GOPAC’s 2017 Class of Emerging Leaders is a list of promising legislators selected for their potential and ability to impact their state and the Republican Party.
“As we grow the roster of Republicans who are ready to lead in their state legislatures and run for higher office, our 2017 Class of Emerging Leaders exemplifies men and women focused on boosting their state’s efforts to create jobs and protect their communities. This year’s honorees join the members of Congress, statewide elected officials and state legislative leaders who have benefitted from our mission and programs. We welcome their involvement and are excited to help foster their success,” said GOPAC Chairman David Avella.
The Emerging Leaders program is a yearlong initiative to coach and develop state legislators from across the country on how to be effective legislative leaders. This year’s class will begin their involvement at the 7th Annual Emerging Leaders Summit, which takes place from June 12th to 15th. The Summit gives participants the opportunity to learn from policy experts, veteran lawmakers, communications professionals and seasoned political strategists as well as each other. These leaders return to their states better equipped to advance the ideas they are championing and prepare for the rigors of campaigning for higher office. To be selected, an Emerging Leader must be nominated by a member of the organization’s Legislative Leaders Advisory Board or the legislative leader in their state.
Here is the Class of 2017:
Arkansas SenatorBart is married to Ashley, his wife of 15 years, and has four children; Brooklyn, Addey Jo, Nik, and Madden Hester.
He is a 2001 graduate of the Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. While at the University, he lettered 3 years for the Razorback Baseball Team.
Bart spent the first 10 years of his professional career in redi-mix concrete and aggregate businesses. When Hester decided to make public service a priority, he went to work on his own. Bart now works in Real Estate through development, construction, and property management.
Bart is currently in his 2nd session as an Arkansas State Senator where he is known for building strong relationships across party lines, while fiercely fighting for economic freedoms and government accountability.
Arizona SenatorSenator Steve Smith currently serves as the Chairman of the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee and has been elected to 4 terms to the Senate and House of Representatives in Arizona.
Steve was first elected in 2010 after defeating a Democrat political dynasty whose family had held the Senate seat for nearly 30 years. Subsequently, Steve became the first Republican elected in his district in nearly 100 years and was one of the youngest Senators ever elected in Arizona history.
Named 'Legislator of the Year' for his work for law enforcement, the military, the disabled community, and more, Steve has quickly become a leading figure in Arizona politics.
Additionally, Steve is recognized as the top conservative legislator in Arizona from his #1 ranking by The American Conservative Union, #1 ranking by the Goldwater Institute, #1 ranking from Americans For Prosperity, #1 ranking from the Arizona Conservative Coalition, and many more.
Defending the principles of ‘God, Family, and Country’, Steve has a 100% voting record in defending the unborn and religious freedoms, is A+ rated by the NRA, and has never voted to raise taxes.
Steve and his beautiful wife and their 5 children live in the city of Maricopa where they are actively involved in their community.
Indiana SenatorAaron Freeman is an attorney and owns his own law firm, The Freeman Law Office, LLC, located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Opened in 2010, Aaron provides legal representation to a wide range of clients all over the State of Indiana.
Aaron worked as a Marion County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for nearly five years. Aaron prosecuted all level of crimes, from misdemeanors to murder. Serving in the Grand Jury Division, Prosecuting white collar crimes and complex investigations. Aaron also served in the Homicide Unit, prosecuting murder and attempt murder cases.
While in law school, Aaron clerked for Federal District Court Judge Joe Billy McDade, in the Central District of Illinois. Aaron also clerked for the United States Attorney's Office in the Central District of Illinois.
Aaron is a member of the Indiana Bar Association, and the Indianapolis Bar Association. Aaron is active with the Marion County Teen Court Program.
Prior to his legal career, Aaron was an Emergency 911 Dispatcher in Franklin County, Indiana and an Emergency Medical Technician.
Aaron served on the Indianapolis Marion County City County Council representing district 25 from March of 2010 until November of 2016. Aaron served on the Public Safety Committee and the Municipal Corporations Committees. In November of 2016, Aaron was elected to the Indiana State Senate to serve the citizens of District 32. Currently, Aaron serves on the Civil Law, Corrections and Criminal Law, Judiciary, and the Education Committees of the Senate.
Aaron is married to his wife Heather, and they have two children, Jack who is six and Cooper, who is four.
Kentucky SenatorSenator Julie Raque Adams has served in the Kentucky General Assembly since 2011. She represents the 36th Senatorial District, which encompasses a portion of Jefferson County.
After serving four years in the Kentucky House of Representatives, Adams was elected to the Senate in 2014, and began her term in 2015.
She is the Chair of the Health and Welfare Committee, and member of Education, Banking and Insurance, and the State and Local Government Committees.
Sen. Adams is a small business owner and founder of the boutique public affairs firm, Adams & Call, Inc. Established in 2006, Adams & Call provides clients an extensive list of services that include public relations, communications and community outreach.
Adams also was elected to serve on the first Louisville Metro Council in November 2002, and won re-election in 2004 by capturing 83% of the vote.
While on the Council, Adams served on the Appropriations and Finance Committee, Budget Committee, Planning and Zoning Committee and was Chairman of the Contracts Committee. During her 2-terms, Adams was involved in many business, tax, and economic development issues.
Adams brought a tremendous amount of governmental experience to City Hall and Frankfort, having previously served as a staff member for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in Washington, D.C. Adams continued her efforts in the legislative process and worked as a federal lobbyist for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in its Washington, D.C. office focusing on issues such as higher education, health, environment, and science and technology.
Adams then returned to her hometown of Louisville and began employment with Congresswoman Anne Northup (R-KY). Adams first served Northup in her district office, then moved over to Northup for Congress to serve as campaign manager in her first bid for re-election, and finished her tenure as press secretary in Northup's Capitol Hill office.
Senator Adams was born and raised in Louisville. She graduated from St. Margaret Mary Catholic School, Sacred Heart Academy and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN, and a Master of Arts degree from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Active in the community, Sen. Adams attends St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church and is a board member for Family Scholar House and the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center. She is also a former board member of the University of Louisville's Early Learning Campus and the Salvation Army of Louisville.
Julie is married to Jim Adams and is the mother of two sons, James and Joseph.
Minnesota SenatorPaul Anderson is a first-term member of the Minnesota State Senate, representing Senate District 44 which includes the communities of Plymouth, Minnetonka, and Woodland.
Anderson is the Vice-Chairman of the Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee, and serves on the E12 Finance, E12 Policy, Higher Education Finance and Policy, and Taxes Committees. His priorities include economic and workforce development, innovation, taxes, and education.
Anderson is currently the founder and owner of The Anderson Group. He has served as the Director of Business Development for Silicon Valley startup, Touchpoint.io; President and CEO for a national Veterans charity, Tee it up for the Troops; Senior Advisor and Director of National Operations for Tim Pawlenty for President; Deputy Chief of Staff for Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty; State Director for U.S. Congressman Jim Ramstad; and Vice President and co-owner of O.L.A. Enterprises.
Anderson graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and was a policy fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.
Anderson and his family enjoy spending time volunteering with many non-profits in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area and are active members at Plymouth Covenant Church.
Anderson resides in Plymouth, Minnesota, with his wife, Jamie, and two daughters, Lacey and Maggie.
Nebraska SenatorBrett Lindstrom represents the 18th District in Northwestern Omaha. Brett was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and raised in Omaha where he graduated from Millard West High School. He attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, graduating in 2004 with a B.S. in history. At the University, he joined the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team as a walk-on, playing in five games as a backup quarterback. After college, Lindstrom returned to Omaha, where he works as a financial advisor. In 2007, he married Leigh Ancona; the couple has three children.
As a Senator, Lindstrom has served as Chair of the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee, Chair and Vice Chair of the State-Tribal Relations Committee, Vice Chair of the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee and as a member of the Revenue and Natural Resources Committees.
Senator Lindstrom was recently named the Nebraska Nurses Association Senator of the Year for his work to protect nurses and other health professionals from retaliation for reporting unethical behavior and issues of patient health and safety.
Ohio SenatorSenator Frank LaRose represents the people of Summit, Stark and Wayne Counties with a passion and drive for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the government that serves them.
Throughout his time in public service, LaRose has spearheaded substantial efforts to increase government transparency and productivity, particularly in the areas of elections administration and regulatory reform. LaRose was named Legislator of the Year by the Ohio Association of Election Officials in recognition of his exceptional commitment to improving Ohio's election process, particularly the legislation he sponsored to establish an online voter registration system in Ohio and his work to include funding for electronic poll books in the state budget.
In 2014, Governing magazine recognized LaRose as one of "12 State Legislators to Watch." The magazine, whose annual list highlights six Democrats and six Republicans from statehouses across the nation, praised LaRose's efforts to improve political civility in Columbus. LaRose was recognized for his dynamic leadership and community service being named to the Greater Akron Chamber's "30 for the Future." He also completed the prestigious Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development program hosted by the Council of State Governments. Other honors include the History Leadership Award, the Small Business Advocate Award, AMVETS Legislator of Year, the Award for Legislative Excellence from the Ohio National Guard Association, and the Leadership Award from the Israeli Leadership Institute.
LaRose currently chairs the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Labor Committee, which is responsible for crafting the state's biannual transportation budget, improving Ohio's roads and highways and addressing important public safety issues. He previously served as Chair of the State and Local Government Committee as well as the Public Safety, Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee. In addition to serving on a number of other Senate committees, LaRose is a member and past chair of the legislative Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, which reviews administrative rules proposed by state agencies, departments, boards and commissions in an effort to minimize the burden on job creators.
Senator LaRose developed his strong work ethic and sense of responsibility at a young age while working on a small family-owned farm in northeastern Ohio. Following his graduation from Copley High School, he fulfilled a lifelong dream by enlisting in the United States Army with the 101st Airborne and eventually served in the U.S. Special Forces as a Green Beret. During his decade in uniform around the globe, Senator LaRose achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class and received numerous commendations and honors, including the Bronze Star. LaRose volunteered for multiple deployments including overseas combat service. He served in Iraq, Kosovo and other locations and with a counter-narcotics task force on the U.S.-Mexican border.
LaRose continues to give back to his community since leaving the Army and entering public office. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Ohio History Connection, formerly known as the Ohio Historical Society, and is the Jr. Vice Commander of the Fairlawn VFW. A former Eagle Scout, he serves on the executive board for the Great Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Senator LaRose graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in consumer affairs and business. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Hudson with their three daughters.
South Carolina SenatorScott Talley is a conservative Republican Senator representing South Carolina’s 12th District. An Upstate South Carolina native, Scott served in the House of Representatives from 2000-2008. He was elected to the State Senate in 2016.
Talley earned a reputation for pushing economic development legislation and accomplishing reform in the State House. He was named “taxpayer hero” by then-Governor Mark Sanford for his opposition to tax increases and his dedication to cutting waste and saving taxpayer dollars.
In his first legislative session in the Senate, Scott has pushed for new ethics reform and road funding with DOT reform. In the House, Scott authored the Textile Mill Revitalization Act, aimed at taking dilapidated mills and turning them into housing and retail space. The project has been an economic starter and very successful in the Upstate region. Scott also supported legislation to shorten session and move to a two year budget, to streamline government and save taxpayer dollars.
Scott graduated from Wofford College, where he played basketball. He later graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law and has been in private practice in Spartanburg since 2002. Talley is an attorney in Spartanburg, SC. Scott and his wife Kelly have three sons.
Texas SenatorDawn Buckingham is a conservative small business owner who believes the best approach to government is “less is more.” As a doctor, she has witnessed firsthand how government often interferes, rather than enhances, an individual’s or a business’ success.
Dawn Buckingham’s forefathers were among the first settlers to Texas seven generations ago, and that tough, independent, pioneer spirit is deeply rooted in her personality. Dawn spent her early years growing up on Fox Run Farm until the family moved to Austin. While she graduated from Westlake High School, Dawn remains a country girl at heart as an avid hunter and outdoorswoman. Her commitment to service began early, serving as a volunteer fire fighter, and she is a graduate of the A&M Fire School.
Dawn lived at home and worked two jobs to pay for college at UT-Austin, graduating Magna Cum Laude and debt-free. It was during college that Dawn met the love of her life and husband of 25 years, Ed Buckingham. Dawn and Ed both received their medical degrees from the Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Dawn’s commitment to service and recognition for her work has allowed her to hold leadership positions in local, state, and national medical organizations.
Virginia SenatorSenator Glen Sturtevant grew up in in the Fredericksburg area and graduated from Massaponax High School. As a young man, Glen was very involved in Scouting and after demonstrating his commitment to community service and servant leadership, he was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.
After graduating high school, Glen attended Catholic University and went on to get his law degree from George Mason University's School of Law. After passing the Virginia state bar, Glen and Lori moved to Richmond and started their family.
The adoption of their children motivated Glen to get involved improving Richmond Public Schools. As a concerned parent, he helped lead the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, a non-profit focused on working with the private sector to support educational excellence in the school system.
Glen began to see first-hand the challenges families face in Richmond schools, and was elected to the School Board, where he focused on common sense education reforms, increased accountability and fiscal responsibility.
In November 2015, Glen was elected to the Virginia Senate. Glen's focus in the Senate is on important government reforms like improving our schools, keeping taxes low to grow our economy, and increasing transparency and accountability in state government.
As a practicing attorney, Glen has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by his peers and was honored with the Virginia State Bar Service Award. Glen has undertaken efforts to provide pro bono legal services to survivors of natural disasters and mass emergencies across the Commonwealth.
Throughout his life, Glen has proven to be a hard worker who is committed to public service and improving our communities and schools. Even so, his biggest priority is being a husband and father. Glen and Lori have been married for more than a decade and the most fulfilling part of their life is raising their three beautiful children: Ethan (7), Reed (4), and Emily (3).
West Virginia SenatorA prosecuting attorney and Air Force Intelligence Officer, Ryan Weld brings a unique perspective to his role as a West Virginia State Senator.
Ryan represents more than 100,000 residents of the Northern Panhandle, including the counties of Hancock, Brooke and Ohio, as well as a portion of Marshall County. He was elected to represent the First Senatorial District in 2016 after serving one term in the West Virginia House of Delegates. As a prosecuting attorney in Brooke County, Ryan has witnessed firsthand the struggle with substance abuse stemming from heroin and opioid painkillers in his community. As a result, Ryan has taken the lead in the Senate on its efforts to create and expand opportunities for substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation, as well as working with law enforcement and prosecutors to give them the ability to target those who traffic controlled substances across state lines and sell them in West Virginia.
Prior to moving back to West Virginia, Ryan spent several years on active duty as a member of the Air Force Reserve. In 2010 and 2011 he served as the Staff Intelligence Officer to the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Zabul, Afghanistan. Prior to that he served as the Executive Officer to the Director of Congressional Affairs of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
These experiences outside of the legislature have helped him tremendously in his duties as the Chairman of the Senate Military Committee and as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ryan is also the Vice Chairman of the Senate Workforce Committee, and serves on the committees on Health and Human Resources, Pensions, and Government Organization.
Ryan received his bachelor’s degree from Fairmont Statute University and his law degree from Duquesne University. He and his wife Alex live in their hometown of Wellsburg.
Wisconsin SenatorSenator Patrick Testin grew up in the small Wisconsin town of Marinette, where he learned the value of hard work at a young age. During high school and college, he worked a number of jobs to fund his education at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, where he was an active member of the College Republicans, a leader in student government, and an intern on Congressman Sean Duffy’s first congressional race.
After graduating in 2011 with a degree in political science, he continued to work on political campaigns, and was elected to serve as Chairman of the Portage County Republican Party. Testin then transitioned into a career in sales, and expanded his community involvement by joining the Elks Club and Ignite Leadership of Portage County, a group that prepares emerging leaders to make a positive difference in their community.
Senator Testin won election to the State Senate this past fall by defeating an 18 year incumbent in a seat that hadn't elected a republican since 1968. At 28 years old, Senator Testin is the youngest member of the state senate, where he is focused on workforce development, rural health care, and agricultural issues.
Florida RepresentativePaul Renner is a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing District 24, which includes all of Flagler, and part of Volusia and St. Johns Counties. Paul is a military veteran, former prosecutor and local business attorney.
Paul was raised in Northeast Florida and is an AV-rated attorney and partner at Milam Howard, representing a number of Northeast Florida businesses. He began his legal career as an Assistant State Attorney, during which he prosecuted serious felony offenses.
In addition to his legal practice, Paul has served as a naval officer, both on active duty and in the reserves. He was recently mobilized to Afghanistan where he served with a Joint Task Force. Among his military awards, he received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for service in Afghanistan, based, in part, on his “direct and significant contribution to the disruption of foreign facilitation networks [that] led to the capture or arrest of numerous key network leaders, delivering a considerable blow against the enemies of our Nation.”
Earlier in his career, Paul also served in Operation Desert Storm during combat operations onboard the USS McInerney (FFG-8).
Locally, Paul served on the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 4th Judicial Circuit and is the immediatePast-PresidentoftheJacksonvilleLawyers’ChapteroftheFederalistSociety. Healso serves in a number of other civic and community organizations, such as Rotary, the VFW and the Navy League.
Paul earned his Juris Doctorate at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law and his Bachelor of Arts in history at Davidson College in North Carolina. He and his wife live in Palm Coast.
Georgia RepresentativeElected in November 2016, Meagan Hanson serves as the State Representative for Georgia’s 80th House District, which covers parts of Brookhaven, Chamblee, and Sandy Springs. Representative Hanson serves on the Judiciary, Transportation, and Special Rules Committee, and is a gubernatorial appointment to the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Overview Committee, where she serves as the Chairwomen of the Public Safety Committee.
In addition to her public service, Representative Hanson is also an active member of the Junior League of Atlanta and volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House in Sandy Springs.
Representative Hanson is an attorney with the firm Boyd Collar Nolen and Tuggle, LLC, handling divorce and custody-related litigation cases in the Atlanta Metropolitan area. Representative Hanson regularly assists with pro-bono family law matters through her firm and the family law community.
Representative Hanson has been actively involved in the Republican Party for over 15 years. She worked on Capitol Hill for former Senator, now Attorney General Jeff Sessions of Alabama handling his military, defense, and foreign policy issues. After graduating law school at the University of Alabama, Representative Hanson ran the campaign for the Jefferson County District Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2011, she joined the board of the Georgia Young Republicans as Treasurer, and then served as Chairman from 2012 to 2015. From 2013 to 2015, Representative Hanson frequently appeared as a guest panelist on Fox 5’s The Georgia Gang discussing local, state, and national politics.
A public servant and community leader, Representative Hanson has illustrated fierce dedication to her neighbors through volunteerism, legal aid, and political activism.
Indiana RepresentativeState Representative Chris May is a small-business owner and three-term Lawrence County commissioner. A graduate of Bedford North Lawrence High School and Vincennes University, May currently works at Whitney Tool as a sales engineer, and owns and operates Hoosier Tech Properties, a small business providing residential housing.
May is deeply involved in the community and is a member of the Bedford Masonic Lodge #14, Sons of the American Legion Gillen Post #33, Springmill FOP Lodge #172 and Stone City FOP Lodge #94. He also serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence County.
He is a lifelong resident of Lawrence County. He was raised in Oolitic and currently lives in Bedford with his wife, Amanda, and their two children, Carter and Sydney.
Kansas RepresentativeErin Davis is a mom, attorney, legislator and political activist. She received her bachelor's degree in Management and Human Relations from MidAmerica Nazarene University, which is located in her hometown of Olathe, Kansas. After being a stay-at-home mom for several years, Erin returned to school, this time attending the University of Kansas School of Law. During her time at KU, Erin interned for Congressman Kevin Yoder and worked for a government relations firm in Topeka. She graduated from law school in December 2012.
In January 2014, Erin began serving in the Kansas House of Representatives, representing the 15th District, which encompasses central and northwest Olathe. In the Kansas House, Erin serves as Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, and member of the Taxation, Commerce, Rules and Legislative Budget committees. In addition to serving in the legislature, Erin is a member of the Olathe Planning Commission, a member of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Series board of governors and newly installed board member of Women In Government.
Beyond her legislative work, Erin serves as in-house general counsel and corporate manager for New Birth Company L3C, LLC, a small healthcare business located in Kansas City, Kansas. In these positions, Erin provides legal counsel as well facilitates investor relations, corporate compliance and other corporate-level leadership tasks.
Erin is a nearly lifelong Kansan, making her home in Olathe, Kansas, along with her 14-year-old boy/girl twins. In her free time, Erin enjoys running and is an avid Kansas Jayhawk fan.
Michigan RepresentativeState Representative Shane Hernandez is a conservative Republican who believes in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and individual liberties, which begin at conception with the right to life. His political background is that of an activist, helping him fully understand the frustrations of voters who work to get politicians elected only to be disappointed when they compromise their principles and give into the pressures in Lansing.
Since taking office to represent the people of Michigan’s 83rd House District in January 2017, Representative Hernandez has remained committed to working for the people of his district, and not special interests in Lansing. As Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Representative Hernandez has fought to ensure Michigan tax dollars are spent responsibly.
Rep. Hernandez grew up in Croswell, MI, and now lives in Port Huron with his wife Renee and two Children, Kelsey (5) and Kara (2). He is a lifelong resident of the 83rd District. He attended Croswell-Lexington High School and Lawrence Technological University (Southfield, MI).
The Hernandez family is an active part of Port Huron First United Methodist Church where Renee works in the nursery and serves as Secretary of the Evangelism Committee. Shane is the chair of the church's Digital Media Committee and the Vice President of the Methodist Men's Group.
Rep. Hernandez credits his family upbringing for his conservative principles. His father, Salvador Hernandez Jr., worked his way up from general laborer to boiler operator at the Croswell pickle factory. He saw, first hand, how hard work and determination can lead anyone to success. While often struggling to get by, both his father and his mother, Sara, never hesitated to take time out of their busy schedules to teach the importance of focusing on God and family.
Rep. Hernandez and his wife strictly adhere to Dave Ramsey's financial principles of fiscal and personal responsibility. The ultimate goal of the Ramsey plan, which the Hernandez family fully embraces, is to play a vital role in their community by giving to others.
Mississippi RepresentativeRepresentative White has served in the Mississippi House of Representatives since 2012 representing District 48. He is currently chairman of the Rules Committee.
Rep. White is a member of the MS BAR Association, Attala County BAR Association, West Historical & Preservation Society, Board of Directors, Attala County Forestry Association, and Attala County Farmers Co-op.
He studied at Mississippi College and Mississippi College School of Law.
Missouri RepresentativeComing from very humble means, Holly Rehder stands for the very things that has made America great: hard work, personal responsibility and a strong faith in God.
Holly and her husband Ray started their own cable telecommunications contracting company, Integrity Communications, in 2004. They have been very blessed over the years and Integrity Communications now provides contract communication services for 13 companies across seven states.
Since elected to the Missouri House of Representatives Holly has fought to update Missouri’s antiquated labor laws, reform welfare, enact a prescription drug monitoring program in the form of The Narcotics Control Act, and ensure funding for our state’s mental health needs.
Growing up on welfare, Holly believes that the current system too often hinders our ability to rise to our potential. She relishes the opportunity to speak to kids about growing up in and around drug addiction and domestic violence, becoming a mother at 16, and making the choice to raise her family different. God honors hard work, obedience and dedication and regardless of where you’ve come from, no dream is too big.
Representative Rehder has attended, and raised her family, at Life Church in Sikeston for over 26 years. Holly and Ray have three children, Raychel, Johnny and Christian, along with one grandson, Kayden. Holly is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Mass Communications, Public Relations.
Nevada AssemblymanKeith Pickard was elected in 2016 to represent Nevada Assembly District 22, replacing long-time incumbent Lynn Stewart. Keith is a practicing attorney specializing in family law. He is the founding member of Nevada Family Law Group, LLC and focuses his practice on complex divorce, custody, and child relocation cases. Before he graduated from law school (at age 49), Keith was an executive for a national home builder having spent nearly 20 years in various positions in the construction and development industry.
Keith’s political career started before his election. In 2014, in response to a Nevada Supreme Court decision regarding cases where parents move out-of-state with their children, Keith drafted and lobbied for important remedial legislation that was ultimately passed and signed into law. This gave Keith insight into important aspects of the legislative process, which he uses today. It also gave Keith experience with many of those with whom he now serves, making it easier to find common ground and create bi-partisan legislation that helps all of the citizens of Nevada.
Keith is married to the Honorable Margaret E. Pickard, Hearing Master for the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court Juvenile Division, and between them they have seven successful children.
North Carolina RepresentativeState Representative Josh Dobson represents North Carolina’s 85th House District.
He attended McDowell Tech Community College where he received his A.A.S. Additionally, he received a B.S. in Social Sciences from Gardner Webb and a Masters of Public Administration from Appalachian State University.
In 2010, he was elected County Commissioner and served for 2 years. He was appointed in January 2013 to the State House, replacing Mitch Gillespie who left to take a position in the McCrory Administration. Dobson was re-elected in for the 2015/2016 session and the 2017/2018 session in the 85th district seat where he currently serves.
During the 2015/2016 session, Dobson was appointed Chairman of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee. For the 2017/2018 Session, Rep. Dobson has been appointed to Chair of the Health House Standing Committee, in addition to Chairman of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee.
In 2016, he was also appointed Chairman of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services and Chairman of the Health and Human Services LOC, Subcommittee on Statewide Early Education and Family Support Services - both of which are Interim Committees.
Ohio RepresentativeState Representative Rick Carfagna is serving his first term in the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 68th House District, which includes the eastern half of Delaware County and all of Knox County.
Carfagna serves as Vice-Chair of the House Public Utilities Committee, and also sits on the Agriculture & Rural Development, Rules & Reference, and State & Local Government Committees. He has also been named to the Ohio Retirement Study Council, which oversees the state’s five public employee pension funds, and the Statewide Emergency Services Internet Protocol Network Steering Committee, which advises on statewide emergency communications infrastructure and supports implementation of next-generation 9-1-1 services.
A native of the Columbus area, Rick earned his B.A. in Political Science from John Carroll University. Following graduation, Rick was accepted into the Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s Fellowship Program and later served as a legislative aide in the Ohio House of Representatives where he staffed the House Public Utilities Committee.
From 2002 until 2017, Carfagna worked as Government Relations Manager for Time Warner Cable, where he oversaw legislative and regulatory issues at the local, state and federal levels. He also served as the company’s primary liaison to more than 400 municipalities and townships throughout Central and Southeast Ohio. Among his accomplishments, Rick helped expand broadband infrastructure to unserved households, and also coordinated the provision of complimentary video services to scores of K-12 schools, local government facilities, and local first responders.
In 2009, Carfagna was elected to the Genoa Township Board of Trustees and was re-elected in 2013. He was appointed by his peers to serve as Board Chair in 2011, 2014, and 2016. In 2016, the Genoa Township Business Association recognized Carfagna with its “Public Servant of the Year” Award.
Other examples of Rick’s community involvement include service on the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Development Task Force, participation on the Westerville City School District’s Fiscal Review Committee, co-chairing BalletMet’s Advocacy Committee, serving on assorted teams with the United Way of Delaware County, and cooking at his church’s annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser. He also remains politically active as a longtime elected member of the Delaware County Republican Party’s Central Committee, and has assisted with numerous political campaigns over the years.
Rick and his wife, Jill, are the proud parents of a daughter, Isabella.
Oklahoma RepresentativeRyan Martinez is the newly elected representative from Oklahoma House District 39 which encompassed central and West Edmond and a portion of northwest Oklahoma City. In his first year as a member of the House of Representatives Ryan has been named as the Vice Chairman of the Transportation Committee and also as Assistant Majority Whip. Martinez has worked previously as the Director of Leadership for Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon, was Executive Director of the Republican State House Committee, and Field Representative for U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe.
South Carolina RepresentativeRepresentative Joshua Putnam was elected to office within a special election in July of 2011. At the time Rep. Putnam, 22 years of age was the youngest serving member within the general assembly. Joshua currently is within his 4th term in office and chairs the sub-committee on Public Safety within the House Education and Public Works Committee. In addition to his leadership role on the Education Committee, he also chairs a sub-committee within the House Operations and Management Committee. Previously Putnam served as Chairman of the Executive sub-committee within Legislative Oversight Committee, along with being a Majority Caucus Whip. Rep. Putnam’s legislative accomplishments expand through Foster Care, Education, and Health Care related issues. Joshua enjoys spending time with his family in Powdersville, SC. He is married to Holly Putnam and they currently have two young sons, Asher and Abram. They are expecting the arrival of their daughter, Anniston this coming July.
Texas RepresentativeGiovanni has been married to his wife Elisa for 16 years, and has three children attending Carroll ISD schools. After receiving his BS in Physics, he pursued his MBA in Finance from Santa Clara University. After school, Giovanni went on to work for a DFW based venture capital/private equity firm.
Giovanni is now the owner and president of his own small business, Texas Adventure Capital LLC, which provides business services to various investment fund managers and business owners. His focus is investing in Texas-based small businesses. Previously, Giovanni held various positions at computer engineering companies specializing in semiconductor design and Internet products, and was senior vice president at an investment firm where he managed the loan and equity portfolios of various American businesses.
Giovanni was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012 and is serving his third term representing District 98 which encompasses all or part of Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Keller, Westlake, North Fort Worth, and Haslet. He currently serves on the following committees: Appropriations, of which he is the chair of the subcommittee for Budget Transparency & Reform, General Investigating and Ethics, vice chair of Government Transparency & Operation, and the Local & Consent Calendars Committee. He is a member of the House Innovation & Technology Caucus, House Veterans Caucus, House Travel & Tourism Caucus, and the interim Public School Finance work group, where he has become a champion for public education, focusing on equitable funding for "Robin Hood" districts.
Wisconsin RepresentativeShannon Zimmerman was raised in rural western Wisconsin and graduated from Augusta High School in 1990. He attended the Chippewa Valley Technical College and then when on to attend UW-Milwaukee before founding Sajan, Inc., where he currently serves as the CEO. Sajan has been recognized by INC Magazine as both an INC 500 and INC 5000 Fastest Growing Company multiple years. Shannon has nearly 20 years of experience in information technology and localization. Shannon’s leadership, knowledge, and mentorship have resulted in providing complete localization solutions to many of the world’s largest brands around the globe. Shannon is proud that this business currently employees over 100 Wisconsin Residents.
Shannon first met his wife, Angel, in fifth grade, and they have two sons, Josh and Nick. He and Angel are blessed with four grandchildren, Taylor, Montee, Addalyn and Harper. Shannon and Angel attend Christ Family Church. Shannon also serves as a member of the UW-River Falls Chancellor’s Advisory Committee and sits on the board of the UW-River Falls Foundation. Both Shannon and Angel have been active supporters of the UW-River Falls in a variety of capacities.
Shannon was elected to office in 2016, and he will serve on the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, Assembly Committee on Education, Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy and Assembly Committee on Tourism. Shannon's top priorities in the Assembly are to provide common sense solutions to strengthen educational institutions in Wisconsin, remedy the workforce challenges in Wisconsin and protect the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin.