February 2, 2023

Ricketts Announces Chief of Staff, Senior Leadership Team

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) announced Matt Miltenberger as Chief of Staff, Alyssa Burleson as Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration, Joanna Rodriguez as Communications Director, Paul Guaglianone as Legislative Director, Ame McGraw as Director of Scheduling, Shelly Blake as Senior Director of State Transition, and Cassie Nichols as Director of Western Nebraska Constituent Services.

“I knew it would be essential to build a team of dedicated public servants to help me continue serving the people of Nebraska in the U.S. Senate,” said Senator Ricketts.  “I’m grateful for their willingness to offer their varying skills, wisdom, and experience to support me as I represent Nebraskans to the best of my ability. I am also especially appreciative that Matt Miltenberger, who previously served in my governor’s office, will continue his service in the U.S. Senate.”

Matt Miltenberger, who will serve as Chief of Staff in the Senate office, previously served the past eight years as Chief of Staff for then-Governor Ricketts where he managed day-to-day operations of the governor’s office, provided counsel to the governor, and oversaw the execution of the governor’s initiatives throughout state government. Prior to serving in the governor’s office, Miltenberger was campaign manager for Pete Ricketts’ successful campaign for governor and subsequently managed the Governor’s transition efforts. Miltenberger received his J.D. and M.B.A. from the University of Nebraska, as well as his undergraduate degree in Business Administration. Miltenberger has worked for the Nebraska Ethanol Board, served as executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party, and was director of Government Relations for Las Vegas Sands Corporation prior to returning to Nebraska to manage the Ricketts for Governor campaign.

Alyssa Burleson, who will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration, has over nine years of experience in the U.S. Senate, including time in the office of former Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) where she most recently helped establish Lummis’ freshman office. Burleson received her B.A. from Evangel University and M.P.A. from The George Washington University.

Joanna Rodriguez, who will serve as Communications Director, has over 11 years in political communications, including positions in the press office of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Rodriguez was most recently the Deputy Communications Director at the Republican Governors Association while then-Governor Ricketts served as co-chairman. She received her undergraduate degree in political communications and master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University.

Paul Guaglianone, who will serve as Legislative Director, has over 10 years of experience in Congress, including time in the offices of Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI-1), and the House Committee on Ways and Means. He is earning his M.B.A from the Wharton Business School and received his undergraduate degree from The George Washington University.

Ame McGraw, who will serve as Director of Scheduling, previously served as Assistant to the Chief of Staff and Deputy Scheduler in the office of U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL). McGraw received her B.A. from Auburn University.

Shelly Blake, who will serve as Senior Director of State Transition, most recently served eight years as Deputy Chief of Staff for Sasse where she managed the day-to-day operations of the offices throughout Nebraska and spearheaded a number of projects. Before serving in the Senate, Blake worked in the U.S. House of Representatives in both Nebraska’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts. A Lincoln resident, Blake received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a master’s from the Air Command and Staff College at the USAF’s Air University.

 Cassie Nichols, who will serve as Director of Western Nebraska Constituent Services, has spent over 13 years serving Nebraska in the office of Sasse and former U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE). She will be focused on helping Nebraskans with federal agency casework and outreach across western Nebraska.