Linda McMahon is originally from New Bern, North Carolina, and serves as Chair of the Board for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI). McMahon served in President Donald J. Trump’s Cabinet as Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA). Under McMahon’s leadership at SBA, she re-imagined the organization, focusing on rural development and championing women entrepreneurs and military veterans. She oversaw natural disaster recovery efforts and helped improve the way the SBA connected small businesses to capital, counseling, and government contracts. After her service in the Trump Administration, she served as Chair of the America First Action SuperPAC, and America First Policy, LLC. Prior to her career in public service, McMahon was the President and later CEO of WWE, INC., which she and her husband, Vince, grew from a small regional corporation to a multinational Public Company.
Larry Kudlow serves as Vice Chair of the Board for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) and as Chairman for AFPI’s Center for American Prosperity. He is also host of “Kudlow” on Fox Business and “The Larry Kudlow Show” on WABC Talk Radio. He previously served as Director of the National Economic Council under President Donald J. Trump where he led the domestic and global economic policy agendas. Throughout the years, Kudlow has hosted several popular television shows with an economic focus, had a successful career on Wall Street, and worked as an associate director in the Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan Administration. He began his career at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as a staff economist. Kudlow describes himself as a Reagan supply-sider and is a staunch advocate for free markets, tax cuts, and deregulation.
Brooke Leslie Rollins is originally from Glen Rose, Texas, and serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the America First Policy Institute (AFPI). Rollins is the former Director of the Domestic Policy Council and Chief Strategist at the White House, as well as the former Director of the Office of American Innovation. In these roles, she developed and managed the transformational domestic policy agenda of the Trump Administration, leading to historic achievements for the American people. Rollins graduated with honors from Texas A&M University with a degree in agricultural development and was the first female to be elected student body president. After earning her Juris Doctor with honors at the University of Texas School of Law, she served as Governor Rick Perry’s policy director before running the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) for 15 years. At TPPF, Rollins elevated a small policy organization to a national force and redefined the possibilities for a state-based think tank — setting the model and aspiration for AFPI. Rollins and her husband, Mark, currently reside in Fort Worth, Texas, and spend a large majority of their free time taxiing their four very active children to baseball games, cattle shows, piano lessons, and Aggie football games.
Doug Hoelscher grew up on a farm near Williams, Iowa, and serves as AFPI’s Chief Operating Officer. He previously served as an Assistant to the President and Director of White House Intergovernmental Affairs, where he was the Trump Administration’s primary liaison to the nation’s governors, lieutenant governors, attorneys general, and other state, local, and tribal leaders. In this role, he built relationships and solved shared challenges at each level of the government. He previously served as the Director of the Iowa Office of State-Federal Relations, as a workforce development advisor, and chaired the National Governors Association 2016 Summer Meeting Committee. Hoelscher previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers and held several positions within the George W. Bush Administration – at the White House and at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He graduated from the University of Iowa. Hoelscher and his partner, Danny, enjoy traveling to Iowa and Florida to see family, watching college football (especially the Iowa Hawkeyes), dining out, and taking long walks with their loveable mutt, Kenny.
James Baehr grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, but currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana, and serves as AFPI’s Senior Fellow of the Center for 1776. He previously served as a Special Assistant to the President in the Domestic Policy Council (DPC) in the White House where he coordinated and oversaw DPC’s policy portfolio across a number of agencies and issues, including the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Department of Defense, and Department of Justice. Baehr serves as a Major in the Marine Corps Reserves where he drills as the Reserve Regional Defense Counsel-East Coast and previously drilled as a Civil Team Commander with 4th Civil Affairs Group. Previously, Baehr was a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans and an active duty Marine judge advocate defense counsel at Camp Pendleton. Baehr received his J.D. and a Masters in History from the University of Virginia in 2008 and graduated from Dartmouth College with honors in History and Government in 2005. In his free time, Baehr enjoys writing war poetry and playing too much speed chess.
Lea Bardon is from Scottsdale, Arizona, and serves as Development Manager at AFPI. Prior to joining AFPI, Bardon served as Executive Assistant to Trump Victory Chairwoman, Kimberly Guilfoyle, on the Trump-Pence 2020 presidential campaign and most recently as the Executive Roundtable Manager at the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). In this role, she handled Executive Roundtable membership, including member outreach, donor prospecting and call time and briefing preparation for various attorneys general. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from The Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University with degrees in International Relations, French, and a minor in Business. Bardon speaks three languages which she credits to her parents and having lived abroad for two years. She currently resides in Washington D.C., and loves to visit her family and travel to new places whenever she can.
Nick Barbknecht is originally from Michigan City, Indiana and serves as the Senior Advisor for Marketing for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI). Barbknecht previously served as Associate Director of White House Intergovernmental Affairs helping build relationships with the country’s state, local, and tribal elected and appointed officials and identifying shared priorities. He also previously served as Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and in similar roles in state and local government. He has helped companies and officials at all levels deliver on their goals. He holds an MBA from Purdue University and an accounting degree from Manchester University. He and his wife, Kenzie, enjoy traveling, fishing, and spending time with their dog, Jack.
Emma Bennett is from Scottsdale, Arizona, and serves as Staff Assistant for AFPI’s Constitutional Litigation Partnership. Most recently, Bennett served as a Deputy Press Secretary for the Dan Rodimer for Congress campaign. Bennett previously served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs under Attorney General William Barr at the Department of Justice. While working in the Trump administration, Bennett collaborated with senior leadership and assured a constant streamline of communication between the Assistant Attorney General, staff, and key government officials. Bennett is a graduate of Arizona State University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in General Communication and Digital Media Analysis. Bennett currently resides in Washington, D.C., and enjoys exploring the city, traveling, and spending time with her family.
David Bernhardt grew up outside of a small western rural community, Rifle, Colorado, and serves as Chairman of AFPI’s Center for American Freedom. Bernhardt previously served as the 53rd Secretary of the Department of the Interior, where he furthered conservation stewardship, expanded opportunities for access to hunt and fish on public lands, drove common-sense regulatory change, and enhanced our Nation’s energy independence. Bernhardt also led the effort to enact the Great American Outdoors Act, which established the most consequential dedicated funding for maintaining critical facilities and infrastructure at our national parks, wildlife refuges, and recreational facilities in history. He also developed and implemented sweeping regulatory changes that were estimated to reduce regulatory burdens by more than $5 billion. Bernhardt is active in numerous charitable and business endeavors, practices administrative law, and enjoys the spectacular outdoors with his spouse, Gena Rae Bernhardt, their two teenagers, and two yellow Labrador Retrievers.
The son of a U.N. diplomat, Kweku Boafo, was born in Ghana, reared in France, and currently resides in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He serves as Director of Policy and Research for AFPI’s Center for Election Integrity. As a Trump Administration political appointee, Boafo previously served as the Director of Peace Corps Response, where he was instrumental in revamping Peace Corps Response by positioning it as the avant-garde of strategic initiatives within the Peace Corps. Before joining the Trump Administration, Boafo spent most of his career in the private sector, looking after the interests of his clients, providing them election, government relations and economic development insights, and strategies at multiple levels—local, state, federal, and international. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Oral Roberts University and holds a Master’s certificate in Diplomacy and International Commerce from the Patterson School of Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky. In his free time, Boafo can be found in the weight room with his wife, on a soccer pitch with his daughters, or animatedly watching an Arsenal F.C. game.
Ken Blackwell is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and serves as the Chairman of AFPI’s Center for Election Integrity. Blackwell has an extensive career in public service and is widely regarded as a leading expert on elections and election security. Prior to joining AFPI, Blackwell served as the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, and was also elected to serve as the Treasurer and Secretary of State for the State of Ohio. Blackwell also currently serves as a Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at the Family Research Council. He is the Co-Chairman of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and serves on the Board of Directors for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, the Near East News Agency, and the Institute for Pension Fund Integrity. Blackwell was formerly the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. After receiving both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Xavier University, Blackwell became a professor there for many years. He enjoys Hermeneutics, hunting, and traveling the world with his wife of 53 years.
Pam Bondi is from Tampa, Florida, and serves as the Chairman for the Constitutional Litigation Partnership. A fourth-generation Floridian, Bondi spent more than 18 years as a prosecutor, trying cases ranging from domestic violence to capital murder. She served as Florida’s 37th and first female Attorney General. When Bondi took office, Florida was referred to as the pill mill capital of the United States and in her first legislative session she successfully advanced reforms to eliminate unscrupulous doctors and clinics performing in Florida. Bondi was appointed to the President’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission where she worked alongside other national leaders in areas of drug prevention, interdiction, and treatment. Bondi was a strong champion for the First Step Act, which helps formerly incarcerated inmates re-enter society safely and prevents recidivism. Bondi is a partner at Ballard Partners’ Washington, D.C. office where she chairs the firm’s corporate regulatory practice. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Florida and her Juris Doctor from Stetson Law School. Bondi splits her time between Tampa and Washington D.C, where she is on the Board of Trustees for the Kennedy Center. In Tampa, Bondi enjoys watching all the great Tampa Bay sports teams and spending time with her family and rescue dogs.
Jack Brewer was raised in Grapevine, Texas, and serves as AFPI’s Chairman of the Center for Opportunity Now. Recently, Brewer was an Advisory Board Member of Black Voices for Trump. In 2004, he started his own firm, the Brewer Group, where serves as Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager. His global charity efforts have delivered millions in emergency aid and currently provide programs to thousands living in extreme poverty. He is a White House appointee on the Congressional Commission for the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, and is currently a Professor at Fordham Gabelli School of Business where he has created curriculum tailored for transitioning athletes and prisoners. Brewer was NFL team captain for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. Brewer attended Southern Methodist University where he was a two-sport player, breaking the Disney World Classic record in triple jump and was an All-American candidate as a wide receiver in football. He later transferred to the University of Minnesota where he continued as an All-Big Ten track and football Athlete, who served as the team captain. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota by the age of 22. Brewer resides in Florida with his wife, Cortney, and has four children: Jared, Laesha, Jackson, and Zayah.
Beatrice Brooke was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and serves as a Policy Analyst in the Center for American Prosperity and the Center for Energy Independence for AFPI. Brooke recently finished her service at the United States Department of Commerce where she served as a Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary on policy matters including international trade, economic development, weather operations, and commercial space enterprises. In this role, she supported the Deputy Secretary who served as the Department’s Chief Operating Officer of a budget of more than $15.2 billion, 12 operating units, and over 47,000 employees. She is a graduate of Northwestern University where she majored in Political Science and International Studies and also studied Spanish and Italian. Brooke grew up in Washington D.C., and she enjoys reading about history, traveling, and studying languages—and has recently begun learning Korean.
Governor Bryant is originally from Mississippi and serves as a Senior Advisor at AFPI. Phil Bryant is a founding member of Bryant Songy Snell Global Partners where he provides strategic advice and counsel and business development services to some of the world’s largest industry leaders. Governor Bryant served two terms as Mississippi’s 64th governor from 2012 to January 2020 prior to opening is his consulting firm. He also served as Mississippi’s lieutenant governor, as state auditor, and as a legislator in the Mississippi House of Representatives. While serving as Mississippi’s chief executive officer, Governor Bryant largely centered his efforts on creating new economic opportunities, among other things. Under Governor Bryant’s leadership Mississippi saw its lowest-ever unemployment rate, its lowest-ever high school dropout rate, its lowest-ever teen pregnancy rate, its highest-ever number of jobs, its highest-ever number of graduating physicians, its highest-ever K-12 reading and math improvement scores, and its highest-ever high school graduation rate. Governor Bryant served as chairman of the Education Commission of the States; chairman of the Southern States Energy Board; chairman of Jobs for America’s Graduates; and chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society of the United States. The Moorhead native and former deputy sheriff earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in political science from Mississippi College, where he also received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree. Before being elected governor, he served as an adjunct professor of government at Mississippi College. Governor Bryant resides in Hazlehurst, Mississippi with his wife Deborah. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Alex Campana is from Fort Collins, Colorado, and serves as AFPI’s Director of Stewardship and as a Policy Analyst in the Center for 1776. Campana most recently served three years in the Trump White House, first at the Office of Management and Budget and later at the Domestic Policy Council (DPC). She led space policy and child welfare policy for DPC and helped coordinate various activities of the DPC team. She also acted as the liaison between DPC and the Office of the First Lady’s policy team and frequently helped coordinate policy rollouts for the two teams. Campana attended Pepperdine University where she ran Division 1 track and cross country and received a degree in Economics. She later earned master’s degrees in Political Economy from both Georgetown University and Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management. Campana has not stepped foot on a track since college but now enjoys running half marathons in different countries around the world.
Josh Campbell is from Camilla, Georgia, and serves as an attorney for the Constitutional Litigation Partnership at AFPI. Most recently before joining AFPI, Josh served as the Senior Advisor and Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of Energy, where he advised on a broad range of national and international litigation and energy law matters. Over the past 15 years, Campbell has handled over 100 civil or criminal trials or hearings. Campbell spent over a decade trying cases in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, litigating cases across not only the state, but also across the United States. He began his legal career working for the late G. Terry Jackson, the President of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. He has won numerous appeals in state and federal courts, including successfully obtaining a 3-0 decision after oral argument at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. While in law school, he published legal articles on a range of topics and received the Scholar of Merit award for earning the highest grade in his class in State Constitutional Law. He received his undergraduate degree from Liberty University and his Juris Doctor from The Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Earlier in life, he was a Division I collegiate athlete on the Men’s tennis team and continues to enjoy the game today.
Cale Clingenpeel is from Anchorage, Alaska and serves as AFPI’s Chief Economist. Clingenpeel most recently served as the Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Clingenpeel started at the CEA in 2018 and worked predominately on tax, energy, labor, international & domestic macroeconomic policy, and the economic response to the pandemic. Previously Clingenpeel helped lead an Alaska-based nonprofit organization focused on U.S. Arctic policy, worked on various Alaska political campaigns, conducted field research in East Africa for a development project, and even spent a summer training 70 Iditarod racing sled dogs on a remote Alaska glacier. Clingenpeel holds an M.A. in International Economics and Finance from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a B.S. in International Economics from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Clingenpeel is an Alaskan through and through and is most at home among the mountains whether he’s skiing, running, fishing, camping, or mushing.
Chad Connelly is originally from South Carolina and serves as a Senior Advisor for AFPI’s Center for Election Integrity. Connelly has experienced a wide array of life experiences that contribute to his effectiveness as a highly sought speaker on various topics. He earned an engineering degree at Clemson University, served as an Armor Officer in the U.S. Army, led a national engineering firm in sales and revenue, and ran a multi-million-dollar business of coaching, mentoring, and leading others into entrepreneurship. Chad also served as the South Carolina GOP Chairman, appearing on every national television network as a featured commentator, and was the Republican National Committee’s first-ever National Director of Faith Engagement, speaking in 43 states to over 85,000 pastors and faith leaders. He formed a non-profit organization called Faith Wins to continue inspiring, informing, and mobilizing pastors and faith leaders across America to fully engage the culture and leverage their influence for a Biblical worldview in the political arena. Faith Wins was responsible for registering nearly 750k new evangelical voters in the 2020 Election Cycle and continues to expand its reach with trusted relationships across America’s evangelical spectrum. He is passionate about America and Her true history but is most passionate about his wife Dana and their four children, who live in Prosperity, South Carolina.
Rachel Craddock is from Tuscola, Illinois, and serves as a Policy Analyst in the Center for the American Worker and the Center for Education Opportunity for AFPI. Craddock most recently served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate Director for the Office of Economic Initiatives led by Ivanka Trump at the White House. In this role, she managed office operations, provided daily briefings, developed long-term strategy plans, organized and planned domestic and international travel, and oversaw agriculture policy, including the Farmers to Families Food Box Program COVID-19 relief efforts. Previously, Craddock was a press assistant for the Office of the Press Secretary at the White House and a staffer for the U.S. House of Representatives. She studied Health Policy, Planning and Administration and Political Science at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Craddock enjoys traveling, running in any season, and exploring and learning from any and all historical sites wherever she travels.
Catharine Cypher is a Hilton Head Island, South Carolina native, but calls Fenton, Michigan, home and serves as Director of Strategic Communications for the Constitutional Litigation Partnership and Advisor for the Center for the American Child at AFPI. Cypher most recently worked for First Lady Melania Trump as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Media Affairs. Cypher also spearheaded many policy projects, including the First Lady’s 19th Amendment Centennial Anniversary engagements and her “Be Best” policy engagements within the issue areas of foster care, opioids/neonatal abstinence syndrome, and children’s well-being. Previously, Cypher worked for Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, where she served as Special Assistant to the President and Director of External Affairs. Cypher also worked at the law firm Hogan Lovells, U.S. Senator David Perdue, and served as the National Political Director at the College Republican National Committee. Cypher graduated with a B.S. in Legal Studies from Grand Valley State University. Growing up, Cypher was a top 3 nationally ranked equestrian and a member of a multi-national championship water ski team. She has carried on those passions into adulthood and enjoys spending her free time riding horses and spending time with her family on the lake in Michigan.
Kaelan Dorr is from Ft. Stewart, Georgia, and serves as AFPI’s Vice President for Communications and Director for the Center on Media Accountability. Dorr most recently served as the Chief Marketing Officer for the Trump-Pence 2020 presidential campaign. Previously, Dorr served in the Trump Administration as a Senior Advisor at the Treasury Department and as Director of Congressional and Intergovernmental Communications at the White House. Dorr is a veteran of the Trump-Pence 2016 presidential campaign and before that worked at Jamestown Associates consulting for political candidates and issue advocacy groups at the state and federal levels. Dorr is a graduate of Elon University in North Carolina, and currently resides in Arlington, Virginia with his hound dog, Daisy.
Alec Ernst is from Shillington, Pennsylvania, and serves as AFPI’s Digital Deployment Manager. Ernst most recently served as Deputy Email Director for the Republican National Committee and had the opportunity to serve as a member of the Trump-Pence 2020 digital team. In addition to serving as AFPI’s Digital Deployment Manager, Ernst proudly serves his hometown of Shillington, Pennsylvania, as Councilman since being elected to office in 2019 at the age of 18. Ernst also had the honor to serve as a White House Intern in the Office of Political Affairs during the Trump Administration. Ernst’s work within government and on political campaigns, coupled with his experience in digital marketing, has given him a unique perspective on strategy, campaigning, and policy. Ernst looks forward to continuing to put America first, always.
Drake Franklin is from Gainesville, Georgia, and serves as AFPI’s Engagement Officer and Policy Analyst. Drake most recently served as the Executive Director of Evangelicals for Trump for the Trump-Pence 2020 presidential campaign. In this role, he managed 62 prominent advisory board members and numerous national surrogate relationships. He also worked closely with national and state-level GOP campaign staff to implement several initiatives, including a targeted voter contact program and a robust digital presence while managing and executing over eighty in-person and online events all across the nation. Franklin previously served as a White House intern in the Presidential Correspondence Office, where he assisted the writer’s team in researching, drafting, and dispatching proclamations, greetings, and letters on behalf of the president. Franklin currently resides in Washington D.C. When he’s not studying, he enjoys running, boxing, and spending time with friends.
Hogan Gidley is from Columbia, South Carolina, and serves as AFPI’s Director of the Center for Election Integrity. Most recently, he served as National Press Secretary for President Trump’s Re-Election Campaign and Principal Deputy Press Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President in the Trump Administration. Gidley is a communications, political and marketing consultant with more than twenty years of experience. He was Director of Communications for Mike Huckabee, Elizabeth Dole, and Rick Santorum, to name a few, and served as Executive Director of the South Carolina Republican Party. In his free time, he enjoys duck and turkey hunting, going to the beach, and golfing with friends.
Martin Gillespie is a proud native of South Jersey and serves as the Chief Development Officer for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI). Gillespie previously served as Director of Donor Relations and Senior Advisor to the President for Corporate Relations at The Heritage Foundation. His over two decades in the conservative movement include serving as Deputy Director at the Republican National Committee, Executive Director of American Majority Action, Campaign Manager for Congressman Chris Smith, Political Director for Senator Sam Brownback, and also serving as a political appointee in the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush. He is a graduate with highest honors in political science from Rutgers University and also has a Master’s Degree in management and fundraising from Avila University. He is named after his immigrant grandfather and also married to an immigrant (Joana) and wants to preserve the promise of America for future generations, most especially his children Jimmy, William, and Martin. In his spare time, he loves playing golf (broke 70 twice in his life—with witnesses!), the Jersey shore, and Italian restaurants.
Abigail Graham is from Spokane, Washington, and serves as AFPI’s Communications Specialist. Graham most recently was the Executive Assistant to the National Press Secretary for the Trump-Pence 2020 presidential campaign where she managed the Press Secretary’s schedule and acted as a liaison between various departments. Previously, she served as the Executive Assistant to the Principal Deputy Press Secretary at the White House. Graham is a graduate of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington with a degree in Public Relations. Prior to her time in Washington D.C., Graham worked in event planning, where she coordinated both corporate events and weddings. In her free time, her passion is traveling, and she runs a travel and lifestyle blog with her two sisters.
Ashley Hayek is originally from the small agricultural town of Clovis, California, and serves as AFPI’s Chief Engagement Officer. Hayek is a political strategist with over 15 years of experience in political, non-profit, and organization consulting, most recently serving on the Trump-Pence 2020 presidential campaign as the National Coalitions Director. At the age of 22, she started her first company in the loft of her townhouse in San Diego and within five years became the premier political and non-profit fundraising firm in Southern California. Hayek attended the University of California, San Diego, where she received a degree in Political Science, and is the proud wife of a United States Marine and mom of four. Despite her relentless commitment to work, she is devoted to her family, juggling it all in her best stilettos.
Aaron Hedlund is from Wheaton, Illinois, and serves as AFPI’s Director of Research. Most recently, he served as the Chief Domestic Economist and Senior Adviser at the White House Council of Economic Advisers. In this capacity, Hedlund helped design and execute emergency economic measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping coordinate the nationwide health IT data modernization that supported the Operation Warp Speed vaccine program, and analyzing the impact of core domestic priorities ranging from school choice to the Opportunity Zones program for economically distressed areas. Hedlund received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and his undergraduate degree in economics and mathematics from Duke University. Hedlund, his wife, and their four kids live in Columbia, Missouri, where he is also an associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri. He and his family enjoy hiking, tennis, watching movies, and exploring the vast expanse that is America. His not-so-secret dream would be to attend a tennis match featuring Roger Federer.
Lou Holtz is originally from East Liverpool, Ohio, and serves as the Chairman of the Center for 1776. Lou Holtz is considered one of the most successful college football coaches of all time. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in history from Kent State in 1959, a Masters’ degree from Iowa in arts and education in 1961, and has received numerous honorary doctorate degrees. During his time at Kent State, Holtz enrolled in the Army ROTC and later served as an Officer in the United States Army Reserves. He played linebacker at Kent State for two seasons before an injury ended his career. In addition to his extensive career as head football coach for several universities including: Notre Dame, William & Mary, Minnesota, Arkansas, and North Carolina State, he was the head coach of the NFL’s New York Jets. He later was a college football studio analyst on ESPN and is currently in his second year with SiriusXM Radio as a Co-Host for two sports programs. In 1996, the Holtz Charitable Foundation, Inc., a 501©(3) organization, was formed. The Foundation seeks to provide scholarships to trade schools. On Dec. 3, 2020 Lou was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to our society by President Donald J. Trump. Holtz is the father of four children, grandparent to nine children, and he currently resides in Orlando, Florida.
Davis Ingle is from Lakeland, Florida, and serves as AFPI’s Communications Specialist. Mr. Ingle spent several years working in the federal government in both media affairs and communications. He served at the White House in the Office of Management and Budget, and, later, joined the White House Press Office, where he served as press wrangler. In that role, Mr. Ingle managed the White House Correspondents’ Association’s daily press pool, managed logistics for both domestic and international travel with the President, and helped produce press briefings and public events with the President. Before joining AFPI, Davis was an Account Executive at ATHOS PR. He also spent time in the U.S. Department of State, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. Mr. Ingle earned a Global Master’s of Business Administration and a BA in Communications from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. He also earned certificates from the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and the University of Cambridge in International Relations and Politics. Ingle currently resides in Washington, D.C., and in his free time you can find him on the golf course and basketball court.
Kendall Johnson is from Birmingham, Alabama, and serves as AFPI’s Digital Media Producer. Johnson most recently served as a member of the Trump-Pence 2020 presidential campaign’s digital team producing a wide range of digital ads, national television commercials, and convention videos. In her work, Johnson has built a brand of working well under pressure and generating creative ideas with technical precision, on time, and under budget. Previously Johnson was a Stunt Office Coordinator, Director’s Assistant, and Production Coordinator for STX Films and Up TV Entertainment contributing to top film productions in Atlanta, Georgia. Johnson was a field representative for the Trump-Pence 2016 presidential campaign in South Carolina, Texas, and Georgia. Johnson enjoys spending time off with her husky, Snarls Barkley, who loves traveling and starring in commercials. In her free time, she relives her glory days of Auburn University’s unparalleled famous Kick Six and is looking forward to the upcoming college football season. Johnson is an avid believer that the best is yet to come!
Rachel Jag is a proud native of St. Louis, Missouri, and serves as Associate Attorney for AFPI’s Constitutional Litigation Partnership. Most recently, Jag served as the Legislative Correspondent to Congressman Jake LaTurner (KS-02). Prior to working on the Hill, Jag was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Missouri in their Litigation Division in Kansas City. Jag started her legal career at Evans & Dixon, LLC in St. Louis working as a Civil Litigation Associate. She received a dual-degree in Political Science and Communications from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and her Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law. While in law school, she gained valuable leadership experience as the President of the Student Bar Association and Co-Chair of the Public Interest Law Group’s annual auction. Jag proudly served as the Legal Intern for the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Jag currently resides in Washington, D.C., and enjoys exploring the city, cheering on the St. Louis Blues and Cardinals, and making new friends wherever she goes.
Bobby Jindal is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and currently serves as Chairman of the Center for a Healthy America. Jindal has a well-earned reputation as one of America’s most successful public sector executives and one of the boldest innovators in the health care and education sectors. Jindal used his two terms as Governor of Louisiana to rebuild and diversify the state’s economy and financial footing in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Jindal’s agenda included top-to-bottom reformation and privatization of the state-run charity hospital and the state’s healthcare payer systems. Fiscally, Jindal reduced the state budget by 26%, reduced the state employee headcount by 30,000, and implemented the largest income tax reduction in state history. Despite being the Nation’s youngest governor when he was elected in 2007, Jindal had been well-prepared to become the state’s CEO, with stints as the head of the state Department of Health and Hospitals, as President of the University of Louisiana System, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Executive Director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare – all before his thirtieth birthday. Jindal graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Brown University with honors in Biology and Public Policy, and received an M.Litt. in Politics from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
Miles Johnson is from Tupelo, Mississippi, and serves as AFPI’s Government Affairs Manager. Most recently, Johnson served as a Policy Advisor to Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves where he tracked and provided analysis on state and federal legislation and worked with local officials, state agencies and leaders, and federal partners to advance shared priorities. Johnson previously served in the Trump White House, first as the Confidential Assistant to the General Counsel at the Office of Management and Budget and then as the Executive Assistant to the Senior Advisor to the President for Policy. Johnson also has experience on Capitol Hill, having served as a Legislative Aide to U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Government from Hillsdale College in Washington, D.C. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Mississippi. In his free time, Johnson enjoys playing golf, rooting on the Washington Nationals, and anxiously following Ole Miss Athletics.
General Keith Kellogg was born in Dayton, Ohio, grew up in California and 23 global and stateside military moves later, settled in Virginia where he serves as AFPI’s Chairman of the Center for American Security. Kellogg is a highly decorated, retired three star General and has extensive experience in the military and international businesses. Most recently, he was the National Security Advisor to former Vice President Mike Pence. He also served as the Chief of Staff and Executive Secretary of the National Security Council. Kellogg has wide ranging experience in Europe, the Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. He has served as an author and contributor on Fox News and CNN. Kellogg graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Political Science and went on to receive his master’s degree in International Studies from Kansas University. Kellogg and his wife, Paige, have three children, and love nothing more than having their four grandchildren stay with them and spoil them with anything they want. It drives their parents nuts.
Jordan Kittleson is originally from Monrovia, California, and currently serves as the Western Regional Policy Director of The Center for Election Integrity at AFPI. Kittleson most recently served as National Field Director for the Club for Growth, where he recruited new conservative talent and secured political intelligence vital to the electoral decision-making needs of the organization. Kittleson previously served in congressional campaign management for several House races, as Director of Outreach for two Members of Congress, as a Regional Field Director for the Republican Party, and as North Texas Regional Director for Senator Ted Cruz’s re-election campaign in 2018. Kittleson earned his B.A. degree in Political Science and Master’s in Public Administration from California State Polytechnic University. He enjoys dancing, wearing fresh suits, eating sushi and teppanyaki, playing poker, reciting movie lines, watching Dodger baseball, traveling with his wife, Norissa, and giving God the glory.
Mary Katherine LaCroix serves as AFPI’s Senior Director of Development Operations. She has worked in fundraising for more than 20 years at various organizations, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School, The Philadelphia Orchestra, United Way, and most recently, The Heritage Foundation. LaCroix is a graduate of the University of Scranton and holds a degree in History and English Literature. She enjoys visiting her large extended family and volunteering to support the special needs community in her spare time. LaCroix is a native of Long Island, New York, and now resides in South Jersey with her husband and two children.
Ryann McEnany is a Tampa, Florida native and serves as the Digital Marketing and Brand Communications Strategist and Engagement Officer at AFPI. McEnany most recently worked for the Trump-Pence 2020 presidential campaign as a Social Media Strategist. During her time with the campaign, she managed President Trump’s Snapchat, reaching millions of daily users, and assisted in optimizing Team Trump’s digital presence. She spent the final months of the campaign interviewing everyday Americans at rallies around the country, capturing the heartfelt stories of people from all backgrounds, ideologies, and political beliefs, to reveal the raw, unscripted reactions from the public. McEnany graduated from the University of Florida with a M.S. in Sport Management, specializing in Athlete Development, and a B.S. in Telecommunications. She was a member of University of Florida’s nationally ranked track and field program where she competed in the 60-meter hurdles and 100-meter hurdles. McEnany currently holds the 8th fastest 60-meter hurdle time in the university’s history. Over the 15 years that McEnany spent in sports, she developed a unique set of skills and gained valuable experiences that she continues to carry with her into the political scene. In Tampa, McEnany enjoys cheering on all the outstanding Tampa Bay sports teams and spending time with her family.
Ashley Mocarski is from Shelton, Connecticut, and serves as AFPI’s Senior Director for Development. Ashley most recently served on the Trump-Pence 2020 presidential campaign as the Director of External Affairs and Development for the Trump Victory Finance Committee. Mocarski previously worked at the White House in the offices of Communications, Cabinet Affairs, and Political Affairs where she helped build communications and coalition-building strategies. She also worked on the Trump-Pence 2016 presidential campaign. Prior to her work in Washington D.C. Mocarski worked at Greater New York Hospital Association and served on the development teams at Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. She attended St. John’s University where she studied Health and Human Services. Mocarski grew up with a passion for absorbing copious amounts of information and enjoys skiing, traveling to Connecticut and New York City to see family, watching Broadway plays, and listening to music legends like Frank Sinatra. That’s life.
Brian Morgenstern is originally from Sparta, New Jersey, and is a Senior Advisor at AFPI. Morgenstern served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury. He was a key liaison to the business community and media during the implementation of some of the most consequential legislation of the Trump Administration, including the CARES Act and the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Most recently, he served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director and Deputy Press Secretary. Morgenstern advised and traveled with the President and other senior administration officials. He oversaw communications and messaging for Operation Warp Speed and the Coronavirus Task Force, and frequently appeared on national television and radio shows. Morgenstern graduated from Columbia Law School and was the first underclassman student body president at Georgetown University.
Jacob Olidort is from Queens and Manhattan, New York, and serves as AFPI’s Director of the Center for American Security. Olidort recently served in the Office of the Vice President, where he contributed to the federal response to COVID-19. Previously, Olidort served as the senior foreign policy advisor to Senator Josh Hawley and Senator Orrin Hatch, as well as in positions at the Department of Defense, the State Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Olidort previously was a Soref Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and taught at George Washington University and American University. Olidort was a Fulbright Scholar in the United Arab Emirates, a non-resident fellow at the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and is a term member in the Council on Foreign Relations. Olidort received his B.A. in History and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, magna cum laude, from Brandeis University, his A.M. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. When Jacob is not writing, he enjoys visiting family in New York, browsing used book shops, and fishing on Long Island.
Dr. Heidi Overton is from Gallup, New Mexico, and serves as AFPI’s Director of the Center for a Healthy America. Overton recently served as a White House Fellow in 2019-2020 in both the Office of American Innovation and the Domestic Policy Council and is a PhD candidate in Clinical Investigation at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Previously, Overton was a general surgery resident at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a physician advocate for price and quality transparency in healthcare through Restoring Medicine. During medical school, Overton was appointed by Governor Susana Martinez to serve on the University of New Mexico (UNM) Board of Regents, which included fiduciary and full-voting responsibilities for all business and clinical operations of the university and health system. Overton graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Health, Medicine, and Human Values from the UNM’s Combined BA/MD Program and received her medical degree from the UNM School of Medicine. Overton loves living in our nation’s capital and enjoys traveling to see family and friends around the country, especially going back home where she gets her fill of New Mexico red and green chile and can improve her favorite new hobby – golf – in the bright blue skies and sunshine of the high desert.
Preston Parry is from Tucson, Arizona, and serves as AFPI’s Strategic Assistant to the President & CEO. Parry most recently served at the White House as the Executive Assistant to the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Brooke Rollins. In this role, he managed Director Rollins’s schedule and assisted her with the overall operations for over 40 members of the Council. In this role, he was also the Policy Coordinator for the team and was the primary liaison with the Office of the Staff Secretary. Parry previously was an associate director in the White House Visitors Office, facilitating tours, large scale events, and assisting the Office of the First Lady. Parry also served as a White House intern in 2017 in the Office of Digital Strategy. He attended Utah Valley University, where he graduated with a degree in Political Science. Parry currently resides in Washington, D.C. where he enjoys weekend brunches with friends, attending D.C. sporting events and concerts, and petting all the puppies in his neighborhood in Navy Yard.
Rick Perry was born in Haskell, Texas, and raised in Paint Creek, Texas, the son of dryland cotton farmers, and serves as AFPI’s Chairman of the Center for Energy Independence. Perry served as the 14th Secretary of Energy, where he advanced America’s dominance in energy production to help American businesses, workers, families, and farmers. Previously, Perry served as the 47th governor of Texas. As Governor of the Lone Star State, Perry championed conservative principles that helped Texas become America’s economic engine. Perry also served Texas as Lt. Governor, Agriculture Commissioner, and State Representative. Perry is a veteran of the United States Air Force, having flown C-130 tactical airlift aircraft in Europe and the Middle East and remains passionate about supporting the active duty and veteran community. Perry earned distinction early in his life as an Eagle Scout and he was one of the first in his family to go to college, earning a degree in Animal Science from Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and a Yell Leader. Perry married his childhood sweetheart, Anita, in 1982. They have two children, two beautiful granddaughters, and a grandson, who was born on the 4th of July.
Javon Price is from Fairfax, Virginia, and serves as a Policy Analyst in the Center for Opportunity Now, the Center for Second Chances, and the Center for American Security for AFPI. Price most recently worked in the United States House of Representatives as a Staff Assistant for Congressman Byron Donalds (FL-19). Previously, Price interned for the White House Domestic Policy Council and the Office of American Innovation. He also interned for the Republican Governors Association and the Republican Attorneys General Association. Additionally, Price is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service studying International Politics with a focus in Security. Price is a veteran of the United States Air Force, having served in the Reserves from 2017-2020. He left the Air Force as a Senior Airman (E-4). When Price is not focused on politics or his studies, he enjoys watching the Dallas Cowboys compete every Sunday. Outside of football season, he is a huge fan of the Georgetown Hoyas Basketball Team and the Washington Nationals.
Venetia Resciniti is from Binghamton, New York, and serves as a staff assistant in AFPI’s Constitutional Litigation Partnership. Resciniti previously interned at the White House in the Domestic Policy Council where she assisted staff in policy research and drafting policy materials. Resciniti also interned at the State Department in the Policy Planning Staff where she contributed to policy research, verifying facts for speech writers, and was responsible for aiding in office management. Resciniti received her B.A. in public policy and Master of Public Administration from the University at Albany. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and exploring all DC has to offer.
John Ratcliffe grew up in Mount Prospect, Illinois, and serves as Co-Chairman to the Center for American Security. Most recently, he served as the sixth Director of National Intelligence (DNI). In that role, Ratcliffe served as the leader of the U.S. intelligence community and principal intelligence advisor to President Trump. As “America’s Top Spy,” Ratcliffe successfully deployed covert and clandestine intelligence assets to remove numerous designated terrorist leaders from the battlefield; led a shift in the U.S. intelligence community priorities to better position the U.S. for success in the great power competition with China and designated space as a priority intelligence domain by adding the U.S. Space Force as the 18th member of the intelligence community. In recognition of his national security achievements, the President awarded Ratcliffe the National Security Medal, the nation’s highest honor for distinguished achievement in the field of intelligence and national security. Prior to his nomination and confirmation as DNI, Ratcliffe served in Congress for over five years as the U.S. Representative for the 4th Congressional District of Texas. As a Congressman, he was a leading policy maker on national security issues as a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees and as Cybersecurity Chairman on the Homeland Security Committee. The son of two schoolteachers and the youngest of six, John was born in Illinois but “got to Texas as fast as I could.” He and his family reside in Heath, Texas, where John previously served as mayor for eight years.
James Sherk was born in Ontario, Canada, and immigrated with his family to Midland, Michigan while in middle school. He serves as AFPI’s Director of the Center for American Freedom. Sherk previously served as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy on the White House Domestic Policy Council. James served as the Trump Administration’s top civil service reform and labor policy advisor from 2017 to 2021. At the White House, he was the principal author of and/or policy lead for approximately two dozen executive orders and presidential memoranda. Sherk also served as a member of the President’s Council on Improving Federal Civic Architecture. Prior to his White House service, Sherk was a Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, where he was a nationally recognized expert on the civil service and labor policy. Sherk received a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics from Hillsdale College and an M.A. in Economics from the University of Rochester. Sherk and his wife, Jill, live in Northern Virginia with three beloved children who teach their parents to ponder inscrutable questions like “how much drawing can go on the walls before we have to repaint them?”
Travis Shirkman is from Williamsburg, Virginia, and serves as the Director of Donor Relations at AFPI. Shirkman previously served as the Senior Assistant to the President for Donor Relations at The Heritage Foundation where he worked with major gift donors in the Northeast and Southwest regions of the country. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice and Strategic Intelligence from Liberty University, along with a Master’s degree in International Relations. He is married to Juliana, a California native, and overly proud of his Golden Retriever, Maverick! He enjoys golfing and cycling in his spare time (Lake Tahoe is his longest ride, 72 miles). Growing up in Williamsburg Virginia, Shirkman fell in love with the history of America and the founding principles that make this country great and worth fighting for every day.
Cliff Sims is from Birmingham, Alabama and serves as a Senior Fellow in AFPI’s Center for American Security. He previously served as Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Strategy and Communications inside the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which oversees the 18 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community. In this role, Sims was awarded the Director’s Exceptional Achievement Award in recognition of superior accomplishment and valuable service to the mission of ODNI. Sims was previously Special Assistant to the President and Director of White House Message Strategy. In this role, he led the White House’s messaging operation, advising the President and senior officials on communications strategy. Sims spearheaded the Trump Administration’s messaging for some of its most notable accomplishments, including the successful passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. He also led the messaging and speechwriting team for the 2020 Republican National Convention. Sims graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama with a degree in Political Science. Earlier in life, Cliff was a college basketball player and had songs featured on MTV and in major motion pictures.
Rachael Seidenschnur Slobodien is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, and serves as AFPI’s Chief Communications Officer. Slobodien most recently served as the Chief of Staff for the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) under President Donald J. Trump. Prior to joining CEA, Slobodien served as Communications Director for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). She also worked at The Heritage Foundation where she led communications strategy for Heritage’s Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Washington and Lee University where she graduated cum laude and with honors. Slobodien also earned a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School, where she graduated with honors and served as Editor-in-Chief of The Federal Communications Law Journal. A classically trained ballerina, Slobodien values precision and promptitude. She also enjoys spending time with her family and their beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Miss Winston Churchill.
Ja’Ron Smith is from Cleveland, Ohio, and serves as AFPI’s Chairman of the Center for Second Chances. Smith recently served in several roles at the White House, including Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, Deputy Director for the Office of American Innovation, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, and Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Director of Urban Affairs and Revitalization for the White House Domestic Policy Council. He is also currently the Executive Director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity. Prior to working at the White House, Smith spent time on Capitol Hill working for Senator Tim Scott and then-Congressman Mike Pence. Smith attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. where he studied finance and economics. Smith and his wife, Ashley, are the proud parents of twins, one boy and one girl, enjoy walking their dog, BJ, where they reside in Southwest Washington, D.C. Smith is also an avid Cleveland Browns fan.
Steve Smith is from Dayton, Ohio, serves as AFPI’s Chief of Staff and Director of the Center for New Frontiers. Smith recently served as a Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff of the White House Office of American Innovation and the Domestic Policy Council, where he developed, led, and managed the policy strategy of over 40 team members. Smith served on the team that passed the First Step Act, a historic bipartisan criminal justice reform and was heavily involved in the successes of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, and the COVID-19 rapid response operations team. Steve previously spent 12 years in campaign management, leading and supporting political races from city, state, federal, and presidential levels; notably serving on Senator Mitch McConnell’s 2008 campaign and as the Special Assistant to the Republican National Committee’s Co-Chairman during the 2016 cycle. Smith received a degree in Political Science from the University of Kentucky. Smith is daydreaming about the final frontier of space, playing saxophone to the detriment of his neighbors, hiking new trails, and rooting on the Cleveland Browns, Dayton Flyers, and the Kentucky Wildcats.
Jessica Hart Steinmann is from Houston, Texas, and serves as the Deputy General Counsel and Senior Advisor for AFPI’s Center for Election Integrity. Jessica most recently served as Elections Committee Clerk & Counsel of the Texas House of Representatives. During the Trump Administration, she was appointed by the President as the Director for the Office of Victims of Crime at the Department of Justice (DOJ) where she oversaw nearly $9 billion and awarded over $2.5 billion in funding in 2020 that helped victims in the aftermath of crime. Her office provided the largest federal funding to combat domestic human trafficking. Before this role, she served as the Intergovernmental and Public Liaison for the DOJ. In this role she was the primary liaison with governors, state attorneys general, state elected officials, law enforcement officials, and key stakeholders. She previously worked for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Harris County Republican Party, and was a commercial litigation attorney at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. She received a B.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin and received a J.D. from Baylor Law School. Jessica and her husband, Brandon, reside in The Woodlands,Texas, and she spends the majority of her free time traveling, hiking, doing yoga, or out at the lake.
Katharine Sullivan is from Fulton, New York, and serves as AFPI’s Executive Director for the Constitutional Litigation Partnership and General Counsel. Sullivan most recently performed the duties of the Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs under Attorney General William Barr at the Department of Justice. Sullivan managed a budget of $5 billion in resources to support state, local, and tribal criminal and juvenile justice activities, victim services, research and statistics, and administrative duties. After managing multiple statewide and local political campaigns, Sullivan was a Deputy District Attorney, prosecuting misdemeanor and felony offenses. Sullivan then founded and was a managing partner of Goldberg, Sullivan, and Gerson, PC in Aspen, Colorado, where she had a robust practice of complex civil and criminal cases. Governor Bill Owens appointed Sullivan to serve as a state trial court judge in 2007. For 11 years, she presided over 42,000 civil and criminal cases, a rehabilitation-focused drug court, and a DUI court. Sullivan was appointed and served on Colorado’s Committee on Judicial Ethics. She received her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and her Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School.
Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D. is originally from Phoenix, Arizona, but has lived in Mississippi for over 25 years. She serves as AFPI’s Senior Fellow for the Center for Education Opportunity and Center for the American Worker. Dr. Todd-Smith was appointed by President Trump to serve as the Director of the Women’s Bureau at the United States Department of Labor. During her tenure at the Women’s Bureau, she focused the agency on issues of childcare, paid family leave, and grants to support women in apprenticeship. Prior to her work with the United States Department of Labor, Dr. Todd-Smith served as Senior Education and Workforce Policy Advisor to Governor Phil Bryant. She led numerous legislative efforts to help improve public education in Mississippi including: The Literacy Based Promotion Act, Early Childhood Education, Charter Schools, Special Needs Education Scholarship Account, and accountability models for school districts, all of which resulted in improved outcomes for Mississippi’s students. Dr. Todd-Smith is also the former executive director of the Mississippi State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) and the State Childhood Advisory Council (SECAC). Dr. Todd-Smith is a former elementary school teacher and holds a doctorate in education from Mississippi State University, a master’s degree from Western New Mexico University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona. Dr. Todd-Smith is a 2-year breast cancer survivor. She is an avid college football fan and enjoys boating at Lake Caroline, MS with her husband, Ron, and adorable Yorkie, Max.
Sam Trippie is from Buffalo, New York, and serves as Development Specialist for the America First Policy Institute. Prior to joining AFPI, Sam worked compliance and payables for various federal and state campaigns. Sam also had the pleasure of interning at the Heritage Foundation under their development team. In Buffalo, Sam braved the snowy winters at Niagara University where he studied Political Science. Sam currently resides in Washington, D.C., and in his free time he likes to watch the Buffalo Bills win the AFC East, and the Sabres avoid last place. He also enjoys Buffalo sports, golfing with friends, and cooking Sunday Sauce.
Thomas J. Tsaveras grew up in Massapequa, New York, and serves as Director of Operations of the America First Policy Institute (AFPI). Tsaveras most recently served as Associate Director of Operations & Facilities in the White House Management Office. In this role, Tsaveras was responsible for overseeing operations and facilities for the entire White House complex and delivering direct operational and logistical support to the President, First Lady, and White House senior staff. He was a key player in project managing large scale historic restoration and renovation projects in the White House Mansion, West Wing, and East Wing, to help preserve The White House and its history for the American people. Tsaveras also served as the Facilities Manager for the West Wing & East Wing in the Office of Administration at The White House, running daily operations and providing logistical support to the President’s events and meetings in the West Wing Cabinet Room and Roosevelt Room. Prior to The White House, Tsaveras served on the Presidential Transition Team in 2016, assisting First Lady Melania Trump and the First Family during inauguration and moving into The White House. He was also the Office Manager for the 2016 Trump Campaign headquarters in Trump Tower, NY. He was the first volunteer on the Trump Campaign and was standing behind President Trump when he came down the escalator to announce his run for the presidency. Tsaveras received a degree in Political Science from Liberty University and is an Eagle Scout. In his free time, he enjoys reading about history, listening to music, hiking, and visiting historic landmarks and museums.
Emily Tubb is from Little Rock, Arkansas and serves as a Policy Analyst to the Center for Election Integrity, the Center for Law & Justice, the Center for Homeland Security & Immigration. Most recently, Tubb served as the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Council of Economic Advisers where she worked closely with leadership to synthesize analysis for the public and stakeholders in coordination with the President’s agenda. She graduated from Cornell University where she focused her studies on international trade and development. A fan of irony, Tubb likes to keep things short.
Scott Turner is from Richardson, Texas, and serves as AFPI’s Chairman of the Center for Education Opportunity at AFPI. Turner is a businessman, motivational speaker, and former professional football player, who previously served as the executive director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. Turner formerly served as a Texas state representative for the 33rd District, which includes part of Collin County and all of Rockwall County. Before entering public service, Turner was an American football cornerback who played in the NFL for nine seasons with the Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers, and the Denver Broncos. He attended the University of Illinois, where he played as their starting cornerback and graduated with a degree in speech communications.
Mike Vallante is originally from Rhode Island, and currently serves as a Senior Advisor of AFPI’s Center for Election Integrity. Mike has more than 40 years of experience in campaigns, public affairs, and business consulting. He has owned two small businesses in Rhode Island and California working for clients around the country, including candidates, non-profit organizations, associations, and political organizations. In his first campaign, Mike helped elect the first Republican Mayor in Providence Rhode Island in 40 years and went on to manage the campaign for the first woman elected to statewide office in Rhode Island. From 2003 to 2007, he served as the Chief Operating Officer/Executive Director of the California Republican Party for the successful recall of a California Governor. In 2011 he became the Chief of Staff to the Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Most recently, he served in the Small Business Administration as an Associate Administrator of Field Operations. Mike’s passion is dog rescue, especially older dogs that have medical conditions.
Gail Wilson hails from Dallas, Texas, and serves as an Engagement Officer for AFPI. Wilson most recently was the Deputy Executive Director for Black Voices for Trump during the Trump-Pence 2020 presidential campaign. There, she led the communication efforts for one of the fastest-growing coalitions on the President’s reelection campaign. Wilson used her unique skillset to cultivate relationships with key community stakeholders to bolster grassroots support for President Trump and crafted, staffed, and oversaw critical campaign events featuring these high-level supporters and leaders. Before focusing on domestic policies, Wilson traveled to Africa, Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America empowering women to participate in their political and economic environment to increase their leadership roles. Wilson graduated with a degree in Political Science from Texas Women’s University. Wilson is a first-generation American and truly loves this beautiful world having visited 25 countries and counting. When she is not globetrotting, Wilson enjoys eating medium rare steaks and listening to music.
Paula White-Cain was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and serves as Chair of the Center for American Values at AFPI. Currently, White-Cain serves as Senior Pastor at City of Destiny. For the past 37 years, White-Cain has worked across the world in almost 200 countries, ministering, fighting for religious freedom, humanitarian rights, and advocating for the voiceless. White-Cain also served as an advisor to President Donald J. Trump in the Office of Public Liaison’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative. Prior to her work at the White House, in 1991, starting with five people, she co-founded one of the fastest growing and largest churches in the nation, with an attendance of over 28,000 members. She served as pastor of this church for 22 years, and during that time, Paula White Ministries was launched and became a global media and outreach ministry. She is married to legendary singer/songwriter Jonathan Cain of the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band Journey and recites his daily motto of Don’t Stop Believin’ while riding horses and having the time of her life with her family.
Bill Woolf is a native of Virginia, and currently serves as a senior fellow at the American First Policy Institute (AFPI). Prior to joining AFPI, he previously served as director of Human Trafficking Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice and Acting Principal Deputy Director at the Office for Victims of Crime. During the Trump Administration, he also served as Special Advisor to the White House for Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation, where he coordinated with representatives from the President’s Interagency Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Just Ask Trafficking Prevention Foundation, an internationally recognized leader in the prevention of human trafficking, as well as serving as the Director of the National Human Trafficking Intelligence Center. Woolf has also served as a law enforcement officer at both the local and federal levels. He led the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force and started the first human trafficking unit in his agency. Woolf is the recipient of the Presidential Medal for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia (Wahoo-Wa). In his free time, Bill enjoys taking to the skies as a private pilot. Of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of his six incredible children who continue to amaze and surprise him every single day.
Chad F. Wolf is originally from Jackson, Mississippi and grew up in Plano, TX. He serves as Chairman of AFPI’s Center for Homeland Security and Immigration. Prior to joining AFPI, Wolf served as the first Senate confirmed Under Secretary for Policy and Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). During his time at DHS, he successfully navigated numerous global and domestic challenges to the nation’s security – including COVID-19, civil unrest, numerous border and immigration crises, historic natural disasters, and threats to global aviation security. Wolf is a nationally recognized expert in counterterrorism, law enforcement, border security, immigration, emergency management, critical infrastructure, and economic security. Prior to his service at DHS, he spent over 10 years in the private sector helping clients manage risks and shaping policy outcomes on key legislative, regulatory, and commercial issues. During this time, Wolf focused on a range of issues including homeland security, defense, financial services as well as corporate reputation, and political branding. Earlier in his career, Wolf worked on Capitol Hill. He has received the U.S. Secretary of Transportation 9⁄11 Medal, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. Wolf earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from Southern Methodist University and holds a Master’s Certificate in Government Contract Management from Villanova University. Wolf, along with his wife Hope, currently reside in Alexandria, VA and keep busy most days with their two teenage sons.
John A. Zadrozny is originally from New York and serves as the Director of AFPI’s Center for Homeland Security and Immigration. Prior to joining AFPI, Zadrozny served in several roles in the Trump Administration, including most recently as Deputy Assistant to the President in the Office of the Senior Advisor for Policy. Prior to his service in the Trump Administration, he spent six years on Capitol Hill, which included service as counsel to both U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). He also previously served in the George W. Bush Administration and as an Assistant District Attorney with the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney’s Office. Zadrozny has a B.A. in History and graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University in the Bronx, New York, and a J.D. from the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. He lives with his family in the Commonwealth of Virginia.