Harrisburg’s Smartest Staffers: House Republicans

Lawmakers are great, but staffers are the people who make government happen. Here’s our fourth and final edition of the best and brightest in each of the four caucuses in Harrisburg. Today: the top 10 House Republican staff members.

Republicans made the most of their 4 years in the minority, cultivating new talent and developing their seasoned staffers. They have a relatively long-tenured group and when they took the majority in 2010, staff made the transition well. It’s a big, ideologically diverse caucus and sometimes lawmakers themselves are on different pages – but staff members seldom are.

Todd Brysiak, Executive Director, Policy Committee

There’s not an issue that’s brought to the floor that the policy committee doesn’t have a hand in. Brysiak knows the policy on almost everything, and is conversant on everything else. He’s a Philly guy not just in his accent, but in his frank demeanor. He was crucial to the caucus’s welfare reform effort among other accomplishments.

Krystjan Callahan, Chief of Staff, Mike Turzai

For most House members, Callahan is their interface with the Majority Leader. He knows the issues, needs and wants of every member of the caucus and works to balance them all – even when they’re competing. Affable and influential, the former Lock Haven football player is Turzai’s ear among House Rs.

Karen Coates, Director of Legislative Affairs, Mike Turzai

Once a bill makes it out of the committee process, Coates is the most critical staffer in the House. She sets the calendar, works out amendments, and she’s part of any discussion on bill trading when things get down to brass tacks. Working behind the scenes at a very difficult job, she sets the direction of the House GOP each week. She’s knowledgeable, a quick riser in the caucus, and she isn’t afraid to be heard.

Kerry Golden, Executive Director, Agriculture Committee

She’s arguably the most powerful woman in PA agriculture. The Penn State grad and former Middletown Borough Councilwoman lives and breathes ag; she knows everybody and everything to do with the issue. She writes the bills, knows every item that comes out of her committee, and is one of the strongest EDs in Harrisburg.

Bruce Hanson, Director of Research and Executive Director, Labor and Industry Committee

Hanson earned his stars – and his recent promotion to Research – after 20 years working on Labor. In that capacity, he deftly balanced a caucus that’s occasionally bipolar when it comes to labor issues – with 20 staunch conservatives looking for a fight, and 20 moderates looking for a deal. He knows how to find compromise, to move difficult legislation and to get things done.

Ritchie LaFaver, Senior Budget Analyst, Appropriations Committee

Forget politics and intrigue. Leave the fancy titles to someone else. LaFaver will give you the nitty, gritty details on the fiscal code, gaming code, revenue projections and more. He knows the numbers inside and out – the numbers within the numbers – and handles the mechanical aspects of budgeting. He’s smart, hard-working, knowledgeable, and for more than a decade he’s been a behind-the-scenes boon to the caucus.

Steve Miskin, Press Secretary, Mike Turzai

Miskin is the caucus’s biggest asset in the press room. He returns calls better than anyone, and his well-cultivated relationships with the reporters help the House Rs get their message across effectively. He’s got a knack for social media and he’s also a talented, honest communicator. That last part even got him fired once: when Miskin said that former House Speaker John Perzel planned to repay the state for egregious expenses (Perzel had no such intention), the Speaker showed him the door. Sam Smith hired Miskin the same day.

Ed Nolan, Executive Director, Appropriations Committee

As you would expect from approps, Dr. Nolan knows the numbers. His depth of knowledge and his managerial style have made him a good fit on the committee. He’s also easy to talk to and well seasoned. Finally, he’s the quintessential staffer: he elevates his committee and his boss, Chair William Adolph, but he doesn’t get out in front of them.

Dave Thomas, Chief Counsel, Sam Smith

If this was a one person list, Thomas would still be on it. He is Smith’s right-hand man: at the table for final negotiations on bills and the budget. Good at both seeing the big picture and honing in on specific issues, he’s a straight shooter with strong institutional knowledge and he always knows what’s going on. He’s also a go-to guy for members and he gets it done: when he is working a vote for the caucus, Republicans win. But he’s earned immense respect from, and works well with, both sides of the aisle.

Steve Tuckey, General Counsel, Mike Turzai

A skilled lawyer with a solid sense of political issues, Tuckey establishes policy for the Leader’s office. Formerly with the Ridge administration and a top bill drafter for the Senate GOP, he’s been key on numerous big pieces of legislation over the years. He makes sure that members and their interests are represented in legislation, and works through such problems that arise.

A quick explanation of criteria. The smartest staffers are those whose savvy, institutional knowledge and work product make them indispensable to their caucus. Our list is based on submissions, interviews and conversations with lawmakers, lobbyists, reporters and other staffers. With apologies to talented district staff, this list contains those who do their work in Harrisburg.

Editor’s note: this project started back in November, but redistricting and the primary intervened. Thanks to all for your patience.

6 Responses

  1. تحميل برامج مجانية جديدة، دليلك لمشاهدة وتحميل جميع البرامج المجانية الجديدة المتاحة للكمبيوتر والاندرويد، وكذلك تحميل أحدث تطبيقات وبرامج الويندوز مجانا.

    تحميل برنامج فيس بوك لايت مجانا
    تحميل فيس بوك لايت حصريا
    تحميل برامج كمبيوتر
    تحميل برامج كمبيوتر مجانية
    تحميل برامج كمبيوتر وبرامج اندرويد
    تحميل برنامج ميراندا للشات للكمبيوتر
    تحميل برنامج سكاي بي للكمبيوتر
    تحميل برنامج بروج دي في بي للكمبيوتر
    تحميل برنامج DU Meter لقياس سرعة الإنترنت مجاناً
    تحميل برنامج اول بلاير ALLPlayer للكمبيوتر مجاناً
    تحميل برنامج Bandicam
    تحميل برنامج SMPlayer 2017
    تحميل برنامج Andy Android Emulator
    تحميل برنامج ياهو ماسنجر
    تحميل برنامج قل هاى للأندرويد للدردشة
    تحميل برنامج KakaoTalk مجاني للأندرويد
    تحميل برنامج سكايب للأندرويد مجاناً
    تحميل برنامج Kik للأندرويد
    تحميل برنامج تيليجرام للاندرويد
    تحميل برنامج تشغيل الافلام والصوتيات مجانا VLC Media Player
    تحميل برنامج الوافي الذهبي للترجمة مجانا Golden Alwafi
    تحميل متصفح موزيلا فايرفوكس
    تحميل برنامج تعديل الصور فوتوسكيب PhotoScape للكمبيوتر
    تحميل متصفح اوبرا
    برنامج حجب المواقع الاباحية مجانا Free Anti-Porn
    تحميل برنامج لاين مجانا
    تحميل برنامج تسجيل الصوت على الكمبيوتر AD Sound Recorder
    تحميل برنامج ادوبي ريدر
    تحميل برنامج سكايب
    تنزيل برنامج استعادة الملفات المحذوفة
    تنزيل فيس بوك مجانا
    تحميل برنامج انترنت دونلود مانجر
    تحميل برنامج فلاش بلاير
    تحميل برنامج مايكروسوفت اوفيس
    تحميل برنامج الياهو ماسنجر
    تحميل برنامج AIMP 2016
    تحميل برنامج كيو كيو بلاير
    تحميل برنامج وينرار
    تحميل اسطوانة التعريفات DriverPack Solution
    تحميل برنامج في شير vShare
    تحميل برنامج سناجيت
    تحميل برنامج بلوستاك للكمبيوتر
    تحميل متصفح اوبرا
    تحميل برنامج باور كلينر

  2. anonymous –Yeah, it is totally shaky that the top leader in the caucus would employ the caucus’ top staffers. Brilliant.

  3. Funny how many of these “top” staffers come from the majority leader’s office……..sounds a little shaky to me.

  4. You should havw also included Sharon Schwartz, Kathy McCormac and Melanie Brown as part of your list. They don’t alwaus get the recognition they deserve.

  5. Ken-staffers tend to transcend elected representatives and are the movers and shakers. They are assets to the people in that they are many times the most effective trainers in the mechanics and rules of state government for new representatives.

    And in the end, it is still the legislator who makes the final decision on how they will vote and bears the responsibility for their vote.

  6. If this is true why do we pay all this money to our Senators and Representatives if someone else is doing the work.

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