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.

Jane Batson  Director of Events, Executive Roundtable

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Prior to joining RGA, Jane was Executive Meetings Manager, at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).  At the DMA Jane managed all C-level and Board of Directors Events throughout the United States.    Prior to the DMA, she was Conference Services Manager at the Four Seasons where she oversaw State visits and delegations, including visits by the King of Jordan and Dali Lama.  Jane began her career at the US Chamber of Commerce working for the National Chamber Foundation, followed by becoming the Manager of Corporate Programs.  Jane is a graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA.

Paul Bennecke – Executive Director

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.

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.

Laura Ciciarelli  Director of Operations

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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 – Regional Director for Executive Roundtable

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Danielle is a Regional Director for RGA’s Executive Roundtable program and previously served as Executive Roundtable Coordinator. 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 and 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.

Amy Allman Dean  Southern Regional Director for Executive Roundtable

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Prior to joining RGA, Amy was Vice President of Marketing at Ogilvy Government Relations.  Previously, Dean spent six years working in various positions in The White House for the George W. Bush Administration, including Director of The White House Visitors Office, Associate Director of Legislative Affairs and Staff Assistant in the Office of the Vice President.  Amy also worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as Director of Legislative Affairs and as Special Assistant, Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Department of Treasury.  A native of Dallas, Texas, Dean received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University.

Amanda Kitchen  Director of Statesmen, Governors Cabinet & Board Members

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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 Caroline 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.

Carly Mangini  Finance Assistant

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Carly joined the RGA’s Finance Department after working on Charlie Baker’s 2014 successful gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts. She also previously interned for the RGA and the New Jersey Republican Party. Carly is a native of Little Silver, NJ and graduated from Boston University with majors in political science and philosophy.

Holly McKissick — Executive Roundtable Coordinator

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Holly, Executive Roundtable Coordinator for the RGA, previously worked as Executive Roundtable Assistant and as a communications intern for the organization.  Holly is a graduate of Clemson University Calhoun Honors College, holding bachelor’s degrees in political science and international trade.  She is a native of Greenville, South Carolina.

Emily Rabbitt – Press Secretary

Twitter: @EmilyRabbitt

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Prior to joining the RGA, Emily was a Senior Associate at The Herald Group, a Washington, DC-based public affairs firm, where she worked with various clients to advance their strategic communications initiatives. Previously, she served as Deputy Director of Scheduling and Travel Aide to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Emily is a graduate of Wake Forest University where she earned degrees in both history and French.

David Rexrode  Political Director

Twitter: @DRexrode

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David 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.

Marie Sanderson – RGA Policy Director

Twitter: @MarieTSanderson

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Marie currently serves as Policy Director for the RGA facilitating best practices and good policy at the state and federal levels. She works closely with governors, their staff, Congress, and the Administration. She previously served as a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Thad Cochran and director of federal policy/policy advisor for Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.  Marie graduated from Mississippi State University with a major in Marketing and a minor in Public Relations and obtained her MBA from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

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.

Jon Thompson – Communications Director

Twitter: @JonThompsonDC

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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.

McKenzie Vaughn – Director of Club, Roundtable and Council 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.


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