Republican Governors Association – 2015

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(page updated February 19, 2015) disclaimer*

RGA, twitter  ||  Finances (Form 8872)  ||  DGA Organization 

Chairman  Gov. Bill Haslam (TN)

(elected chair Nov. 21, 2014, succeeding Gov. Chris Christie)

Vice Chairman  Gov. Susana Martinez (NM)

Executive Committee -


Executive Director  Paul Bennecke

(announced Dec. 2, 2014)  Advisor on David Perdue's successful campaign for U.S. Senate in 2014.  Principal at ConnectSouth, a public affairs firm; and part of the Georgia lobbying team at Capitol Resources.  Founding principal of Red Clay Strategies, a public affairs and issue advocacy firm.  RGA deputy executive director and political director from 2007-10.  Executive director and earlier political director of the Georgia Republican Party, 2003-06.  Political director on Sonny Perdue's 2002 campaign in Georgia when he defeated incumbent governor Roy Barnes.  twitter

Governor's Liaison  Justina Rusch

(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Previously events coordinator at the RGA from July 2012.  Experience includes internship with Dutko Worldwide in DC and in Gulfport, Mississippi.  Bachelor's degree in mass communication from LSU in Baton Rouge, 2012.  Native of Gulfport, MS.

Director of Operations  Laura Ciciarelli

(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Started at the RGA as an executive intern in May 2013 and executive assistant from May 2014, organizing the internship program and assisting the Governors Liaison with the coordination of meetings and conferences.  Bachelor's degree in political science and Spanish from Wake Forest University.  Native of Wall, NJ.

CounselGeneral Counsel and Deputy Executive Director  Mike Adams

(started as in-house counsel in Jan. 2007)  Also partner at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP since Feb. 2012.  Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General at U.S. DOJ, 2006-07.  Deputy general counsel to Gov. Ernie Fletcher (KY).  Associate at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, 2002-04.  J.D. from Harvard Law School, 2001; B.A. in political science from University of Louisville, 1998.


Political Director  David Rexrode

(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Campaign manager on Cuccinelli for Governor, Jan.-Nov. 2013.  Executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia Jan.  2010-Dec. 2012 and also served as Virginia RNC Victory director in 2012.  Deputy campaign manager on Attorney General Bob McDonnell's successful 2009 campaign for Governor of Virginia.  Campaign manager on Bob Goodlatte for Congress, Feb.-Nov. 2008.  Coalitions director on John McCain 2008 to July 2007.  Director of coalitions at the RNC starting in 2005.  Deputy director of coalitions for the Central Region for Bush-Cheney '04.  Graduate of James Madison University, 2001; while at James Madison managed Randy Fisher's first campaign for Augusta County sheriff.  Native of Augusta County, VA (Waynesboro area).  twitter


Communications Director  Jon Thompson

(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Promoted from RGA press secretary; served in that role since early March 2011.  Director of radio and television at the NRCC in the 2010 cycle.  Press assistant at the RNC, 2007-09.  Degree in political science from UNC Wilmington, 2007.  From North Carolina.  twitter

Deputy Press Secretary  Stacy Day

(Dec. 2013)  Communications intern (Aug.-Dec. 2013) and political intern (June-Aug. 2013) at the RGA.  Legislative intern in Gov. Scott Walker’s office, Jan.-May 2013.  Regional field director on former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s 2012 U.S. Senate campaign.  B.A. degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Wisconsin, 2013.  Wisconsin native.  twitter

New Media and Tech

Policy and Research

Research Director  tbd

Policy Director  Marie Sanderson

(since 2011)  Director of federal policy (June 2009-Jan. 2012) and policy advisor (Dec. 2006-June 2009 for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.  Legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, March 2003-Dec. 2006.  Bachelor's degree  in business administration and management from Mississippi State University, 2001; MBA from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, 2003.  twitter


Finance Director  Mary Ann Laconte

(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Deputy finance director at the RGA in the 2014 cycle from Jan. 2013; director of the RGA's Statesmen and Cabinet membership programs, Jan. 2011-Jan. 2013.  Previously worked with the major donor programs at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee, and the Republican National Committee.  B.A. in economics from Duke University.  Native Houstonian.

Executive Roundtable Director  Caitlin Schroder

(announced Jan. 27, 2015)  Part of the RGA team since 1999; most recently served as national recruitment director in the Finance Department; as RGA finance director from 2002-08; and as RGA deputy finance director from 1999-2002.  Prieviously, she worked on the NRSC and NRCC joint fundraising dinners as well as in the Finance Department of the RNC.  B.A. in politics from the Catholic University of America.

Executive Roundtable Director of Events  Jane Batson

(also for 2014 cycle)  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.

Executive Roundtable Coordinator  Danielle (Evans) Cleveland

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 in Political Science from Carthage College and is a native of Madison, Wisconsin.

Regional Recruitment Director and Executive Roundtable Regional Director, Northeast  Alden Wood

(Jan. 2013)  Finance director on Tommy Thompson for Senate, March-Dec. 2012.  Executive Roundtable coordinator at th RGA, Feb. 2011-Feb. 2012.  Staff assistant in Member Services at the RNC, Sept. 2010-Jan. 2011.  B.A. in economics, government from University of Virginia, 2010.

Director of Roundtable Membership Program  Jay Shelly

(same role in 2014 cycle)  Earlier title "manager of corporate programs and recruitment)  Prior to joining the RGA, worked as a clerk’s assistant at the DC District Court and as an intern in the finance department at the RGA before getting hired full-time. B.A. in history from Hampden-Sydney College, May 2011.  Born in Philadelphia, PA and has lived in Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and New York.

Executive Roundtable Regional Director Southern  Amy Allman Dean

(May 2012)  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.

Director of Events, Corporate  Jodi (Vaccarelli) Comunale

(Jan. 2012)  Manager of programs and events at the State Government Affairs Council, 2009-11.  Worked at the Direct Marketing Association, as senior conference manager (2008-09), conference manager (2007-08) and manager of sales and business development (2006-07).  Manager of corporate relations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2004-08.  B.S. in marketing from Clemson University, College of Business and Behavioral Science, 2004.

Events Coordinator  Juliette Crowther

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.


Chief Financial Officer 


General Counsel and Deputy Executive Director  Mike Adams

(see above)


  former staff include: