deputy Finance Director from 1999-2002.  Prior to her time at the RGA, she worked on the National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee joint fundraising dinners as well as in the finance department of the Republican National Committee.  Caitlin attended the Catholic University of America, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics.

Executive Roundtable Deputy Director  Danielle (Evans) Cleveland

Prior to joining the RGA, Cleveland worked on the Mitt Romney for President campaign as the Wisconsin State Office Manager and served as an intern in the office of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Danielle graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Carthage College and is a native of Madison, Wisconsin.

Executive Roundtable Regional Director  Carson Avery

Prior to joining the RGA, Carson served as the PAC Director at America’s Health Insurance Plans. From 2015-2016, Carson worked as a Deputy Regional Finance Director for Governor Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. She has experience in Senate campaign and PAC fundraising. Carson graduated in 2011 from High Point University with a major in International Relations.

Executive Roundtable Regional Director  Nicole Garcia

Prior to joining the RGA, Nicole served as the Western Regional Finance Director for Governor Chris Christie’s presidential campaign. In 2015, she served as Regional Finance Director for the Leadership Matters for America PAC. Previously, Nicole was the Finance Director for the Colorado Republican Committee from 2013-2015. She has also fundraised for multiple congressional races. Nicole is a Chicago native and graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

Executive Roundtable Regional Director  Katherine Traynham

Katherine previously served as the Director of Special Events at Gula Graham, where she fundraised for over 50 Senators, Congressmen and candidates over the course of her tenure there. Prior to Gula Graham, Katherine worked on Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s political team as a fundraising coordinator for both his re-election campaign, Cantor for Congress, and his leadership PAC, ERIC PAC. Katherine graduated from the University of Georgia with a double major in International Affairs and German, and is a native of Richmond, Virginia.

Executive Roundtable Coordinator  Mike Felici

Previously worked as the Accounts Receivable and Front Desk Manager and as a finance intern for the organization. Prior to joining the RGA, Felici interned at the Republican National Committee and with Governor Chris Christie’s presidential campaign. He is a native of Washington Township, New Jersey and a graduate of American University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Minor in History.

Director of Statesmen and Cabinet Membership Programs  Amanda Kitchen

Prior to joining the RGA,  Kitchen worked for Hooks Solutions, a political fundraising firm in Washington, DC.  As a Senior Associate at Hooks Solutions, Amanda handled all PAC fundraising as well as some national fundraising for Chairman Michael McCaul, Chairman Ken Calvert, Congressman Chris Gibson and Congressman Robert Hurt. Before moving to DC, Amanda worked for the American Cancer Society in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she helped manage the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.  After the walk was complete, she worked as a Community Manager for ACS managing the Relay for Life events for Duke University, North Carolina State University, and two county Relays. Amanda graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in Communications and she is a native of Richmond, Virginia.

Director of Board, Council, Roundtable & Club Memberships  McKenzie Vaughn

Prior to joining the RGA, McKenzie was the Director of Operations and Public Affairs for The Daily Caller and Executive Director of its non-profit, The Daily Caller News Foundation. She previously interned for the RGA’s Executive Roundtable program. McKenzie graduated from American University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations. She is native of Cary, Illinois.

Director of Events and Programming  Jodi (Vaccarelli) Comunale

(Jan. 2012)  Manager of programs and events at the State Government Affairs Council, 2009-11.  Worked at the Direct Marketing Association, as senior conference manager (2008-09), conference manager (2007-08) and manager of sales and business development (2006-07).  Manager of corporate relations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2004-08.  B.S. in marketing from Clemson University, College of Business and Behavioral Science, 2004.

Events Coordinator  Danielle Staggs

Prior to joining the RGA, Danielle worked as Operations Support on President-Elect Trump’s Transition Team. Danielle has also worked in the non-profit sector, combating poverty in the nation’s capital as Facilities Coordinator at So Others Might Eat (SOME). Danielle graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations, and is a native of Lynchburg, Virginia.

xCorporate Coordinator  Miranda Lauzon

Miranda serves as Corporate Coordinator in the RGA’s finance department. Prior to joining the RGA, Miranda worked as an Event Coordinator for Governor Phil Scott. Miranda is a native of Barre, Vermont and holds a degree in International Studies from the University of Vermont.


Chief Financial Officer  Erim Canligil

Prior to joining the RGA, Erim worked as an Attorney/Consultant in private practice (2016) and as a Campaign Finance Compliance Analyst at the National Republican Congressional Committee (2008-2015). He received his B.A. from Purdue University in 2008 and his J.D. from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in 2015. Erim is a native of Queens, NY.


General Counsel  Mike Adams

(see above)


"The Republican Governors Public Policy Committee (RGPPC) serves as the official policy arm of the Republican Governors Association (RGA). Bringing together 31 Republican governors from statehouses across the country, the RGPPC is committed to shaping public policy debates at the state and federal levels of government. To that end, we highlight best practices among states and promote the successful policies of Republican- ed states—states which continue to dominate the rankings as the best for business, job creation, and education reform. The RGPPC is organized under section 501 (c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code."

Chair  Gov. Mary Fallin (OK)

Policy Director  Brian Sanderson

Policy Advisor  Lauren Strickland

Focuses on healthcare and education policy, as well as a variety of other issue areas. Prior to joining RGPPC, she worked at the Education Delivery Institute, serving as a consultant to K-12 and higher education systems across the country. Legislative staffer for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III.  Bachelor's degree in history from Duke University.  Native of Kopperston, WV.

Policy Advisor  Erin Adams

Focuseson labor, budget & tax, economic development and cybersecurity issues.  Legislative staffer for U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (WI).  Manager of Membership Development and Advocacy for The ERISA Industry Committee.  B.A. in Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government from American University.


Accounts Receivable and Front Desk Manager  Eric Powell

Previously junior associate at 50 State LLC.  B.A. in international studies from American University, 2014.  Cleveland native.


I.E. Director  ???