WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), announced the following staff hires for the committee’s majority side for the 115th Congress.
Richard M. Russell will serve as staff director. He previously served as Republican staff director for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. He also served President George W. Bush as deputy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and staffed the National Economic Council. In 2007, Pres. Bush appointed him U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.-chartered World Radio Communication Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. He comes to the committee from the Stanton Park Group, LLC, where he was a partner.
Brian Clifford will serve as the committee’s deputy staff director. He has been the director of the Senate Western Caucus since 2009, and was a senior advisor to Barrasso for environment, water and infrastructure issues. He also held several Republican EPW subcommittee staff director roles for Barrasso. Clifford was formerly the legislative director for then-Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), and also worked for former Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.).
Susan Bodine returns to the staff as chief counsel, a position she held under former Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) during the 114th Congress. From 2009-2015, Bodine was a partner at Barnes and Thornburg, and during the last three years of the Bush administration, she was assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. Prior to that, Bodine was staff director of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Matt Leggett will serve as deputy chief counsel for the EPW committee. Previously, he served as policy counsel for the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee. Leggett has also served as legislative counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he worked on energy and commerce issues, as a legislative aide for the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, and for a senior U.S. senator. He also practiced corporate law in Washington, D.C.
Mike Danylak will serve as the committee’s press secretary and the primary media contact for the EPW committee. In the 114th Congress, Danylak served as the press secretary for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. His prior experience includes serving as press secretary for the American Action Forum.
Justin Memmott will serve as counsel for the committee. Memmott served as Barrasso’s energy policy advisor between 2011 and 2016. Previously, he served as counsel to on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and was responsible for energy and environment issues related to Indian lands. He began his career on Capitol Hill with Barrasso in 2007.
Annie Caputo returns to the committee as senior policy advisor for nuclear issues, where she served during the 114th Congress. Caputo is a nuclear engineer with 20 years of experience. She has served twice as professional staff at the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as at the EPW committee.
Mandy Gunasekara returns to the committee to serve as counsel. She previously served as counsel on the committee for the Clean Air Act and climate. Before that, Gunasekara was senior director for legislative affairs for the National Association of Chemical Distributors. Gunasekara also worked on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, and as senior legislative counsel in the House.
Andrew Harding returns as counsel at EPW, where he served Chairman Inhofe with a focus on the Water Resources Development Act. He previously was an attorney for Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease LLP, and director of government affairs for an energy startup company. Before that, he served as special assistant to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy.
John Glennon will serve as legislative assistant. Glennon, who was with the committee last Congress, focused on air, chemicals, and oversight. He previously worked as a policy associate at the Institute for Energy Research, a think-tank that promotes free-market energy policies.
Elizabeth “Lizzy” Olsen will serve as majority director of operations for the committee. Olsen served in the same role for former Chairman Inhofe. She is a graduate of the Oklahoma City University School of Law.
Carter Vella will serve as research assistant for the committee, a position he held last Congress under former Chairman Inhofe.
James Willson will serve as a research assistant for the committee. Willson comes to the committee from Barrasso’s personal office staff.