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House Chiefs of Staff Association Elects New Leadership

January 27, 2022 by Dan McCue
House Chiefs of Staff Association Elects New Leadership
U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The bipartisan association that represents chiefs of staff and staff directors to members of the U.S. House of Representatives has elected a new leadership team for the 117th Congress.

For the first time, a pair of bipartisan co-chairs will lead the association, replacing an independently elected president and vice president.

The individuals recently elected to the House Chiefs of Staff Association’s board of directors include:

  • Co-Chairs: Mitchell Rivard, chief to Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., and Jonathan Day, chief to Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.;
  • Vice Chair for Professional Development: Ven Neralla, chief to Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich.;
  • Vice Chair for Social Programs: Nancy Peele, chief to Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo.;
  • Treasurer: Mark Dreiling, chief to Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.;
  • Secretary: Brad Howard, chief to Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.;
  • Majority (Democrat) Committee Staff Director: Hope Goins, staff director to the House Homeland Security Committee’s Democratic members;
  • Minority (Republican) Committee Staff Director: Chris Vieson staff director to the Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee;
  • Majority (Democrat) Freshman Representative: Melanee Farrah, chief to Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Ga.; and
  • Minority (Republican) Freshman Representative: John Byers, chief of Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas.

“We are proud to serve as the bipartisan co-chairs for the newly reorganized House Chiefs of Staff Association, bringing together Democratic and Republican chiefs of staff and staff directors to better serve our bosses and the American people,” said co-chairs Rivard and Day in their first joint statement. 


“From encouraging bipartisan discussions to offering professional development opportunities, we are working together to make the House of Representatives more effective and more efficient. It’s a new era for the association, and we encourage any chief of staff or staff director to join us and be a part of this exciting new chapter.”

The House Chiefs of Staff Association is open to every chief of staff and staff director in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Founded in 1973, the House Chiefs of Staff Association — formerly known as the Administrative Assistants Association — exists to help current chiefs of staff and staff directors in the U.S. House of Representatives foster bipartisan relationships with their congressional colleagues and strengthen the institution of Congress.

Today’s House Chiefs of Staff Association was preceded by two older congressional staff organizations for top aides to members of Congress: the Little Congress and the Congressional Secretaries Club.


In 1919, the Little Congress — a group mainly composed of secretaries and clerks for Representatives and Senators — met for the first time. 

Created to provide a forum for public-speaking experience and increased knowledge of parliamentary procedures for congressional staff, the Little Congress modeled itself after the House of Representatives. According to the Office of the Historian, “the most well-known member of the Little Congress, future representative and President Lyndon Johnson, served as speaker of the organization in 1933.”

In 1935, the Congressional Secretaries Club (later renamed the Congressional Staff Club) was founded in part as a rival organization to the Little Congress.

According to the Committee on Rules, “until the end of the Second World War, congressional personnel and committee staff were quite small.

“For most of the 19th century, the Congress was a part-time institution providing no personal staff to its members, and few if any staff to its committees. The majority of the congressional staff provided legislative and administrative services to the House and Senate as a whole. 

“The Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate were the principal employing authorities in the two Chambers. During its consideration of the reorganization bill in 1946, the Senate agreed to a provision creating the post of administrative assistant in the office of each senator and representative. 

“The administrative assistant was to take over many of the routine management responsibilities in a congressional office, thereby freeing the member for more substantive legislative and representational duties.”


Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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