Quantcast Meet RGA Staff « Republican Governors Association

Mike Adams – General Counsel

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A graduate of the University of Louisville and Harvard Law School, Mike has served the RGA as General Counsel since January 2007. In addition to law firm practice, Mike has served in a number of political and governmental positions, including Deputy General Counsel to a Republican governor, and Counsel to the U.S. Deputy Attorney General.

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Paul Bennecke – Executive Director

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Twitter: @PaulBennecke

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Paul’s experience reaches across all fifty states having worked with dozens of gubernatorial and legislative campaigns. Prior to joining the RGA, Paul was the founding principal of Red Clay Strategies, a public affairs and issue advocacy firm. He provided strategic counsel and services to companies, trade associations, and was a senior consultant to several Republican candidates, Super PAC’s and Party Committees for local, state, and federal elections.

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From 2007-2010, Paul served the Republican Governors Association (RGA) as Deputy Executive Director and Political Director. He managed RGA’s political operations including candidate recruitment, independent expenditures and candidate-committee coordination. Before RGA, Paul was Executive Director and Political Director of the Georgia Republican Party and Political Director for Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue’s successful gubernatorial campaign in 2002.

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Janel Broderick  Policy Director

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Twitter: @JanelBroderick

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Janel previously served as New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez’s policy director, a position she held after working as the deputy executive director of the state’s Republican Party. She also worked for one of the longest-serving members of Congress, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens and advanced the legislative and policy agenda of Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. Janel is a native Alaskan; she earned a BA from the University of Southern Mississippi, an MA from Indiana University, and spent several years in the non-profit sector throughout India, the South Pacific, Asia, and Russia.

Alison Caliguire – Deputy Press Secretary

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Twitter: @ACaliguire25

Prior to joining the RGA, Alison served as a Policy Analyst for the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee (RGPPC), where she facilitated best practices, conducted policy research and provided counsel to governors and their staff with a focus in the areas of energy, environment, and transportation. Alison is a New Jersey native and graduated from Wake Forest University in 2014 with a B.A. in Politics and International Affairs.

Laura Ciciarelli  Director of Operations

Laura serves as the RGA Director of Operations after spending the past two years at the RGA, organizing the internship program and assisting the Governors Liaison with the coordination of meetings and conferences. Laura is a graduate of Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC with a Bachelor’s Degree in political science and Spanish. She is a native of Wall, New Jersey.

Danielle Cleveland – Executive Roundtable Deputy Director

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Danielle is the Deputy Director of the RGA’s Executive Roundtable program and previously served as an Executive Roundtable Regional Director. Prior to joining the RGA, she 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 degree in political science from Carthage College and is a native of Madison, Wisconsin.

Jodi Comunale – Director of Events & Programming

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Prior to joining RGA, Jodi was Manager, Programs & Events at the State Government Affairs Council (SGAC).  At SGAC, Jodi programmed and executed two Annual Conferences along with numerous other networking and educational events throughout the year.  Prior to SGAC, Jodi was Senior Conference Manager at the Direct Marketing Association where she oversaw a portfolio of conferences.  Jodi began her career at the US Chamber of Commerce working in the fundraising department. Jodi is a 2004 graduate of Clemson University in South Carolina where she majored in Marketing with a concentration in Communications.

Juliette Crowther – Events Coordinator

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Juliette serves as the RGA Events Coordinator, helping organize the RGA’s numerous events, meetings and gatherings of Republican governors across the country. Prior to joining the RGA, she interned in the office of Louisiana Congressman John Fleming. Juliette graduated with a degree in political science and French at Tulane University in New Orleans and is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Mike Felici Executive Roundtable Coordinator

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

Amanda Kitchen  Director of Statesmen & Cabinet Memberships

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Prior to joining the RGA,  Amanda 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.

Mary Ann Laconte – Finance Director

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Mary Ann became RGA Finance Director after serving as the Deputy Finance Director for the RGA and Director of the RGA’s Statesmen and Cabinet membership programs. Prior to joining the RGA four years ago, Mary Ann was the Major Donor Director at the National Republican Congressional Committee, and also worked with the major donor programs at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee, and the Republican National Committee. Mary Ann is a native of Houston, Texas and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Duke University.

Ashleigh Oxner – Finance Assistant

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Prior to joining the RGA, Ashleigh worked for two years in the private sector as an Event Planner where she planned both corporate and political events. Ashleigh is a South Carolina native and graduated from Clemson University in 2014 with a major in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.

Cortlynn Parkinson  Chief Financial Officer

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Cortlynn joined the RGA after previously serving in a similar role at the National Republican Senatorial Committee and in the private sector, tracking online contributions and ensuring FEC compliance. Cortlynn is a graduate of Theil College in Pennsylvania.

Melissa Peskin  - Events Manager

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Melissa joined the RGA as Events Manager after serving on the events team at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. At AIPAC, she was responsible for multiple national events and conferences and played a large role in the annual Policy Conference. Melissa is a Parkland, Florida native and graduated from the University of Florida in 2012.

Dave Rexrode  Political Director

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Twitter: @DRexrode

Dave brings a wealth of campaign experience to the RGA as Political Director, which will be crucial in providing assistance and counsel to Republican governors and candidates. Prior to joining the RGA, David served as Campaign Manager for Ken Cuccinelli for Governor, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia, Deputy Campaign Manager for Bob McDonnell for Governor, National Coalitions Director for the Republican National Committee, and Campaign Manager for Congressman Bob Goodlatte.  David is a graduate of James Madison University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and public administration.

Justina Rusch – Governors Liaison

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Justina became RGA Governors Liaison after spending the past two years as the RGA Events Coordinator, helping organize numerous RGA events, meetings and conferences. Justina is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge with a Bachelor’s Degree in mass communication. She is a native of Gulfport, Mississippi.

Brian Sanderson – Senior Advisor to the RGA

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Twitter: @BrianWSanderson

Brian brings a wealth of experience to the RGA, having previously served as policy director for the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) and its 501c4 The Rule of Law Defense Fund.  Brian also worked for Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour as deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery & Renewal, and in private law practice for eight years. He received his B.B.A, cum laude, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi.

Caitlin Schroder – Executive Roundtable Director

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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.

Ryan Smith  Accounts Receivable & Front Desk Manager

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Ryan serves as the Accounts Receivable & Front Desk Manager. Prior to joining the RGA, Ryan interned for Rep. John Ratcliffe in the US House of Representatives and was a fellow in the Koch Summer Fellowship Program. He graduated from Loyola Maryland University with a business management degree and is a native of Boston, Massachusetts.

Jon Thompson – Communications Director

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Twitter: @JonThompsonDC

Jon stepped into the role of RGA Communications Director after serving for the past four years as the RGA’s Press Secretary, a role in which he focused on raising the national profiles of Republican governors and the RGA. Prior to joining the RGA, Jon served as Director of Radio and Television for the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2010 cycle, and in the press office of the Republican National Committee during the 2008 cycle. Jon is a graduate of UNC Wilmington and a native of North Carolina.

Katherine Traynham  Regional Director for Executive Roundtable

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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.

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

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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.

Mike Young Deputy Political Dirctor

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Mike is a 2011 graduate of the College of William and Mary, where he double majored in Government and History.  Previously, Mike served as Executive Director of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus for the 2015 election cycle and their Political Director from 2013 until 2014.


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