2020 Emerging Leaders

GOPAC’s 2020 Class of Emerging Leaders is made up of promising legislators selected for their potential and ability to impact their state.

“As Americans are seeking solutions to the issues our communities face, our 2020 class of Emerging Leaders has an excellent opportunity to advance ideas to make the lives of their constituents easier, safer, and better,” said GOPAC Chairman David Avella. “We welcome being part of their development and doing our part to support their success.”

The Emerging Leaders program is a year-long 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 10th Annual Emerging Leaders Summit, which takes place from August 5th – 7th in Washington, DC. 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 a legislative leader in their state.

Emerging Leaders Class of 2020:

Ricky Hill

Arkansas Senator

Senator Ricky Hill of Cabot represents District 29, which includes parts of Faulkner, Lonoke, Pulaski and White Counties. Senator Hill is vice chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development. He is a member of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs and the Joint Committee on Advanced Communications and Information Technology. He is on the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee and chairs its subcommittee on Medicaid, while serving on its subcommittee on Educational Institutions.

Rob Woodward

Colorado Senator

Rob Woodward is humbled to serve the citizens of Colorado State Senate District 15, which includes Loveland, Berthoud, Estes Park, Wellington and all the people who live in rural Larimer County. He is a member of both the Senate Finance and Senate Appropriations Committees, and he is the Chair of the Senate Statutory Revision Committee.

Brian Buchanan

Indiana Senator

State Sen. Brian Buchanan has represented Senate District 7 since 2018. Senate District 7 includes White County and portions of Boone, Carroll, Clinton, Jasper and Tippecanoe counties. Buchanan serves as a member of the Senate Committees on Agriculture; Education and Career Development; Natural Resources; and Tax and Fiscal Policy.

Jake Chapman

Iowa Senator

Senator Chapman was first elected in 2012. His district covers Adair, Guthrie, and portions of Cass, Dallas, and Polk Counties. He is a businessman and is the Chief Operating Officer for his family-owned emergency medical service. Senator Chapman is also an EMT. He currently serves as Assistant Majority Leader and is a member of the following committees: Ways & Means (Chair), Commerce, Judiciary, Rules and Administration, and State Government.

Jason Rarick

Minnesota Senator

In 2014, Jason was elected to serve the people of Pine and Kanabec Counties in the Minnesota House of Representatives and re-elected as state representative in 2016 and 2018. Senator Rarick was elected to the Minnesota Senate in a 2019 special election. In 2004, Rarick became a self-employed electrical contractor at Rarick Electric. He is a member of the Energy and Utilities, Jobs and Economic Growth, and Transportation Finance and Policy Committees, as well as the Local Government Committee.

Danny Britt

North Carolina Senator

Senator Danny Britt was first elected to the North Carolina State Senate in 2016 representing Senate District 13. In addition to over 10 years as an attorney in private practice and 5 years as an Assistant District Attorney, Senator Britt is currently a Lt. Colonel in the Army National Guard and has served deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait over his 22 years in service. He is a member of the Transportation, Agriculture/Environment and Natural Resources, Appropriations for Justice and Public Safety, State & Local Government, and Judiciary standing Committees.

Adam Pugh

Oklahoma Senator

Adam Pugh represents Oklahoma Senate District 41 covering Edmond, Arcadia and northern Oklahoma City. Adam is also CEO of AP Jetworks, an aerospace and defense company. Adam is a former US Air Force officer, serving nearly 8 years on active duty as an Electronic Combat Officer and logging over 2,000 flying hours onboard the E-3 AWACS. Adam flew combat support missions in the Balkans and the Middle East as well as NORAD missions over the US after the 9/11 attacks. He serves as Chairman of Public Safety and Judiciary appropriations and is the Chairman and founder of the Oklahoma Aerospace and Aviation Caucus.

Donna Campbell

Texas Senator

Senator Donna Campbell, M.D. is a retired board certified ophthalmologist, board certified emergency medicine physician, and proud parent of four daughters. She represents Senate District 25, a six county district which includes parts of San Antonio and Austin. In 2012, she became just the fifteenth woman ever elected to serve in the Texas Senate. Senator Campbell was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor as Chairwoman of Veteran Affairs and Border Security. She also serves on five other Senate committees and two select committees which include Senate Redistricting (Select), Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety (Select), Senate Finance, Business and Commerce, Senate Education, Senate Health and Human Services, and Senate Intergovernmental Relations.

Jen Kiggans

Virginia Senator

Jen Kiggans, a former Navy pilot who currently serves as a Nurse Practitioner, was elected to Virginia’s 7th Senate district seat in November, 2019. The seat includes parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. After completing Navy flight school and being winged as a Naval Aviator in 1995, Jen served for a total of ten years as a helicopter pilot flying H-46 and H-3 helicopters, completing two deployments to the Persian Gulf. She serves on the following Senate Committees: Local Government, Subcommittee on Charters, General Laws and Technology, Subcommittee on Gaming, and Rehabilitation and Social Services.

Les Eaves

Arkansas Representative

Rep. Les Eaves is serving his third term in the Arkansas House of Representatives representing District 46, which includes a portion of White County. He is currently the Vice President of Delta Manufacturing, Inc. Representative Eaves serves as vice-chair of the Joint Budget Committee. He also serves on the Administrative Rule and Regulation Review Subcommittee, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, the Joint Committee on Advanced Communications and Information Technology, and the House Agriculture, Forestry & Economic Development Committee.

James Gallagher

California Assemblyman

Assemblyman Gallagher has represented California's 3rd Assembly District since 2014, which includes parts of the Sacramento Valley. He has been practicing law since 2007. Prior to his election to the California State Assembly, he served on the Sutter County Board of Supervisors. Assemblyman Gallagher has served on the Budget, Governmental Organization, and Privacy and Consumer Protection Committees. He has also served as the vice-chair of both the Judiciary Committee and the Elections and Redistricting Committee.

Josie Tomkow

Florida Representative

Representative Josie Tomkow was elected in May 2018 in a special election, and re-elected in November 2018. She grew up spending summers working cattle with her family, assisting other ranchers in Polk County and surrounding areas, and working for the family business, Cattlemen’s Livestock Market. She currently serves on the Public Integrity & Ethics Committee, the Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, the Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee, the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee, and the Health Market Reform Subcommittee.

Chuck Goodrich

Indiana Representative

Chuck Goodrich serves as the President and CEO of Gaylor Electric, Inc., one of the largest merit shop electrical companies in the Midwest. A leader in the business community, Mr. Goodrich has served as past national chairman of the board of directors for National Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Representative Goodrich is currently in his second term representing District 29 in the Indiana House of Representatives. Currently, he serves on the Education Committee, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and the Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee.

Samara Heavrin

Kentucky Representative

Samara Heavrin, 18th District State Representative for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, was elected in November 2019 in a special election. When sworn into office, she became the youngest female ever elected to the Kentucky State House of Representatives. Upon her graduation from Western Kentucky University in 2014, she interned for U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie before joining U. S. Senator Rand Paul’s staff as a Staff Assistant. After three years in Washington, she returned home to join Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball’s staff. Representative Heavrin serves on the House Committee’s on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs, Judiciary, Transportation, and Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection.

Graham Filler

Michigan Representative

State Rep. Graham Filler was first elected to serve the 93rd District in the Michigan House of Representatives in November 2018. The 93rd District encompasses Clinton County and portions of Gratiot County. He was named an Assistant Attorney General in 2011. Representative Filler serves as the chairman of the House Judiciary committee and is a member on the Energy, Health Policy, and Regulatory Reform committees.

Kevin Byrne

New York Assemblyman

Kevin Byrne (Rep, Con, Ref) serves as the New York State Assemblyman for New York's 94th Assembly District, which includes Yorktown, Somers, Carmel, Southeast, Patterson and Putnam Valley. Kevin is the ranking member of the Assembly’s Committee on Health and serves as chair of the Assembly Minority Program Committee, making him the youngest member of his conference’s leadership team. He also serves as a member of the committees on Government Operations, Insurance, Labor, and Transportation.

Destin Hall

North Carolina Representative

Representative Destin Hall is currently serving his second term as the Representative for North Carolina House District 87. He has been a general practicing attorney representing clients across North Carolina since 2014. Representative Hall was the Majority Freshman Leader for the House in the 2017-2018 legislative session. He is currently a Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Elections and Ethics Law Committee, Redistricting Committee, Criminal Matters Committee, Judiciary Committee, and the Select Committee on Congressional Redistricting.

Lonnie Sims

Oklahoma Representative

Lonnie Sims was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2018. Rep. Sims represents House District 68 which includes Tulsa County and the cities of Tulsa, Jenks, Glenpool and Berryhill. Prior to the Oklahoma House, Rep. Sims spent 15 years serving the City of Jenks, OK in several public offices including Planning Commissioner, City Councilman and Mayor. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the County and Municipal Government Committee and has also been appointed by the Speaker of the House to the Insurance Committee; Public Health Committee and Appropriations & Budget Transportation Subcommittee.

Eric Nelson

Pennsylvania Representative

Representative Nelson is serving his second full term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. After graduating from college, Eric enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served for eight years with deployments in Albania, Estonia, Okinawa, Spain and Thailand. He re-enlisted for an additional year of service after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Following his distinguished military career, Eric returned to serve his community as an entrepreneur and businessman. Eric serves on the following House committees: Aging and Older Services, Consumer Affairs, Human Services, Insurance, and Labor and Industry.

Carrie Coyner

Virginia Delegate

Delegate Coyner was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2019. She is the Managing Partner of Rudy, Coyner & Associates, PLLC providing real estate and business contracts and settlement services. She began the company Experience in 2007 after working for The Law Office of Rudy & Mikula for several years. She is a member of the Public Safety Committee and the Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee.

Chris Corry

Washington Representative

Sworn into office in 2019, Chris Corry represents the 14th Legislative District, which includes most of Yakima County, all of Klickitat and Skamania counties and a small portion of Eastern Clark County. A licensed foster parent, he is also an advocate for families and those struggling with mental health or addiction battles. With over fourteen years' experience in the insurance industry, Chris advises clients on risk management and how best to protect their employees and businesses. He serves on the Education, Budget, Human Services and Early Learning, and Rules Committees.