Young Conservatives Leadership Committee
The Leadership Committee of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry are men and women who are making their support for limited government, individual liberty, family values and the Golden Rule heard across the country.
Tyler Deaton | Campaign Manager
Tyler is Secretary of the New Hampshire Young Republicans and a member of the Manchester delegation to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee. In 2011-2012, Tyler led the successful effort to protect the freedom to marry in New Hampshire working with Standing Up for New Hampshire Families and New Hampshire Republicans for Freedom and Equality PAC. Tyler is a Managing Director of b-fresh consulting llc. He studied political science at Wheaton College in Illinois. Tyler and his partner James live in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Crystal Benton is a senior executive at a leading DC-based public relations agency where she provides counsel on public affairs issues and strategic communications to corporate and government clients. Previously, Crystal served as press secretary to U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on Capitol Hill. She left to direct communications for a conservative Washington think tank before rejoining Senator McCain in her home state as press secretary to his New Hampshire Primary campaign. She went on to serve as deputy communications director to his 2008 presidential campaign, where she directed media relations and messaging in target markets across the country. An Emerson College graduate, Crystal volunteers with wounded warriors through the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir and lives in Virginia.
Will Cain is an attorney, writer, and commentator. He is a contributor to both CNN and The Blaze TV. He has been a regular on CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien as well as CNN’s In the Arena with Eliot Spitzer. He is a co-host of Real News from The Blaze and a columnist for TheBlaze.com. Cain was a contributor to National Review and has appeared frequently on MSNBC, Fox News and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. Prior to his work in television, Cain financed, bought, and sold two digital and print media companies. Quince Media was a Hispanic media company that garnered him the accolade of 40 Most Influential People in the Magazine Industry (Folio 2007). Cain Communications was a community newspaper group in Texas, where he was named one of the 20 Under 40. (Texas Press Association 2005). Cain is a licensed attorney in Texas. He attended University of Texas Law School and Pepperdine University. He grew up in Sherman, Texas.
S.E. Cupp is a conservative columnist, author and commentator. She is co-host of the MSNBC program The Cycle and the Blaze program Real News. She is author of Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity and co-author of Why You're Wrong About the Right. S.E. is also a columnist at The New York Daily News and a contributing editor at Townhall Magazine. She has been published in The Washington Post, The Detroit Free Press, The American Spectator, Politico, The Daily Caller, Slate, Maxim, Sports Illustrated, Human Events, FoxNews.com, CNN.com, and elsewhere and has appeared on dozens of television and radio shows, including Real Time with Bill Maher, The View, Fox & Friends, Hannity, Glenn Beck, The Dennis Miller Show, The Fred Thompson Show, The Mike Huckabee Show, The Daily Show, Chris Matthews,Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, Morning Joe, and Larry King Live.
Matt David is a political and media strategist. He started Outland Creative Works, a media firm focused on digital media strategy and is a public affairs consultant to nonprofits, private companies and political campaigns. Prior to this, Matt served as Campaign Manager for Governor Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign and served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also served as Deputy Communications Director for Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential primary campaign and Deputy Director of Rapid Response for President Bush's re-election campaign. Matt has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa and graduated from the University of the Ozarks with a political science degree. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, he currently resides in California.
James Dozier is a Senior Associate at Civitas Public Affairs Group LLC, where he advises nonprofit clients on political strategy. Prior to joining Civitas, James was the Deputy Political Director for the Victory Fund, a Washington, DC, based political action committee. From 2006-2009, James was a member of the political team at Gill Action, where he coordinated the development and implementation of electoral and legislative strategies in New England and the Mountain. James advised local and national stakeholders on the implementation of Gill Action’s proven political strategy in targeted states seeking to enact comprehensive relationship recognition and non-discrimination legislation. James started his political career as a campaign staff member for Congresswoman Connie Morella (R-MD).
Emily Harlan works at Allegiance Strategies, LLC, a Washington, DC based public affairs consulting firm focused on helping clients achieve a pro-growth, competitive and inclusive America. At Allegiance Strategies, Emily provides election and legislative support at the federal and state levels. Emily is a recent graduate of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and previously interned on Capitol Hill. She currently resides in Virginia.
Margaret Hoover is a CNN Political Contributor and the best-selling author of the book American Individualism: How A New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party. Margaret is a veteran of the Bush Administration White House, two presidential campaigns, and a former staffer on Capitol Hill. Her work is committed to renewing the Republican Party to enable it to connect with a new generation of Americans, even as it remains true to the principles of individual freedom and fiscal conservatism and continues to champion a robust U.S. foreign policy. She serves on the advisory council of the American Foundation for Equal Rights as well as on the boards of the Hoover Institution, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association, and the Belgian American Educational Foundation. Raised in Colorado, Margaret lives in New York City with her husband.
Abby Huntsman is a host and producer for HuffPost Live, The Huffington Post's streaming channel, as well as a frequent political commentator on CNN and MSNBC. Abby graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008, where she studied Political Science and Communications. She went on to work for ABC News in Washington, D.C., and Good Morning America in New York City. She also worked for the PR firm Burson-Marsteller. Abby helped her father, Jon Huntsman’s, 2012 Presidential Campaign as a media adviser and surrogate. She and her sisters, the Jon2012Girls, became known for their witty tweets and a parody video to the Herman Cain “Smoking Ad." Abby grew up in Utah but has spent many of her years living in Asia, most recently Beijing, after marrying her college sweetheart.
Liddy Huntsman is an aspiring writer/producer and also the daughter of former Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. She and her sisters, the Jon2012Girls, campaigned for their dad’s presidential campaign in 2012 and are known for making the Herman Cain “Smoking Ad” parody, while also tweeting out sarcastic, witty comments during the 2012 election. She strongly advocates for the freedom to marry as the only Republican host on a liberal radio show, “The Dabakis Factor”. She is currently producing a web series targeted to the millennial generation, as well as co-hosting a weekly radio show in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mary Anne Huntsman
Mary Anne Huntsman is currently working for Malaria No More in Washington, DC and New York City. She is also a lifelong pianist, having begun playing at the age of three. Mary Anne studied piano performance at the Manhattan School of Music and won and placed in numerous competitions. She has been invited to solo with major symphony orchestras. She lived in Beijing, China, for several years teaching and performing piano. She recently worked on the presidential campaign of her father, Governor Jon Huntsman, where she was active with her sisters as the Jon2012girls. She is the oldest of seven children.
Shannon Kiely-Heider is the Director of State Government Relations at Cummins Inc. In her capacity at Cummins, Shannon has actively advocated for freedom to marry legislation at the state level. Prior to joining Cummins, Shannon served as a Government Affairs Consultant at Krieg DeVault LLP and as Deputy Legislative Director for Governor Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. in Indiana. She currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series and as a literacy tutor in the Indianapolis Public School system. Shannon lives in Indiana with her husband Neil.
Madeline Koch is a Manager of Government Affairs for Comcast in St. Paul, Minnesota. Prior to her current position, Madeline worked for a Minneapolis-based public affairs and public relations firm, held a staff position at the Republican National Convention and was a press intern for former Senator Norm Coleman in Washington, DC. In the summer of 2009, Madeline first joined the Communications Committee at Project 515 – a Minnesota-based non-profit working to ensure that same-sex couples and their families have equal rights under Minnesota law – and is a sitting board member. Madeline volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities and lives in Minneapolis.
Eli Lehrer is President and co-founder of R Street, a free market think tank with offices in Washington, D.C., Tallahassee, Florida, Austin, Texas and Columbus, Ohio. Prior to co-founding R Street, he served as a Vice President of the Heartland Institute. He has also been a reporter at the Washington Times, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, speechwriter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Senior Editor of the American Enterprise Institute's magazine, and a project manager for the Unisys Corporation. He lives in Virginia with his wife Kari and son Andrew.
Sarah Longwell is a Vice President at a Washington, DC communications firm that aggressively defends free market principles. She has delivered expert testimony before numerous state legislatures, regularly appears in the national media and is quoted in hundreds of news stories each year. Longwell frequently appears on the opinion pages of top tier newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Longwell is a graduate of Kenyon College in Ohio.
Ed J. Lopez
Ed J. Lopez is National Vice Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. During the 2012 presidential primaries, Ed served as a member of the Leadership Council at Standing Up for New Hampshire Families and on Governor Jon Huntsman’s New Hampshire State Steering Committee. He also worked for the late U.S. Senator John H. Chafee, was founder and chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Rhode Island, and was the Republican nominee for Rhode Island Secretary of State in 1998. He served in the Military Intelligence Branch of the United States Army Reserve and has worked as a consultant for private intelligence, security, and investigation work. Ed has been featured as a guest columnist in The Politics Reader, The Portsmouth Herald, The Providence American, The Providence Journal, and The (Nashua) Telegraph. He currently resides in Connecticut with his wife, Marie Anne.
Richard Lorenc is the incoming Director of Programs & Alumni Relations at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), which educates future leaders with the economic, ethical, and legal principles of a free society. He also serves as Senior Advisor to America’s Future Foundation. Richard is a participant in the Charles Koch Institute's Liberty@Work program and serves on the board of directors of the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He is the former Director of Outreach of the Illinois Policy Institute and led website development for State Data Lab, a tool that empowers citizens, journalists, and legislators with information on the financial conditions of the states. He has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Chicagoist, The Illinois Review, The Rockford Register-Star, The Daily Caller and others. He is a graduate of Emory University and lives in Illinois.
Liz Mair is the founder and President of Mair Strategies LLC, a communications firm advising political candidates, Fortune 500 companies, and major trade associations. In 2012, Liz advised Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on online communications in the context of his successful campaign against recall and Texas Governor Rick Perry during his presidential campaign. During the 2010 campaign cycle, she served as former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina's online communications strategist. Throughout 2008, Liz was the Republican National Committee's online communications director, in which role she crafted and executed an aggressive online communications strategy widely praised for its groundbreaking nature. Liz lives in Virginia with her husband.
Meghan McCain is a contributor to MSNBC, a columnist for The Daily Beast, and the daughter of U.S. Senator John McCain. McCain has spent much of her life on the campaign trail, and throughout, she has served as an outspoken advocate for opening up the Republican Party on social issues and diversity. She is well known for her 2010 memoir, Dirty Sexy Politics, and has specifically focused her outreach on women's issues, the freedom to marry, and diversifying the GOP. She currently lives in New York City.
Nicole Neily is currently a public affairs specialist. Previously, she has served as executive director of the Independent Women's Forum, and both manager of external relations and media manager at the Cato Institute. Nicole worked as director of research analysis for the Winston Group, a public opinion and message design firm. In addition, she has authored several papers for the Illinois Policy Institute and Americans for Prosperity- Illinois. Nicole lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband.
Marco Nunez is a public affairs specialist and campaign operative with over ten years experience in developing and managing political and issue advocacy campaigns at the state and national levels. Marco is currently the Vice President of Marketing for advocacy software startup RAP Index. His political experience includes working on Oregon Senator Gordon Smith's 2002 re-elect, the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, the Republican National Committee, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2006 re-elect and the 2008 Presidential campaign of Senator John McCain. Prior to his involvement in politics, Marco spent three years at Bob Jones University where he studied to be a Youth Pastor and minored in Radio and Television production. He currently lives in South Carolina with his partner, Kim, and their three children.
James Owens is President of the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) of Oregon. Since he was elected, James has brought much needed media attention to LCR as a featured guest on the statewide program “Think Out Loud”, as a guest columnist for the Oregonian, and in several interviews and comments in publications across the state. James continues to work alongside leaders of other conservative groups building partnerships and coalitions that focus on advancing equality and inclusiveness. Outside of his leadership role at LCR, James runs a mobility device company and has worked on several charitable causes ranging from building churches in Mexico, to serving food to the homeless at a shelter in San Francisco, to volunteering his time at an AIDS clinic. He lives in Oregon.
Nathan Parsons is the Director of Operations for Allegiance Strategies, a niche public affairs consulting firm in New York and DC focused on helping clients achieve a pro-growth, competitive and inclusive America. Nathan has worked as a Republican field operative in 10 states, including work for the College Republican National Committee and the Republican Parties of Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Virginia. From 2006 to 2008, he served as Special Assistant to Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson. He earned his BA in Political Science from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky and currently resides in Virginia.
Will Rinehart is Director of Operation for the International Center for Law & Economics and a Research Fellow at TechFreedom. He was previously a Koch Summer Fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation in 2009, concentrating on advertising policy and Internet governance. In 2008, he was a Research Associate at the Illinois Policy Institute, where he studied state-level budget, energy and tax issues. He came to TechFreedom from the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, where he was the Research Assistant in Technology and Civic Engagement.
Torrey Shearer is a Director of Legislative and Political Affairs at Allegiance Strategies, LLC. Prior to joining Allegiance Strategies Torrey was a Public Affairs Advisor at Holland & Knight, LLP, where he managed several large portfolios of corporate, association and Indian tribal government clients and represented stakeholders before the U.S. Congress and federal agencies. He has also worked on numerous campaigns at the state and federal level. In 2012, Torrey was named one of the most influential Republicans under 35 by the D.C. Republican Party. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Jordan Smith is a young entrepreneur and commercial real estate mogul in the making. He has been involved in a variety of equality and anti-discrimination organizations in the Mountain West including Utah Equality and has a passion for trailblazing conservative values that simultaneously support equality. Jordan is enthusiastic about bridging the current mind gap between conservative values and equal rights. The youngest of five children to biracial parents, he was raised in conservative Salt Lake City, Utah.
Craig Stowell is an Operation Iraqi Freedom Marine Corps veteran and Republican Co-Chair of Standing Up For New Hampshire Families. SUFNHF recently led the successful campaign to keep New Hampshire’s popular marriage law by getting a majority of Republicans to vote to preserve the freedom to marry for all citizens; including Craig's gay younger brother, Calvin. Craig and his family were also featured in a national #Time4Marriage television ad.
Jake Wagner is an undergraduate student at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, majoring in Politics with minors in Campaign Management and Communication. He currently serves as Chairman of the New Hampshire Federation of College Republicans, overseeing grassroots operations across the Granite State’s college campuses. Representing young conservatives statewide, Jake is also a member of the Executive Committee of the New Hampshire Republican Party. He interned for Governor Jon Huntsman’s 2012 presidential campaign and has volunteered for numerous candidates, including Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and former Representative Charlie Bass (R-NH). Jake has been featured in various publications, including Yahoo! News, The Wall Street Journal, and FOX News Channel.
David Welch began his political career with Senator John McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign and then joined the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s (NRSC) Research Department for the 2002 and 2004 election cycles. In the 2006 election cycle, David served as political director for a U.S. Senate campaign, where he was responsible for coalitions outreach and development; debate prep and policy briefings; and development of campaign ads, mail pieces, and messaging. David later joined John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign as the New Hampshire Veterans Director and then as the Deputy Research Director. In the 2010 election cycle, David took the helm of the Republican National Committee’s Research Director. A New Hampshire native, David proudly served eight years in the United States Navy. He lives in Virginia with his wife and son.