Gillibrand 2020 Exploratory Committee
February 13, 2019

Gillibrand Campaign Announces New Round of Senior Staff Hires

Today, the Gillibrand 2020 campaign announced a new round of senior hires as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand crisscrosses the early states in her bid for the Democratic nomination. Gillibrand just wrapped up her first trip to South Carolina, and is returning to Iowa and New Hampshire over President’s Day weekend. The top-tier hires include two Granite State veterans who will be instrumental in Gillibrand’s push in the first in the nation primary.

“We are proud to announce the addition of this exceptional group of strategists to our team,” said Gillibrand Communications Director Meredith Kelly. “These new hires have won races across the country, and will strengthen our already robust campaign organization, particularly in the early states. Senator Gillibrand has already visited Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and she’s looking forward to building on that momentum.”

The hires include:
Semedrian Smith - National Political Director
Semedrian Smith will be joining the team as national political director after a successful 2018 cycle in Ohio as the deputy campaign manager for Senator Sherrod Brown’s re-election. She brings to the table multiple cycles of experience in field organizing and political programs across the country, in states such as Wisconsin, Arizona, Texas, Virginia, and Ohio. Born in rural Wisconsin, she studied creative writing and political science at Edgewood College.  
Danielle Duffy - Chief Operating Officer
Danielle has spent the last nine years in the non-profit sector in operations, finance, and human resources. Previously, she worked for the League of Women Voters of the United States, was the director of operations for the DCCC IE during the 2008 campaign, and was the director of human resources for Rising Tide Interactive during the 2016 cycle. Danielle grew up on Isles of Capri, Florida. She has a MA in Political Management from the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR).
Gavrie Kullman - Digital Finance Director
Gavrie Kullman leads Senator Gillibrand's digital fundraising operation. Prior to Gillibrand 2020, Gavrie was the digital director for the Democratic Governors Association and senior digital advisor to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. With more than sixteen years of experience as a digital strategist, Gavrie has raised more than a hundred million dollars for political candidates at every level of government and large non-profits. He is originally from California, a graduate of the University of California Riverside, and will happily show you pictures of his two rescue dogs.  
Pat Devney - New Hampshire State Director
Pat Devney joins Senator Gillibrand's campaign as New Hampshire state director.  Over the past decade, Devney has managed campaigns at every level and successfully led Congresswoman Annie Kuster's re-elect in 2014 and managed Colin Van Ostern's gubernatorial bid in 2016.  Prior to joining the Gillibrand campaign, he served as senior political advisor at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Shannon McLeod - New Hampshire Political Director
Before joining team Gillibrand, Shannon ran Colin Van Ostern’s Secretary of State race and was Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig’s finance director for her successful 2017 campaign. In 2016, she served as call time and events manager for Colin Van Ostern's gubernatorial campaign. Shannon also organized the New Hampshire Women's Foundation Women Run! program. She is a graduate of George Washington University and lives in Manchester, NH.

Gillibrand 2020 Exploratory Committee
Monday, January 28, 2019

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Announces Senior Staff in Iowa

Today, the Gillibrand 2020 Exploratory Committee announced senior staff hires in Iowa on the heels of her first trip to the state and nearly one year out from the 2020 caucuses.

“We are proud to build on the momentum of Sen. Gillibrand’s first trip to Iowa and announce strategic hires that will help us be successful in the 2020 caucuses,” said Gillibrand Communications Director Meredith Kelly. “Sen. Gillibrand is excited to build out a robust team with deep roots and experience in the state. She can’t wait to get back to Iowa to continue having conversations and sharing her values in the months ahead.”

Lara Henderson - Iowa State Director
Henderson is a native Iowan and veteran political operative recently named to the Des Moines Register’s list of the 50 Most Wanted Democrats in Iowa. She previously served as Finance Director for Fred Hubbell in his 2018 campaign, considered the most expensive gubernatorial race in the state’s history. Prior to that, she served as Iowa Finance Director for Patty Judge’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2016 and Campaign Manager for Brad Anderson’s bid for Secretary of State in 2014. She got her start in politics as a field organizer for President Obama in her hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Rachel Irwin - Iowa Communications Director / Early States Communications Advisor
Irwin joins the Gillibrand campaign after serving as Midwest Press Secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) during the 2018 cycle when Democrats flipped the U.S. House of Representatives. At the DCCC, Irwin acted as a communications advisor and strategist helping to win back seats across the Midwest, including the historic wins of Rep. Cindy Axne and Rep. Abby Finkenauer in Iowa. She previously worked as a Senior Associate at A|L Media in Chicago and as Communications Director for the Maine Democratic Party in 2014.

Gillibrand will continue to staff up in Iowa and build a talented team ahead of the 2020 caucuses. In her first trip to Iowa, Gillibrand held 10 public events over two days, conducted numerous meetings with local leaders and elected officials and spent time shopping, cooking, drinking coffee and chatting with Iowans and members of the media. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

Watch the two minute video recapping her first trip to Iowa.

Gillibrand 2020 Exploratory Committee
Thursday, January 22, 2019

Gillibrand Campaign Announces New Round of Senior Staff Hires

Today, the Gillibrand 2020 Exploratory Committee announced a new round of senior hires as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gears up to run for the Democratic nomination for president.

“We are proud to announce the hiring of this talented group of strategists, who together have exceptional records of success at the national, state and local level,” said Gillibrand Communications Director Meredith Kelly. “The campaign is firing on all cylinders coming off of Senator Gillibrand’s successful trip to Iowa, and these dynamic new hires will build on that momentum.”

The hires include:

Alexandra Sanchez - Research Director

Alex Sanchez has served as Senator Gillibrand's research director and adviser since Gillibrand's appointment to the Senate in 2009. Originally from Albuquerque, NM, Alex worked in senior research roles for former Governor Bill Richardson's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns, and Senator Tom Udall's campaign for the United States Senate.

Gregory Smiley - National Deputy Political Director

Gregory O. Smiley will be joining the campaign next month as national deputy political director. He previously served as campaign manager for Gillibrand’s 2018 Senate re-election campaign. Smiley was born in Jamaica, West Indies and grew up in East New York Brooklyn. Beginning in 2014, Smiley helmed a diverse portfolio as Gillibrand's director of intergovernmental affairs, including guidance on key policy areas such as gun control and marijuana decriminalization.

Evan Lukaske - National Press Secretary

Evan Lukaske joins the Gillibrand campaign after spending the 2018 cycle at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as northeast press secretary. Previous to that, Evan served as press secretary at the New Hampshire Democratic Party. A born-and-bred New Yorker, Evan started his political career working for former DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, and also worked on campaigns for former Congressman Tim Bishop and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.

Alexandria Phillips - Traveling Press Secretary

Alex Phillips is moving over from Senator Gillibrand's official Senate Office where she served as press secretary. Previously, she was director of surrogates and media affairs for Minority Leader of the Senate Charles E. Schumer, served as a press aide to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, and worked at the State Department and Rockefeller Foundation. A Missouri native, she is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.

Stefanie Conahan - Finance Director

Stefanie Conahan leads Senator Gillibrand's national finance team, after having been a senior member of the Senator's fundraising team for the 2010, 2012 and 2018 campaigns and managing her Off the Sidelines PAC, which raised over $7 million for almost 200 women candidates since the 2012 cycle. Stefanie started her political career working for Senator Evan Bayh and worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign. A mom of three, Stefanie attended Syracuse University and George Washington’s Graduate School of Political Management. 

Erica Bordador - Deputy Finance Director

Part of the Gillibrand team since the 2010 cycle, Erica Bordador has led the Senator's Mid-Atlantic fundraising since 2012. Erica has also served as the Senator's trip director, and most recently was political director for Gillibrand's Off the Sidelines PAC. Prior to Gillibrand, Erica served in the offices of former Representatives Debbie Halvorson and Baron Hill. A first-generation American, she is originally from Louisville, Kentucky.