WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), announced the following staff hires for the committee’s minority side for the 117th Congress.
Richard M. Russell will serve as ENR staff director. Russell was staff director for Chairman Barrasso at the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. He previously served as Republican staff director for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. He also served President George W. Bush in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Economic Council, and as a U.S. Ambassador.
Brian Clifford will serve as the committee’s principal deputy staff director. Clifford was deputy staff director at EPW for Chairman Barrasso. Before 2017, he was a senior advisor to Barrasso. He also held several Republican EPW subcommittee staff director roles for Barrasso. Clifford was formerly the legislative director for then-Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and also worked for former Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA).
Justin Memmott will serve as deputy staff director for energy for the committee. He served as senior counsel to Chairman Barrasso at EPW. Memmott served as Barrasso’s energy policy advisor between 2011 and 2016. Previously, he served as counsel to Barrasso on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and was responsible for energy and environment issues related to Indian lands. Justin began his career on Capitol Hill with Senator Barrasso in 2007.
John Tanner will be the deputy staff director for lands. Tanner comes to the committee from the Department of the Interior where his most recent role was principal deputy assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. At Interior, he also served as senior advisor to the secretary of the Interior and director of the office of congressional and legislative affairs. Earlier, he worked as legislative director and policy advisor for Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and in the district office of Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT).
Matt Leggett will serve as chief counsel for the ENR committee. Leggett held the same position at EPW for Chairman Barrasso. 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 communications director. He held the same position at EPW for Chairman Barrasso. Before EPW, Danylak served as the press secretary for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. His prior experience also includes serving as press secretary for the American Action Forum.
Patrick McCormick will continue as special counsel, the same position he held for Chairman Murkowski (R-AK). McCormick returned to the committee staff in 2020. He first joined the staff in 2011, and served as chief counsel from 2015 until returning to the private sector in 2018. He provides counsel and advocacy on matters within the committee’s jurisdiction especially as they bear on the nation’s energy supply and delivery infrastructure.
Stephen Eule will serve as senior professional staff for the committee. He will be responsible for climate, energy security, and energy research and development. His previous experience includes working for the House Science Committee and the Department of Energy (DOE) under President George W. Bush. He comes to the committee from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, where he was vice president.
James Willson will serve as counsel for the committee. He will be responsible for national parks and public lands. Willson served as counsel at EPW for Chairman Barrasso. Previously, he was a legislative assistant for EPW. Willson is a native of Cody, Wyoming.
Kate Farr will serve as counsel for the committee. She will be responsible for oil, gas, and coal. Farr joins the committee from Barrasso’s personal office where she served as energy counsel. Prior to this, she served as counsel on the House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy and Minerals Subcommittee.
Jake McCurdy will serve as professional staff for the committee. He will be responsible for electricity, renewables, efficiency, and cybersecurity. McCurdy served as chief of staff for DOE’s office of electricity and as a senior advisor in DOE’s office of congressional affairs prior to joining the committee.
Avery Douglas will serve as junior counsel for the committee. She served as a law clerk and legislative assistant at EPW for Chairman Barrasso. Previously, she was a law clerk for the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Sarah Durdaller will serve as the committee’s press secretary. She held the same position at EPW for Chairman Barrasso. Previously, Durdaller worked in Barrasso’s personal office.
Derek Fisher will serve as legislative assistant for the committee. Fisher joins the committee from Barrasso’s personal office.
Craig Thomas will serve as legislative assistant for the committee. He will assist on public lands issues. Thomas was a legislative assistant at EPW for Chairman Barrasso. He is a native of Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Leah Schaefer will serve as research assistant for the committee. Schaefer served as director of operations at EPW for Chairman Barrasso.
David Gardner will serve as research assistant for the committee. Gardner served as staff assistant for Chairman Barrasso at EPW.