Arkansas Gov.-elect Sarah Sanders announced several staff hires on Tuesday (Nov. 29). They include:
Deputy Chief of Staff Judd Deere, who joined her campaign this summer as communications director and has continued in that same capacity in the Governor-elect’s transition office. He is a former White House Deputy Press Secretary for President Donald Trump and brings more than a decade of political communications experience at both the national and state levels.
Before returning to Arkansas, Deere served as deputy chief of staff for communications to U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn. He has also worked for U.S. Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, as well as Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the Tim Griffin for Arkansas campaign in 2014. Deere is a Benton native and graduate of Lyon College.
Deputy Chief of Staff Kelly Eichler, who served as policy director for Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and as criminal justice advisor for then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. She was appointed by Gov. Huckabee to serve a 7-year term on the state Board of Corrections. Prior to government service, she clerked at the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was a Pulaski County Prosecutor, and was in private practice for Rice, Adams and Pace. Eichler is a University of Arkansas Trustee, appointed by Gov. Hutchinson. She is a University of Arkansas and William H. Bowen School of Law graduate.
Chief Legal Counsel Andrew “Vu” Ritchie, who is working as deputy director of the transition and previously served as general counsel to the Sarah for Governor campaign, brings years of legal, legislative, and political experience at the national and state levels. Ritchie is a Little Rock native and graduate of the University of Arkansas Walton School of Business, and he received his Juris Doctorate from the William H. Bowen School of Law.
Before joining the campaign, he worked for U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., as the senior advisor for Domestic Policy. During his time in Washington, D.C., he also worked in the Trump Administration at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid as senior advisor in the Office of Administrator Seema Verma. Before moving to Washington D.C., Ritchie served as legal counsel and senior advisor to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Director of Public Affairs Jordan Powell, who served as deputy campaign manager for the Sarah for Governor campaign and is working as external affairs director in the transition, is a campaign strategist who has served as a consultant, communications advisor, ad maker, and digital expert for gubernatorial, congressional, state house, and issue campaigns across the country. He has also served as a press secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. In 2016, Powell served as deputy campaign manager for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign.
These staff announcements come on the heels of Sanders’ news last week that she has hired Gretchen Conger as her chief of staff.