RGA Announces Senior Staff

WASHINGTON D.C. – The Republican Governors Association announces the hiring of the following individuals who will comprise the organization’s senior staff for the next four years.

“I am excited that we have assembled a team of highly-qualified individuals who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Republican Governors Association,” said RGA Chairman Governor Pete Ricketts. “Each of these individuals will be a part of a team that will continue to support our governors, win gubernatorial elections and help grow our majority. We are excited to welcome them and draw on their expertise as they work to elect Republican governors across the country.”

“The Republican Governors Association is in a strong position heading into the gubernatorial elections of 2019, 2020, and beyond,” said RGA Executive Director Dave Rexrode. “We have been able to build a Senior Leadership Team with many of the best leaders in the Republican Party to support our governors and future candidates. I am also proud that for the first time in RGA’s history, nearly 75% of our senior staff will be women. We are excited about the opportunities the next four years will provide and I look forward to working with this team to elect more Republicans Governors and help advance policies that are making a real difference all across the county”

Executive Director: Dave Rexrode

The RGA previously announced that Dave Rexrode, who served as the RGA’s Political Director over the past four years, will serve as the RGA’s new Executive Director.

Political Director: J.P. Twist

J.P. Twist joins the RGA after serving as Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s Campaign Manager and Senior Political Adviser since 2014.  A veteran of Arizona politics, J.P. has successfully managed ballot measures and campaigns at the federal, state, and local level, including both of Governor Ducey’s successful gubernatorial bids.

Communications Director: Amelia Chassé Alcivar

Amelia Chassé Alcivar brings nearly a decade of experience communicating on behalf of Republican leaders and organizations in diverse states across the country. Prior to joining the RGA, Amelia served as Communications Director for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Press Secretary for America Rising PAC, and Press Secretary for Texas Governor Greg Abbott. She previously served as Vice President at Hynes Communications and on the McCain-Palin 2008 presidential campaign. A native of Maine, Amelia is a graduate of the George Washington University.

RGPPC Policy Director: Rebecca Schimsa

Rebecca Schimsa recently served as a senior policy advisor to Ambassador Nikki Haley at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations after previously serving as then-Governor Haley’s deputy legal counsel. A native South Carolinian, Rebecca earned her B.A. from Clemson University and her J.D. from the Charleston School of Law.

Finance Director: Mary Ann Laconte

Mary Ann Laconte will continue in her role as the RGA Finance Director after also previously 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 eight 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 55thPresidential 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.

Executive Roundtable Director: Caitlin Schroder

Caitlin Schroder, a member of the RGA team since 1999, will be leading 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.

Director of Corporate Memberships: Amanda O’Malley

Amanda Kitchen O’Malley served as the RGA’s Director of Statesmen and Cabinet membership programs during the 2016 and 2018 cycles. Prior to the RGA, Amanda developed extensive PAC, congressional, and national fundraising experience as a Senior Associate at Hooks Solutions, where she worked closely in roles with then-House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, Congressman Sean Duffy, Congressman Ken Calvert, then-Congressman Chris Gibson, and then-Congressman Robert Hurt. O’Malley is a native of Richmond, Virginia, and earned her B.A. in Communication at East Carolina University.

Director of Events & Programming: Jodi Comunale

Jodi Comunale joined the RGA in 2012 as Director of Events & Programming.  Prior to joining RGA, Jodi was Manager, Programs & Events at the State Government Affairs Council (SGAC) where she 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

Chief Operating Officer & Governors Liaison: Laura Ciciarelli

Laura Ciciarelli is assuming the roles of Chief Operating Officer and Governors Liaison after spending the last four years as Director of Operations, a role in which she managed the RGA’s Human Resources, helped to manage and track the organization’s multiple budgets and provided the Executive Director, the governors and their staff with comprehensive support in order to run an effective and successful organization. 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.

Chief Financial Officer: Erim Canligil

Erim Canligil became the RGA’s Chief Financial Officer in 2017. He began his career in Campaign Finance shortly after earning his B.A. from Purdue University in 2008. He worked at the National Republican Congressional Committee from 2008-2015 while simultaneously earning his J.D. from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. Upon graduation, he was licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois. Erim is a native of Queens, NY.

General Counsel: Jessica Furst Johnson

Jessica Furst Johnson is Of Counsel at Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky PLLC, focusing her practice on political committees, campaign finance and election law.  Jessica has previously served as General Counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, General Counsel and Deputy Executive Director to the National Republican Congressional Committee, and as NRCC Independent Expenditure Director during the 2016 cycle, managing the NRCC’s paid efforts in 30+ congressional races and a budget exceeding $76 million. Jessica received her J.D. from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, where she was an editor of the Florida Law Review, and earned her undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Political Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a Member of the Florida Bar, the Virginia Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, and the Supreme Court of the United States of America Bar.