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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Alison Caliguire – Deputy Press Secretary
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.
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.
Nicole Dziuban – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ashleigh Oxner – Finance Assistant
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
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.
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.
Justina Rusch – 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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.