WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today announced new hires for the Office of the Majority Whip and leadership roles being filled by current Thune aides.
“With a mix of experience from the Senate, House leadership, and the private sector, this is a team that is well-equipped to assist the majority leader and serve the needs of the Republican conference as a whole,” Sen. Thune said. “I’ll rely on these individuals as we work together to pass legislation that will move our agenda forward, help all members of the conference serve their constituents, and communicate with the American people.”
Geoffrey Antell and Cynthia Herrle will serve as key policy advisors focused on assisting the Office of the Majority Leader and helping Senate committees advance the Republican agenda.
Geoffrey Antell has been named policy director and counsel. Antell previously served as the assistant to the speaker for policy and counsel in the Office of Speaker Ryan. He also served as the trade counsel for the Committee on Ways and Means under former Chairman Ryan and former Chairman David Camp (R-MI). Antell is a graduate of Harvard Law School and George Washington University.
Cynthia Herrle has been named policy advisor for budget and appropriations. A longtime leadership aide, Herrle previously served as the assistant to the speaker for policy in the Office of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). Prior to that, she served in the same role for former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). She has also served as an advisor at the Committee on Education and the Workforce in the House of Representatives and in various roles for other leadership offices, including the Office of the Majority Leader and the House Republican Conference and Republican Policy Committees. Herrle is a graduate of LaSalle University.
David Cole and Scarlet Doyle Samp, both experienced Senate operators, are also joining the team as liaisons to legislative directors, a role instrumental to understanding the needs and priorities of all members of the Senate Republican conference and working with the Deputy Whip Team to whip and win the vote.
David Cole joins from the office of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) where he served as legislative director. His extensive Senate experience also includes years serving Senator John McCain as senior legislative assistant and a professional staff member in the Office of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) in the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. Previously, he worked at the Heritage Foundation for several years including as manager of research operations. He is a graduate of Liberty University. David will also conduct outreach to social and fiscal conservative organizations.
Scarlet Doyle Samp joins Sen. Thune’s team from the office of Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) where she most recently served as senior legislative assistant focused on a variety of issues including telecommunications, technology, transportation, cybersecurity, intelligence and veteran-related issues. She previously advised on the foreign affairs, defense, and homeland security portfolios. A native Nevadan, Samp also served as legislative aide and legislative correspondent in Sen. Heller’s office. She is a graduate of American University.
Current senior aides and communicators for Sen. Thune will continue to serve in his leadership office.
Brendon Plack has been named chief of staff for the Senate Majority Whip Office. Plack, a South Dakota native, has previously served as Sen. Thune’s staff director at the Senate Republican Conference and the deputy chief of staff of his personal office.
Nick Rossi has been named deputy chief of staff and general counsel for the Whip office and will also handle a policy portfolio for the office. Rossi previously served under Sen. Thune as the Republican staff director for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Longtime Thune aide and current general counsel of the Commerce Committee Jason Van Beek will have a new dual role, serving as general counsel in the personal office and oversight counsel in the Whip office. Daffnei Riedel, who currently serves as director of scheduling for Sen. Thune, will transition to the Whip office as director of operations and will also handle member relations for Sen. Thune.
Chandler Smith, who has been communications director for the Senate Republican Conference (SRC) since May 2015, will serve as communications director for Sen. Thune’s leadership office. Dominique McKay will transition from SRC to the Whip office as press secretary. Adam Scheidler joins the Whip team as creative director, a role he also previously held at SRC. Mary Katherine Ascik will continue her role as Sen. Thune’s speechwriter.
The Whip team will work hand-in-hand with Sen. Thune’s personal office team, which includes Chief of Staff Ryan Nelson, Deputy Chief of Staff Jessica McBride, Communications Director Ryan Wrasse, and Press Secretary Katie Lingle.