Meet The Team
Chief Executive Officer
Mike Needham is the Chief Executive Officer for Heritage Action for America. He is responsible for setting the strategy and vision of Heritage Action, ensuring it advances the mission of The Heritage Foundation while building it into a permanent presence in Washington. He also oversees all policy decisions that hold Members of Congress accountable. He appears regularly on television, including Fox News, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and CBS. Prior to his role at Heritage Action, Mike served in four different roles at The Heritage Foundation, including Chief of Staff, advisor to the President, and a director in The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.
Chief Operating Officer
Tim Chapman is the Chief Operating Officer of Heritage Action for America. He oversees the day-to-day operations while working closely with our sister organization, The Heritage Foundation, to ensure both organizations work towards common goals.Prior to his role at Heritage Action, Tim previously served as Chief of Staff to Heritage Foundation President Ed J. Feulner, Ph.D. In this position, Tim advised Dr. Feulner on public policy matters and activities of the conservative movement. He also managed Dr. Feulner’s office staff and Heritage’s day-to-day operations.
Jessica Anderson is the Grassroots Director for Heritage Action for America. As Grassroots Director she oversees Heritage Action’s Sentinel Program and the team of Regional Coordinators throughout the country. Today, you can find her identifying, equipping and training activists to take timely action for the conservative movement. Prior to her work at Heritage Action, Jessica was the Outreach Coordinator for the John W. Pope Civitas Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina and worked for a Florida House member. She is a graduate of the Koch Associates Program and received her B.A. from the University of Florida as a Summa Cum Laude.
James Braid is a Legislative Assistant for Heritage Action. He helps articulate and advocate for Heritage Action’s strategy on Capitol Hill. His focus is on foreign policy, agriculture, veteran’s affairs, and the federal workforce. James was part of the Young Leaders Program. From Raleigh, North Carolina, James graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Political Science.
As Digital Director, Sondra is responsible for creating opportunities for conservatives to engage and support the work of Heritage Action. Before joining Heritage Action, Sondra worked at Nestle, The Heritage Foundation, and was the Director of Email Marketing at the Republican National Committee during the 2014 midterm cycle. Sondra is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University and is a Masters candidate at Georgetown University.
Before joining Heritage Action, Hugh worked as an NRA Field Representative in Wisconsin campaigning for various federal candidates. Hugh has over three years of campaign experience and has worked on Congressional races in California and Wisconsin as well as on Bob McDonnell’s successful gubernatorial campaign in Virginia. Originally from Northern California, Hugh attended George Mason University for his Bachelor of the Arts. While working at Heritage Action, he earned a Masters Degree in Public Policy from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy.
Dan Holler is the Communications Director for Heritage Action for America. He is responsible for Heritage Action’s media outreach, pushing for conservative policies and providing conservative insights on upcoming votes. Prior to his work with Heritage Action, Dan was the deputy director of Senate Relations for The Heritage Foundation, where he was responsible for educating Senators and their staffs about think tank’s latest research and policy recommendations.
Tyler Jacobs is the Digital Associate for Heritage Action. As part of the digital team Tyler is responsible for supporting Heritage Action’s online engagement efforts. Prior to joining Heritage Action, Tyler served as a Research Analyst for Berkowitz Public Affairs. Tyler has previously interned at American Enterprise Institute, The Republican National Committee, and on Capitol Hill. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Tyler holds a dual degree in Political Science and International Studies from American University.
Before joining, Matt completed a double major in political science and finance at Washington university in St. Louis. While studying, Matt was the President of the WashU College Republicans, where he publicly debated members of the College Democrats and organized events to advance the conservative movement. Matt also interned in the strategic communications department at the Heritage Foundation and for Senator Mike Lee in Washington, D.C.
Government Relations Assistant
As the Government Relations Assistant, Amanda assists with administrative duties of the office and research for the Government Relations team. Amanda was a part of The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Prior to her work at Heritage Action, Amanda was an intern for the Republican Governors Association and Americans for Prosperity. A native of Florida, she is currently finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree at The George Washington University.
Vice President of Grassroots Outreach
Russ Vought is the Vice President of Grassroots Outreach for Heritage Action for America. He provides Heritage Action with key strategic advice on all political and policy issues of concern. He also manages Heritage Action’s issue campaigns and grassroots department, working to identify and empower key activists in order to help them influence elected officials.Before coming to Heritage Action, Russ spent 12 years on Capitol Hill, in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, specializing in efforts to control spending and limit the federal government. Most recently, he was the Policy Director for the House Republican Conference, chaired by Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN).
James manages Heritage Action’s websites, databases, and political intelligence software. Prior to joining Heritage Action, James worked for Strategic Media Services as a Political Research Analyst. He has also managed and consulted for various campaigns around the country and spent some time working on Capitol Hill. James grew up in Frederick, Maryland and earned a degree in History from George Mason University in 2009. He still fondly remembers the Patriots amazing Final Four run in 2006 where he camped out overnight for tickets and was interviewed on SportsCenter.
Jason Yaworske is a Legislative Strategist for Heritage Action for America. Jason manages a portfolio that includes health care, budget, and judiciary issues. He works with the Heritage Foundation and with people on and off Capitol Hill to develop a conservative agenda within his issue portfolio, and to provide conservative analysis and recommendations for policies being generated in Congress. Before coming to Heritage Action in 2013, Jason worked in Congress as a legislative director in the House of Representatives. Jason graduated from James Madison University with a B.B.A. in Business Marketing and a minor in History. He was born, raised, and currently resides in Northern Virginia.
Technology & Advertising Director
Nathanael runs Heritage Action’s technology infrastructure development and major advertising campaigns. He’s held a variety of roles in five years at Heritage Action, including Digital Director–during which he built the email list from zero to 500,000 subscribers. He’s a Maine native, and a graduate of Patrick Henry College and the Acton School of Business.
Western Regional Coordinator
Interested in politics since she was eligible to vote, Rebekah Brown has spent time working with Colorado Legislators at the Capitol in Denver. She has been involved with various grassroots campaigns, advocating conservative principles and encouraging citizens to engage in politics and public policy. She will be a 2014 graduate of Colorado Christian University with a double-major in Political Science and History.
Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator
Melody Himel Clarke was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. Melody is a life-long entrepreneur having founded and operated businesses in the hospitality, realty, and communications industries. She was the first woman to run for the 100th Legislative District in Virginia and has worked on numerous state and federal campaigns. She is an avid equestrian and also hosts a conservative talk-radio show.
Ben Evans has been working with grassroots conservatives since he graduated from law school in 2009. The vibrant tea party community in St. Louis provided many opportunities to become active in the political arena. Ben started with promoting the Missouri Health Care Freedom Act (Prop C) through new media and then managed the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition’s election HQ in 2010. He continued serving on the executive board of the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition while actively promoting conservative ideals to the Missouri Legislature in 2011. He wrote for 24thstate.com, worked a few political campaigns, and then joined Heritage Action. Ben strives to see the tea party movement grow and thrive. Ben graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia (Mizzou) in 2005 with a double major in political science & history, and he graduated from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida in 2009.
Northeast Regional Coordinator
Before coming to Heritage Action, David Haas was the Pennsylvania State Chairman of Young Americans for Liberty, where he worked with students and non-profits to expand YAL’s presence on campus. David began his career in politics serving as the Republican Party Committee Chairman of his hometown of Blakely, Pennsylvania. A graduate of the Leadership Institute, David has worked on a number of campaigns, including Sam Rohrer’s 2012 Senate campaign. Interning for the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, David gained valuable experience in the public policy making process, working on numerous projects of the Institute.
Karen Jaroch is a University of South Florida graduate and licensed professional engineer from Tampa, FL. After working several years in manufacturing, Karen changed professions and followed her passion into politics. In 2009 she co-founded a vibrant, active tea party and then co-led a successful campaign that defeated a local sales tax increase for light rail despite overwhelming odds. Her efforts led to her board appointment to the local transit agency HART. During the 2012 election cycle she served as a field coordinator in the Tampa area building grassroots relations with conservative organizations while managing a top-producing volunteer phonebank and canvassing center.
Midwest Regional Coordinator
Stephanie Kreuz has been involved in public policy and political campaigns since 2005. Prior to joining the Heritage Action team she worked in the legal field, and wrote for WatchdogWire, a project of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. She also previously interned for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan in education policy. Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Hillsdale College in 2012, with a major in Politics and a minor in Latin.
Southwest Regional Coordinator
Trevor Laky became involved in politics when he attended the University of Arizona. During his time there he became the President of the College Republicans which gave him the opportunity to work with conservatives across the state. After college he worked on various campaigns before moving to DC. While there, he interned on The Hill for Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon before moving on to work as a Youth Coordinator for the Cuccinelli for Governor Campaign in Virginia. Trevor now serves as the Phoenix Regional Coordinator for Heritage Action for America.
South Central Regional Coordinator
Wade Miller served in the United States Marine Corps and is an infantry combat veteran with multiple deployments including Iraq and the Horn of Africa. After completing his military service, Wade enrolled at The University of Texas at Dallas and majored in Political Science. While attending university, Wade served as a Bill Archer Fellow and as an intern for the President of The Heritage Foundation, Dr. Edwin J. Feulner. After completing his Heritage Foundation internship, Wade went on to the American Enterprise Institute Summer Institute.
Upper Midwest Regional Coordinator
Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Alexa is a graduate of Baylor University. After earning her degree in International Studies, she became an intern for Congressman Dave Brat during his campaign in Virginia. Prior to joining Heritage Action, Alexa was also a part of the Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Having been raised by Minnesotan parents, Alexa has called the Midwest her second home, and now serves as the Regional Coordinator for the Upper Midwest.
Upper Northeast Regional Coordinator
Betsy Nelsen was born and raised in the Western Philadelphia suburbs. She earned a degree in Political Science at Dickinson College and spent two summers abroad at the University of Oslo studying government. Before joining Heritage Action, Betsy worked as Executive Director for the Cumberland County Republican Party and has experience working on other campaigns throughout PA and NJ.
Southeastern Regional Coordinator
James Quarles was born and raised in upstate South Carolina. He earned a degree in Political Science from Clemson University, where as a member of College Republicans, he worked with conservatives on campus and volunteered on several campaigns around the state. Before joining Heritage Action, he interned in the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, with a focus on regulation and free market issues. James now serves as the Southeastern Regional Coordinator.
Gulf Regional Coordinator
Kyle Smith has been a professional political activist and writer since graduating from Hillsdale College in 2012. He worked for the National Right to Work Committee, National Association for Gun Rights, and Lucy Burns Institute before joining Heritage Action for America. He is from Grand Rapids, Michigan originally but now lives in Houston, Texas.