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Gov. Phil Murphy Announces DGA’s New Senior Staff

From the Chair’s Desk

The Democratic Governors Association is announcing numerous new senior staff hires for the 2023-2024 and 2025-2026 election cycles.

“After the DGA’s history-defying cycle in 2022, more than 57% of Americans live in a state with a Democratic governor and now is the time to keep our foot on the gas,” said DGA Chair Gov. Phil Murphy. “This senior team has the strategic and on-the-ground experience to keep winning tough races, grow the DGA’s record-breaking fundraising and provide even more support to our Democratic governors over the next four years. I’m especially excited because the work of Democratic governors has never been more important as we’re delivering real results for working families, protecting fundamental freedoms and defending our democracy.”

In December 2022, Gov. Murphy announced that Meghan Meehan-Draper will serve as the DGA’s Executive Director. The rest of the DGA’s new senior team announced today includes:

Jordanna Zeigler, Political Director

Chris Sloan, Political Director

Ofirah Yheskel, External Affairs Director

Marcus Rochelle, National Finance Director

Andrew Whalen, Independent Expenditure Director

Helen Smith, Research Director

Stephen Hill, Chief Financial Officer

Jillian Edelman, Chief Operating Officer

Audrey Schlette, Chief of Staff

Laura Carlson, Chief Digital Officer

Sam Newton, Communications Director

Jordanna “Jordy” Zeigler, Political Director: Jordy Zeigler was previously the DGA’s Senior Campaigns Advisor serving as the organization’s lead political and strategic contact for winning campaigns in 2022, including in Kansas, Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, and Hawaii. Prior to joining the DGA, Jordy managed Governor Laura Kelly’s historic 2018 win in Kansas and Theresa Greenfield’s record-breaking campaign for U.S. Senate in Iowa in 2020. Jordy has worked on campaigns of all levels all over the country for over fifteen years, including at EMILY’s List and the DCCC. A proud NJ native, she now lives in Brooklyn with her partner Brian.

Chris Sloan, Political Director: Chris Sloan was previously the DGA’s Senior Campaigns Advisor serving as the organization’s lead political and strategic contact for winning campaigns in 2022, including in Wisconsin, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. Prior to the 2022 cycle, Chris managed Nicole Galloway’s campaign in Missouri in 2020 and Governor Sisolak’s election in 2018, returning a Democrat to Carson City for the first time in over 20 years. Previously, he was the Political Director for the IUPAT. Chris lives in DC with his wife Suzannah and their two dogs.

Ofirah Yheskel, External Affairs Director: Ofirah Yheskel most recently served as the Democratic National Committee’s Deputy Communications Director. She has worked across presidential and statewide races, acting as a spokesperson for the 2020 DNC War Room, as Director of Media Relations for the successful 2020 Democratic National Convention, and as Deputy Communications director for Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign. Prior to that, she was a Senior Advisor to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and the Wisconsin Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She is a proud Texan and graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

Marcus Rochelle, National Finance Director: Marcus Rochelle has been with the DGA since 2019, serving as the committee’s Deputy National Finance Director and Director of Corporate Relations. Beforehand, Marcus spent five years in various fundraising roles at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and worked on other Democratic campaigns including for Governor Terry McAuliffe in 2013. Marcus is a proud Nashville native and graduate of Sewanee-University of the South.

Andrew Whalen, Independent Expenditure Director: Andrew Whalen led the DGA’s IE effort to re-elect Governor Phil Murphy in 2021 and during the historic 2022 election cycle, where he directed more than $73 million in spending. Prior to joining DGA, Andrew was the Senior Director for State and Local Campaigns at EMILY’s List. Previously, he managed gubernatorial races in Missouri in 2016 and South Carolina in 2014, served as the national political director for the Blue Dogs, Executive Director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, and managed multiple House and legislative races across the country.

Helen Smith, Research Director: Helen Smith will serve as the DGA’s Research Director for the upcoming cycle. She brings ten years of experience working in investigative research on statewide campaigns to the DGA, most recently as a Senior Advisor for Research at the DSCC. She is a proud alumna of Senator Mark Kelly’s campaign in 2020, Senator Jacky Rosen’s campaign in 2018, and the Blue Leadership Collaborative training program. Helen began her career in politics as a research intern on Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 race for governor of Virginia. She will forever consider herself a campaign kid and has lived and worked in six different states, primarily in the Mountain West.

Stephen Hill, Chief Financial Officer: Stephen Hill oversees the DGA’s 50-state compliance and spending strategy while collaborating with numerous stakeholders to help the organization achieve record-breaking fundraising and political successes. Throughout Stephen’s eight year tenure at the DGA, he has overseen more than $600 million in political and operational spending to support the organization’s mission. Before joining DGA in 2015, Stephen partnered with dozens of campaigns, non-profit organizations, progressive businesses, and political action committees as a voter contact and operations consultant to elect Democrats to office around the country.

Jillian Edelman, Chief Operating Officer: Jillian Edelman returns for a second cycle in her role as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to the DGA, she spent five cycles at the DCCC, where she served as Finance Operations Director, Chief Administrative Officer, and most recently as COO. She is a California native, CSU alumna, and a new mom to a beautiful six-month-old baby boy.

Audrey Schlette, Chief of Staff: For the last four election cycles, Audrey Schlette has been a core member of the DGA’s team, starting as Compliance Director and also serving as Executive Office Manager. Prior to the DGA, Audrey worked at Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Audrey lives in DC with her husband and adorable one-year-old son.

Laura Carlson, Chief Digital Officer: Laura Carlson has revolutionized digital fundraising for Democratic governors since taking the reins as Digital Director in 2019, increasing grassroots revenue by 380% cycle to cycle, and leads their best-in-class content and creative team. Previously, she served as Digital Director on now-Senator Jacky Rosen’s winning 2018 campaign and for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Laura is a native Hoosier and Indiana University graduate who got her start in politics with Students for Barack Obama, helping to flip Indiana blue in 2008.

Sam Newton, Communications Director: As the DGA’s Deputy Communications Director last cycle, Sam Newton was the committee’s top communications strategist for key victories in Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Maryland, among others. Previously, he spent the entire Trump administration working in battleground roles in states Republicans won in 2016, including as communications director for Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s election in 2019, a spokesperson for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s election in 2018, and Communications Director for Theresa Greenfield’s U.S. Senate race in Iowa in 2020. Sam is from West Hartford, Connecticut and a graduate of George Washington University.