Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday announced the lineup for his communications staff when he takes over the Speaker’s gavel in January. The list includes many familiar names and faces, with a few new additions.
The press operation will be headed by Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Operations Dave Schnittger and Communications Director Kevin Smith, two veterans of Boehner’s team whose positions had already been announced.
Michael Steel, who joined Boehner’s office in January 2008, will continue to serve as press secretary for Boehner in the Speaker’s office, where he will focus on the Capitol Hill press corps and national media. He will be joined by Brendan Buck, who will serve as press secretary focusing on the White House press corps. Buck has been the spokesman for the GOP majority transition team and before that was the press point person for House Republicans’ America Speaking Out and “Pledge to America” initiative. The Georgia native previously was spokesman for the Republican Study Committee under Rep. Tom Price (Ga.).
Don Seymour, who has been a longtime Boehner aide, is moving to the Speaker’s office in the role of deputy communications director. Seymour has worked as the spokesman for Boehner’s political operation since 2007, primarily through roles at Boehner’s leadership political action committee, the Freedom Project, and his campaign committee, Friends of John Boehner. In the 2010 cycle, Seymour was based at the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Boehner has tapped Michael Ricci to be director of speechwriting. Ricci has worked for Boehner since 2009, and his previous experience includes a stint as deputy communications director for the House GOP Conference under then-Chairman Adam Putnam (R-Fla.). Bill Greene will continue to serve as director of outreach, focusing on outside groups and grass roots. Greene rejoined the Boehner fold in 2007, after working in the administration of President George W. Bush. He previously worked for Boehner in the 1990s when he served as GOP Conference chairman. His past experience also includes a stint as communications director for the House Budget Committee and a job in the public relations department at NASCAR.
Filling out the press operation are Director of Digital Media Nick Schaper, Assistant Communications Director Katie Boyd, Director of Advance Betsy Andres, Deputy Press Secretary Courtney Kolb and Advance & Digital Production Manager Bryant Avondoglio.
Schaper has been new media director in Boehner’s leadership office since 2008 while Boyd joined the Minority Leader’s staff earlier this year and Andres came in 2009. Kolb is new to the Boehner fold but not to GOP leadership. She has worked for the past several years for the House Republican Conference, under both Putnam and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.). Avondoglio is also new to the office, coming from NJI Media.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.