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Meet the President and Board

Members for 2018 – 2019

 


Officers

President – Marc Veasey
Congressman Marc Veasey is the United States Representative for the 33rd Congressional District of Texas. Elected in 2012, Rep. Veasey serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, where he serves as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Energy. Before serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Veasey was elected to the Texas State House in 2004, representing District 95 – an area now part of the 33rd Congressional District – for four consecutive terms. Before serving in the Texas State House, Congressman Veasey worked as a congressional staffer in North Texas.  Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, he and his wife Tonya live in East Fort Worth and have an eleven-year-old son, Adam.  Veasey earned a BS from Texas Wesleyan University, where he majored in Mass Communication.
1st Vice President – Gene Irisari
Gene Irisari is Director of Government Relations for Texas Instruments. He came to Texas Instruments in 2010 after serving as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Michael McCaul, including as the Congressman’s lead staffer for the Congressional High Technology Caucus. Before that, Gene served as Legislative Counsel for Congressman Kevin Brady for more than five years. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and European History, and a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law. Gene and his wife, Catherine, live in Vienna, VA with their three children
2nd Vice President –Jodey Arrington
Secretary – Nicole Lansford
Nicole, an eighth-generation Texan, was born and raised in Richmond, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Government. While at UT she worked for the Texas Senate Sergeant at Arms Office. At the start of Nicole’s senior year of college she moved to Washington, D.C. as a Bill Archer Fellow and interned for Congressman Roger Williams. She continued to work for Congressman Williams to serve as Staff Assistant, Legislative Correspondent and then Legislative Assistant. In 2017, Nicole left the Hill and now works for the University of Texas System.

Treasurer – Jack Peterson
Since January 1995, Jack has served as Federal Liaison for Harris County, Texas. Born in Beaumont, Jack grew up in Houston, moved to Austin in 1970 and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.  He worked in a variety of capacities in and around the Texas Capitol Building from 1973 until 1989, when he moved to Arlington, Virginia.  Jack is the proud father of Michael N. and Charles K. Peterson.  Michael is in the Honors College at George Mason University.  Charles graduated with a BS in Communications from Longwood University in Farmville, VA in May, 2016 and resides in Richmond, VA.
Historian– Taylor Hittle
Taylor Hittle, seventh-generation Texan, is the Legislative Director for Congressman Markwayne Mullin. She began her career as a volunteer for Governor Rick Perry’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010. Ready to branch out of Texas, Taylor decided to move to Washington D.C. with hopes of working for Congress. Shortly after arriving in Washington, she was hired as Staff Assistant for Congressman Michael Burgess in 2011. She was later brought into Judge John Carter’s office in summer 2012 and worked as Deputy Press Secretary and Legislative Assistant until February 2015. Taylor was born and raised in Houston, and she is a proud Longhorn from the Class of 2009.
Communications– Hanna Allred

Hanna Allred, a first-generation Texan from Houston and a proud Red Raider, discovered her enthusiasm for Congress while interning for her hometown representative, Congressman Michael McCaul, during the summer of 2014. Upon returning to Texas Tech University for her final year, Hanna interned in the Office of Senator John Cornyn in Lubbock. Immediately following graduation in 2015, she moved up to Washington and served for two years as Congressman Roger Williams’ scheduler. She later switched over to press and now serves as his communications director.


 

Directors- Term Expiring in 2018

Past President Director – Rep. Roger Williams

Since January 2013, Roger Williams has represented the 25th District of Texas in the United States Congress. Congressman Williams was raised near Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University. After graduating from college, Congressman Williams was drafted by the Atlanta Braves and briefly played in their farm system before he began working in the family car business. In the House of Representatives, Williams has been the voice of business owners across America. Williams previously held fundraising roles for George Bush and John Cornyn and served as Chairman of the Republican National Finance Committee’s Eagles Program. In 2005, Governor Rick Perry appointed Williams to serve as Texas Secretary of State. In the 114th Congress, Williams will serve on the House Financial Services Committee.

Director – LaKeitha Anderson

LaKeitha Anderson, a native Texan from the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, began her public service as a legislative assistant for Texas State Representative Helen Giddings. Shortly after leaving public service, LaKeitha worked for Crowell & Moring in Washington, D.C. after relocating here in 2000. Most recently, LaKeitha worked as the Federal Government Relations Coordinator for the City of Dallas. LaKeitha currently is a Senior Manager of Federal Government Relations for Reynolds American Inc. LaKeitha is a graduate of the University of North Texas and recently earned her Executive MBA from Georgetown University.

Director – Barry Brown

Barry is a fifth-generation Texan from Greenville, Texas. After graduating from Greenville High School, Barry completed his studies at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and then moved to Washington to pursue a job on Capitol Hill.  Over the next 20 years he served as a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Larry Combest (R-Lubbock), Legislative Director to Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands), Chief of Staff to Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) and Chief of Staff to Rep. Michael C. Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville).  He is currently a Vice President at the lobby firm the Alpine Group in Washington, DC. Barry is married to Jennifer Brown and they have two children where they reside on Capitol Hill.

Director – Kyle Oliver

Kyle is a principal with BlueWater Strategies, an energy, environment, and natural resources focused firm. He spent ten years on Capitol Hill serving as Legislative Director and Chief Policy Advisor to Congressman Ralph Hall from Rockwall, where his mother grew up. Kyle is a 6th generation Texan, and the ox bow that pulled his ancestors to Texas from California in 1876 proudly hangs above the fireplace in his parent’s Austin home. Born and raised in Austin, Kyle graduated from the University of Texas, where he was a Silver Spur. Kyle’s wife Aaricka (an Aggie – yikes!) is from Denison, TX, and they have a little girl, Chancellor, who is learning the ways of what it means to be a Texan in D.C..

Director – Austin Smithson

Austin Smithson was born and raised in Tyler. He attended The University of Texas where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-Television-Film. He received his Juris Doctor degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. After practicing law in San Antonio, Austin moved to Washington, D.C. in 2010. He currently serves as Legislative Counsel for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and previously served as Legislative Director for Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01). Austin and his wife live on Capitol Hill and have two boys: Will and Sam.

Director – Michael Yancey

Michael grew up in a military family and did not arrive in Texas until high school, where he attended Thomas C. Clark High School in San Antonio. He later attended Texas A&M University, where he studied History and was heavily active member of the Corps of Cadets. After graduation in 2011, Michael spent some time abroad working in sales in the maritime industry, but decided to move to Washington in 2013 to pursue a career in policy. Michael currently works for Congressman Michael Burgess (TX-26) as a Legislative Aide and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies at the Naval War College.


Directors with Two-Year Terms (Expiring April 2019)

Immediate Past President – Ryan Thompson

A proud graduate of Texas A&M University, Ryan Thompson has served as a professional staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives for thirteen years. He currently serves as Chief of Staff to Representative Joe Barton (R-TX). Ryan’s position as President of the Congressional Sports Foundation has allowed him to become heavily involved with DC local nonprofits that focus on literacy and creating opportunities. In 2013, Ryan was presented the Champion for Literacy Award for his work on behalf of The Literacy Council. From June 1993 to June 1997, Ryan served our country as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps and was promoted to Non-Commissioned Officer, performing the duties of an acting Platoon Sergeant. While at Texas A&M, Ryan spent his free time working on Aggie Bonfire, an Aggie tradition.

Director – Elizabeth Boylan
Director – Chelsea Brown
Director –Alisa Maso

Alisa J. Maso moved to Washington, DC from the booming city of Frisco Texas, where she was born and raised with traditional Texas values. In Frisco, she attended Centennial High School and was involved in many community organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Kansas State University, and is currently pursuing a Certificate in Intelligence at the Institute of World Politics in Washington DC. She currently serves as the Chief of Staff at the Alpine Group, Government Relations Consulting Firm. An avid community service volunteer, she is always looking for new ways to give back to those around her, such as being a member of the Certified Emergency Response Team, run by FEMA. Endless learning is a passion of hers, thus she enjoys reading, and continuing her practice of foreign languages, including Arabic and French.                                                                                                   

Director – Marcie McSwane

Marcie McSwane is the senior vice president of The McGrath Group, a government relations firm she helped establish in January 2016 along with former New York Congressman Ray McGrath (even New Yorkers need a little Texas in their life!). An active member of the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill (Capitol Hill Club), Marcie co-chairs an annual “Texas Night” event honoring the ‘great state’ as well as a successful quarterly networking event. Prior to The McGrath Group, Marcie worked at a bi-partisan firm, Downey McGrath Group from 2009 to 2015. Born and raised in Tyler and a graduate of Texas A&M, Marcie moved to DC in 2007 where she began her career with her hometown Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01) and then worked for Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-03). In her free time, Marcie is an avid traveler and concert-goer.                                                                                                                             

Director – Jeff Morehouse

After 14 years on Capitol Hill, Jeff joined ClearPath as Government Affairs Director in January 2017. He served as Chief of Staff for Rep. Bill Flores for six years, acting as a primary liaison for the Texas Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee and helping manage his term as chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. During his tenure with Flores, Jeff was also Executive Director of the House Conservatives Fund for the 2014 election cycle. Jeff was previously Legislative Director and appropriations associate for Rep. John Culberson and served other roles for the Texas Republican beginning in 2003. Jeff has a B.A. in Political Science and History from Southern Methodist University and a M.A. in National Security Policy Studies from Naval War College.

 


More information

 

Standing Committee Chairs
Entertainment Committee – Todd Dupler

  • Todd Dupler is the Senior Director, Advocacy & Public Policy for The Recording Academy, the organization internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards. In this role, Dupler works with Academy leadership to develop policy positions on issues affecting the music community, and represents the interests of the Academy’s 24,000 members before Congress and federal agencies. He previously served as legislative director for Rep. Lamar Smith during Smith’s tenure as chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property. Dupler also served on the legislative staff for Rep. Kevin Brady and Sen. Phil Gramm and was a Presidential appointee at the U.S. Department of Labor. Dupler received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Baylor University. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

 

Membership Committee – Robert Peters

  • Robert, a proud fifth-generation Texan, was born in Dallas but raised in Paris, TX. Upon graduating from North Lamar High School, Robert went on to attend The University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Government and a minor in Business. Upon graduation, Robert moved to Washington, D.C. where he is currently a legislative staffer for Congressman John Ratcliffe. When not working, Robert enjoys attending sporting events, going to concerts, and spending time outdoors.

 

Sponsorship Committee – Adrienne Gamez

  • Adrienne is a native of Fort Worth, TX and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She worked as a Legislative Aide in the Texas Capitol for two sessions and a political fundraiser at the state and national levels prior to moving to Washington, DC. She currently serves as the South Regional Deputy Finance Director for the Republican National Committee. Adrienne enjoys traveling, cooking, Longhorn football, and FaceTiming with her family’s chocolate lab, Bentley, in her spare time.
Event Chairs and Other Committee Chairs
Assistant Treasurer-Alisa Maso

  • Alisa J. Maso moved to Washington, DC from the booming city of Frisco Texas, where she was born and raised with traditional Texas values. In Frisco, she attended Centennial High School and was involved in many community organizations. She holds a Political Science degree from Kansas State University which is in Manhattan, Kansas a.k.a. the “Little Apple.” Post-graduation, she proceeded to work at the Alpine Group a Government Relations Consulting Firm where she is currently a Policy Assistant. An avid community service volunteer, she is always looking for new ways to give back to those around her, such as recently becoming a member of the Certified Emergency Response Team, run by FEMA. Endless learning is a passion of hers, thus she enjoys reading, and continuing her practice of foreign languages, including Arabic and French.

Texas Breakfast Club Chair – Barry Brown

  • Barry is a fifth-generation Texan from Greenville, Texas. After graduating from Greenville High School, Barry completed his studies at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and then moved to Washington to pursue a job on Capitol Hill.  Over the next 20 years he served as a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Larry Combest (R-Lubbock), Legislative Director to Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands), Chief of Staff to Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) and Chief of Staff to Rep. Michael C. Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville).  He is currently a Vice President at the lobby firm the Alpine Group in Washington, DC.  Barry is married to Jennifer Brown and they have two children where they reside on Capitol Hill.

 

Annual Picnic Chair – Rosemary Garza

  • Rosemary Garza serves as Associate Director of Global Government Affairs for Medtronic.  In this capacity, Ms. Garza works with Members of Congress and U.S. federal agencies to advance healthcare policies that promote therapy innovation, globalization and economic value.  Ms. Garza strives to distinguish Medtronic as an industry leader in medical technologies and hospital solutions that not only improve healthcare for patients around the world but, provide cost-effective innovations for hospitals, health systems, and medical providers. Ms. Garza comes to her role at Medtronic after serving 7.5 years with the U.S. House of Representatives where she worked for U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee Representatives Gene Green (TX-29) and Charlie Gonzalez (TX-20). Ms. Garza was born in Brownsville and raised in Houston, Texas.  Ms. Garza is a graduate from the University of Houston with a B.A. in Political Science and a Minor in Spanish. Ms. Garza also has a Master in Public Health (MPH) from George Washington University. Ms. Garza is a member of Women in Government Relations and Hispanic Lobbyist Association. She is also an avid tennis player and longtime member of the Capitol Hill Tennis Club.

 

LBJ Celebration Chair – Chris Bjornson

  • Chris serves as chair of the Society’s annual tribute to President Lyndon Johnson. An avid student of presidential history, Chris has more than 125 books on the Johnson. He is Of Counsel with Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where he specializes in telecommunications, Internet and media law. Chris graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School. He earned his law degree from Catholic University.

 

2021 Black Tie and Boots Committee Chair – Chelsea Brown

 

Cherry Blossom Program Chair – Loretta Solon Greene

  • Loretta Solon Greene is founder of the Washington, D.C.-based global consulting company Greene Strategy. She is also proud to serve as a Georgetown University Adjunct Professor, Internship Advisor for their Semester in Washington Program. She recently served as the 2014 NCSS Cherry Blossom Grand Ball and U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen Coronation Chair. Greene is a native of Dallas, Texas, where she attended Ursuline Academy. She holds a BA in Political Science from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Her husband, Bill Greene, works on Capitol Hill. They have three children, Julia, Tommy, and Isabella.

 

Salute to Congress Chair – Kelsey Crow

  • Kelsey Crow grew up in Cypress, attended Cy-Fair High School, and received degrees in Spanish and Political Communication from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon moving to Washington, Kelsey worked for Congressman Lloyd Doggett, serving as Press Secretary. She currently works at the VENG Group, where she focuses on day-to-day and crisis communication operations, strategic communications, and social media consulting for non-profits and civil rights groups. The daughter of a Texas history teacher, Kelsey is excited to serve on the Texas State Society board and bring a little bit of home to the Capital.

 

Congressional Liaison: Democrats – Mickeala Carter

  • Mickeala Carter was born in Dallas and raised in Desoto, TX. Upon graduating from DeSoto High School, she attended Texas A&M University where she received her Bachelor of Science in agricultural leadership and development. Mickeala moved to Washington, DC in 2013, where she began as an Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy intern in the office of Congressman Filemon Vela (TX-34). Currently, she serves as Communications Director and Legislative Assistant for Rep. Vela. When she isn’t working, Mickeala spends her time volunteering for Everybody Wins! DC, an organization dedicated to promoting children’s literacy, and serving at Citizens Heights Church, where she is a College Ministry and City Group leader, and a member of the Worship team.

 

Congressional Liaison: Republicans – Eric Gustafson

  • Eric Gustafson serves as Legislative Director for Representative Bill Flores (TX-17). Prior to joining Representative Flores’ staff in 2011, he spent four years working for Representative Roy Blunt (MO-07) and just over a year for Representative Tom DeLay (TX-22). Born in Houston and raised in Brownwood, Eric has called Pearland home since 2001 and is a 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in economics. He has lived in Washington, DC since 2006.

 

Collegiate Liaison/Volunteer Coordinator – Jordan Ballard

  • Born and raised in East Texas, Jordan is a fifth generation Texan from Texarkana, Texas. Following his graduation from Pleasant Grove High School, Jordan received his bachelor of arts from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 and interned at the Texas Capitol for State Representative Rick Hardcastle. Jordan spent much of his time serving the Longhorn baseball team, the university, and the city of Austin with his fraternity the Texas Iron Spikes. Upon graduation from UT, Jordan began working as a staffer for the Bill Flores for Congress Campaign in 2010. Following Bill Flores’ successful campaign, he moved to Washington, D.C. to be a part of the Congressman-elect’s (TX-17) policy team. Since 2011, Jordan has been a Legislative Assistant handling many public policy issues. In 2014, Jordan graduated from Texas A&M-Texarkana with a master in business administration. In his free time, Jordan loves to exercise, cook, golf, play tennis, and cheer on the Longhorns, Cowboys, and Nationals. As of 2015, he has become an active runner and participates in a number of races and looks forward to running a marathon.

 

National Conference of State Societies  Liaison – Allison Roberts

  • Allison was born and raised into Odessa, and attended Permian High School, home of the famous “Friday Night Lights.” She is a 2009 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s degree in Government and a minor in Business. During her collegiate years, Allison worked with the Texas Senate Sergeant at Arms Office during the 81st Texas Legislative Session. Upon graduation, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the University of Texas System, Office of Federal Relations. Allison was also selected as the 2011 Texas Cherry Blossom Princess for The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.

 

Legal Advisor – David Pore

  • David Pore is a fifth-generation Texan and a partner in the DC office of the Austin-based law firm Hance Scarborough LLP. He represents clients in federal legislative and regulatory matters. Prior to re-joining Hance Scarborough, David was a Counsel at the DC office of Arnold & Porter from 2009-2017. Before that he was an Associate at the Hance Scarborough Austin office (2005-09) and a lobbyist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators (2002-04). David served as Legislative Director for a US Congressman from Texas (1999-2002) and as a Legislative Aide to a member of the Texas House (1998-99). He is a 1998 graduate of the Texas Tech University School of Law.

 

Photographer – Marco Santiago

Past Board of Directors
Texas State Society Board 2017 – 2018

  • President – Ryan Thompson
  • 1st Vice President – Marc Veasey
  • 2nd Vice President- Gene Irisari
  • Secretary – Nicole Lansford
  • Treasurer – Jack Peterson
  • Historian – Taylor Hittle

 Directors with Terms Expiring April 2018

  • LaKeitha Anderson
  • Barry Brown
  • Kyle Oliver
  • Austin Smithson
  • Michael Yancy

Board Positions

  • Entertainment Chair – Todd Dupler
  • Membership Chair – LaKeitha Anderson
  • Sponsorship Chair – Amy Hawkins
  • Director of Communications – Kelsey Crow
  • Volunteer Coordinator – Robert Peters & Michael Yancey
  • Photographer – Marco Santiago
  • NCSS Liaison – Allison Roberts
  • Annual Picnic Chair – Taylor Gilliamm
  • LBJ Celebration – Chris Bjornson
  • Cherry Blossom – Loretta Solon Greene
  • Salute to Congress Co-chair – Christa Danford
  • Salute to Congress Co-Chair – Brystol English
  • Black Tie & Boots Committee Chair – Colby Hale
  • Legal Advisor – David Pore
  • Senior Congressional Liaison – Austin Smithson
  • Congressional Liaison (House Democrats) – Mickaela Carter
  • Congressional Liaison (House Republicans) – Eric Gustafson
  • Collegiate Alumni Liaison – Jordan Ballard
  • Webmaster – Shana Teehan