To contact a member of the RGA staff, please send an email to: info@rga.org

 

Mike Adams – General Counsel

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.


Carson Avery – Executive Roundtable Regional Director

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.


Paul Bennecke – Executive Director

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.

@PaulBennecke


Joshua Boyer – Research Analyst

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.


John Britten – Deputy Digital Director

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.”


Janel Broderick – Deputy Executive Director

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. Janel brings diverse political experience to the RGA, including her time in New Mexico where she served as Governor Susana Martinez’s policy director and as deputy executive director/communications director for the state Republican Party. She also worked for one of the longest-serving members of Congress, U.S. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, and advanced the legislative agenda of Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. Janel is a native Alaskan, earning her BA in History and her MA in Russian & Eastern European Affairs. As a complement to her public service, she spent several years in the non-profit world, working throughout India, Asia, the South Pacific, and Russia.

@JanelBroderick


John Burke – Rapid Response Coordinator

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.

@JBurkeNation


Erim Canligil  Chief Financial Officer

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.


Daniel Chiasson – Director of Tracking

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.


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

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

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 Manager

Juliette serves as the RGA Events Manager, helping organize the RGA’s numerous events, meetings and gatherings of Republican governors across the country. Previously Juliette served as the Events Coordinator for the RGA. 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.


Casey Dietrich – Research Analyst

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.


Yaron Eisenberg – Deputy Research Director

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.


Amanda Elliott – Digital Content and Editorial Lead

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.


Mike Felici – Executive Roundtable Coordinator

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 a graduate of American University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Minor in History.


Ben Friedmann – Chief Digital Officer

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.


Nicole Garcia – Executive Roundtable Regional Director

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.


Aaron Greenberg – Research Analyst

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 – Research Analyst

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.


Justina Hulen – Governors Liaison

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.


Todd Johnson – Research Director

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.


Amanda Kitchen  Director of Statesmen & Cabinet Memberships

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

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.


Miranda Lauzon – Corporate Cordinator

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.


Maurice Lewis – Creative Lead

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.


Lauren Luxenburg – Rapid Response Coordinator

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.

@LaurenC_Lux


Andrew Mullins – Digital Analytics Lead

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.


Hunter Mullins – Political Assistant

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.


Alex Pisciarino – Research Analyst

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.


Eric Powell – Accounts Receivable & Front Desk Manager

Before joining the RGA, Eric was a Junior Associate at 50 State LLC. He graduated from American University in 2014 with a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Arab Studies. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio.


Dave Rexrode – Political Director

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.


Joel Richardson – Online Platforms Lead

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.


Brian Sanderson – Policy Director

Brian moved into the policy role having previously served as a senior adviser and general counsel to the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee. Brian also previous served as the policy director for the Republican Attorneys General Association and its 501c4 The Rule of Law Defense Fund, 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 was named a delegate to the RNC Convention in 2016, was elected to two, four-year terms on the Mississippi Republican Executive Committee, and was selected as national finalist for the White House Fellows Program. He received his B.B.A, cum laude, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi. There he was elected president of the Law School Student Body, a member of the Mississippi Law Journal and University’s Hall of Fame.  He served as managing editor of the Journal of National Security Law during law school and, following graduation, as a law clerk to the Honorable David Bramlette, U.S. District Court Judge, Southern District of Mississippi.

@BrianWSanderson


Caitlin Schroder – Executive Roundtable Director

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.


Danielle Staggs – Events Coordinator

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.


Jon Thompson – Communications Director

Jon stepped into the role of RGA Communications Director in 2015 after serving the previous 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.

@JonThompsonGOP


Katherine Traynham  Regional Director for Executive Roundtable

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

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.


Molly Walko – Press Assistant

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.


Steven Yaffe – Rapid Response Coordinator

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.


Mike Young Deputy Political Director

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.