From 2011-2015, Phalen served as Communications Director for the House Intelligence Committee.
Before that she headed communications for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and spent eight years at the U.S. Department of State as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. During that time, she deployed to Iraq nine times.
Before that she was Communications Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the OECD in Paris. She also worked in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House early in her career.
She got her start in radio on the island of Guam.
She is a 1992 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. (PF tipster)
Brendon Plack, who has been serving as Sen. Thune’s Deputy Chief of Sstaff, has been named Staff Director of the Senate Republican Conference. Plack will also continue to oversee operations in Thune’s DC-based personal office. Plack, a South Dakota native, has served on Thune’s team in various capacities for the past 10 years, including Thune’s Legislative Director, Policy Director for the Senate Republican Conference, and energy analyst at the Senate Republican Policy Committee.
Ann Marie Hauser has been named Deputy Sstaff Director of the Senate Republican Conference. Most recently, Hauser handled public affairs strategy for the financial regulatory consulting firm Patomak Global Partners. Prior to that, she served as managing vice president at JDA Frontline, Communications Director for Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s presidential bid, Vice President of Corporate Communications at JPMorgan Chase, Communications Director for U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Director of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce and spokesperson at the U.S. Department of Treasury in the George W. Bush administration.
AshLee Strong, Sen. Thune’s national Communications Director, has been promoted to Senior Communications Director. She will continue to serve as Thune’s chief spokesperson and will coordinate Thune’s national message in his leadership office and across his committee assignments. Previously, Strong served as Press Secretary for Sen. Thune, Press Secretary for Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), communications aide for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and as an aide at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in the George W. Bush administration.
Frederick Hill has been named Sen. Thune’s Communications Director for the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Hill most recently served as Deputy Staff Director for Communications to Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Hill has worked for Issa for the past 13 years.
In addition, Rachel Millard will continue to serve as Thune’s Communications Director for state press. Millard, a native of Chamberlain, SD, and graduate of Creighton University, has served on Sen. Thune’s personal staff for over five years and previously served as press secretary for Sen. Thune, internal communications adviser at the Senate Republican Conference, and legislative correspondent for Thune. (PF tipster)
Politico’s “Playbook” reports that D.J. Jordan is leaving the House Small Business Committee, under chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), and has been named Communications Director for U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).
Jordan previously served as a press aide for U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), as well as working for CNN and Fox News.
He is has a B.S. degree from Liberty University and a Master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University.
He is a native of Chesapeake, VA. (Politico “Playbook” and PF reporting)
Doheny has been Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Renee Elmers (R-NC) since 2011. Doheny took leave in 2014 to serve as Colorado Victory Communications Director for the RNC. Before that he was Communications Director for the Delaware Republican Party.
He is a 2007 graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and a native of Fairfax Station, Virginia. (Politico’s “Playbook”)
Fritz has led communications for Boehner’s political committee for the past four years, serving as Ohio Press Secretary for Boehner before that. Earlier he was Speechwriter for former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH). (PF tipster)
Politico’s Jake Sherman reports that Brendan Buck is returning to Capitol Hill to serve as Communications Director for the House Ways and Means Committee, under incoming chairman Paul Ran (R-WI).
Buck previously served as Press Secretary for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and most recently was vice president at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). Buck worked for Ryan as traveling press aide after he was named the vice presidential nominee on the Romney-Ryan campaign.
He’s a native of Atlanta and a graduate of the University of Georgia. (Politico)
Previously, Zink advised the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on communications strategies following oil spills and toxic releases in our nation’s oceans, most notably the 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Before that he directed communications and marketing for the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, a congressionally chartered non-profit organization, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a groundbreaking coalition of fishing, hunting and environmental organizations.
He also previously managed media relations for Trout Unlimited, the country’s foremost organization devoted to the protection of cold water resources.
Zink began his career as an environmental journalist, helping launch Blue Ridge Press, a syndicated column service publishing on environmental issues, and assisting the magazine and television operations of the National Geographic Society.
He holds a B.A. in Journalism from Washington & Lee University. (PF tipster)
Freire joins Hatch’s staff after two years of serving as Communications Director and Speechwriter for U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS). He previously worked as a Senior Communications Strategist in crisis communications, campaigns, and corporate defense for New Media Strategies following nearly eight years as an award-winning conservative journalist, including turns as Associate Editorial Page Editor at the Washington Examiner, Managing Editor at the American Spectator, and Researcher/Writer at the New York Times. In 2009 he was honored as CPAC’s Journalist of the Year.
Freire holds a B.A. in English from Cornell University, where he also served as senior editor of the Cornell Review.
“J.P.’s experience as a policy-focused journalist, strategic communicator, and effective manager will be a major asset to our team as we coordinate our agenda for the Senate,” Sen. Hatch said. “J.P. is an honest broker who knows how to discuss complicated issues with reporters, and I’m thrilled to have him as part of my team.”
Freire is a native of Stamford, CT. (PF tipster, press release)
Jeff Grappone, Communications Director for U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and top aide since her 2010 campaign, has joined Siemens in their media relations department, based in Washington, DC. The news was first reported in Politico’s “Playbook.”
Grappone previously served as Press Secretary to U.S. Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) and on the legislative staff of U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH). In 2008, he was a spokesman for the presidential campaigns of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-New York City).
He's a graduate of Georgetown University and a native of Concord, NH. (Politico “Playbook”)