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Ron DeSantis announces staff for 2019 Inauguration

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis on Friday announced key staff leadership for the 2019 Inauguration to “support the recently announced Inaugural Committee as they prepare for inaugural events,” a press release said. 

“I am proud of the incredible team we have assembled to spearhead the 2019 Inauguration,” DeSantis said in a statement.

“The 2019 Inauguration is a historic opportunity for our state to come together as we build on Florida’s success,” he added. “With varied backgrounds and skill sets, these talented individuals will work with the 2019 Inaugural Committee as they organize inclusive inaugural events to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of our great state.”

From the press release:

Executive Director, Justin Caporale

Caporale is an experienced advance and operations professional with an extensive background in developing the strategy and overseeing the management of political events and advocacy campaigns. Justin worked as a senior Advance and Operations lead throughout the 2016 Donald J. Trump for President campaign before serving in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President and the Director of Operations for the East Wing. Justin previously served as the Director of Operations and Chief of Staff for Concerned Veterans for America and most recently worked as Director of Advance for the Ron DeSantis for Governor campaign.

Deputy Executive Director, Jaclyn Schwinghamer

Schwinghamer, a Florida native, will be joining the team to lend her skills as an operational specialist. Jaclyn most recently served as Director of Operations for a D.C. political consulting firm where she has done numerous events for high ranking political officials.  Prior to that role she is a Capitol Hill alum where she was the Director of Operations and Scheduling for Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins of Kansas and Congressman Richard Hanna of New York.

Director of Operations, Jordan Wiggins

Wiggins is a veteran political strategist with over 10 years of political experience in local, statewide, and national campaigns. Jordan most recently served as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Ron DeSantis for Governor campaign. Prior to the successful Florida 2018 gubernatorial race, Jordan was the Field Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Iowa Field Director for the Marco Rubio for President campaign. Jordan also served as the Campaign Manager for several statewide races in South Carolina and Virginia and as the Political Coordinator for American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS in Washington, D.C.

Chief of Staff, Nicole Rees

Nicole Rees is a marketing and public relations professional with extensive experience in the public and private sectors. Nicole most recently served on the Ron DeSantis for Governor campaign and prior to that was a Senior PR Account Executive at Visit Florida. She previously worked as Senior Account Manager at Geiger & Associates Public Relations, where she was responsible for tourism marketing programs, destination awareness, media events and logistical sponsorships. Nicole has also worked in board relations at Volunteer Florida and within Gov. Rick Scott’s Executive Office.


Senior Finance Consultants: Rick Porter, Gretchen Picotte and Ivey Rooney, Political Capital
Porter and Picotte along with Rooney will serve as the lead fundraising consulting team for the Inaugural Committee.  Rick served as the lead finance consultant on DeSantis for Governor where he led a team that raised over $53 million in the General Election. Coming off the success of the campaign, he will continue to lead the day-to-day operations of the finance team.  Gretchen and Ivey will continue in their position, working daily with the Inaugural Finance Committee and Committee Members.  Both Rick and Gretchen have led finance activities for top state and national figures including Donald Trump, the Republican Party of Florida, RNC, NRCC, Speaker John Boehner, Speaker Paul Ryan, Rudy Giuliani and many others over the past decade. Ivey brings her experience as Finance Director of the Republican Party of Florida having produced successful fundraising events over the past four years including the 2016 RNC Convention in Cleveland. Political Capital’s experience also includes Rick Scott’s 2010 Gubernatorial race and 2011 Inauguration.

Finance Director, Heather Barker

Barker is one of Florida’s leading political finance professionals. One of the first to join Team DeSantis in 2017 as Finance Director, Heather Barker raised millions nationwide in the 2018 primary and general elections and coordinated many events with national dignitaries including President Trump. Heather previously worked at the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (FRSCC) and served as director of candidate fundraising under President Joe Negron for the 2016 election cycle. After leaving FRSCC, she fundraised for President Negron and assisted with special projects in his last year as President. She also worked in the Senate Majority Office under Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto. Additionally, Heather has served as the finance director for the Republican Party of Florida in 2015, a fundraising consultant for Taylor Strategies, where she provided full service fundraising for individual candidates in the Florida House and Florida Senate and at Contribution Link where she provided detailed fundraising plans for candidates, committees and associations.

Communications and Public Outreach

Director of Communications, Meredith Beatrice

Beatrice is a veteran of political and government communications. She most recently served as Communications Director for the Republican Party of Florida where she focused on Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial race and supporting the Ron DeSantis for Governor campaign. Her previous roles include serving as the Director of External Affairs for the 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission and the Communications Director for the Florida Department of State. Prior to moving to Florida, Meredith served as a director at JDA Frontline, a public affairs firm located in Washington, D.C.

Director of Public Liaison and Outreach, Tara Reid

Reid is an experienced government affairs consultant and political campaign advisor. Tara most recently served as the Surrogates Director for the Republican Party of Florida where she focused on Florida Cabinet races and the Ron DeSantis for Governor Campaign. She is a Republican Party of Florida veteran having served in multiple roles including Special Assistant to the Chairman and on the Rick Scott for Florida gubernatorial campaign in 2014. She is a Principal at Strategos Group in Tallahassee where she focuses on state advocacy for K-20 education and juvenile justice clientele.

Senior Communications Advisors — Sarah Bascom, Lyndsey Brzozowski and Kristen Bridges of Bascom Communications & Consulting

Bascom, along with her senior consultants Brzozowski and Bridges, who served as communications advisors for the Ron DeSantis for Governor Campaign, will also assist the inaugural team. Along with Kelsey Swithers and Sarah Demont of Bascom Communications, their team will assist the communications team with media and event execution.  

Press Secretary, Katie Strickland

Strickland is a communications professional with both Florida-based political and government experience. Katie most recently served as Communications Director for Jimmy Patronis’ campaign for Chief Financial Officer and Communications Director at Ello Creative, a digital firm focused on political campaigns and issue-based advocacy organizations. Previously, Katie served as Deputy Communications Director at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Prior to joining the APD press office, she worked at the Florida House of Representatives.

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