AUSTIN—State Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) announced Tuesday the finalized list of his Capitol staff members going into the 85th legislative session. Anna Barnett, Matt Cope, Mic Davis, John Ryan Issacson, Megan Lehmann, Liz Sanchez, Jarred Shaffer and Ben Stratmann will represent the senator in the Austin office.
“As I always do before a legislative session, I am again excited to officially introduce my Capitol staff,” said Sen. Birdwell. “This session will be a rigorous one, so I am pleased to have such a talented team to help me serve the citizens of Senate District 22.”
Legislative Director Anna Barnett began as a campaign aide to Sen. Birdwell in early 2010. Before being promoted to spearhead Birdwell’s legislative efforts in 2012, Anna served as Senior Policy Analyst. In addition to overseeing Senator Birdwell’s policy team and legislative priorities this session, she staffs the Subcommittee on Border Security, which Birdwell chairs.
Senior Policy Analyst Matt Cope served as a Policy Analyst for Birdwell during the 83rd legislative session and as Senior Policy Analyst during the 84th Legislative session, a role he will again hold in the upcoming session. After taking a temporary leave to serve with the U.S. Forest Service fighting wildfires, Matt has returned and will focus on public education, higher education, natural resources and economic development.
Policy Analyst Mic Davis transferred to the Capitol office in November after aiding in the 2016 re-election campaign of Senator Birdwell throughout Senate District 22. Prior to that role, Mic worked on other Texas campaigns and served as a Senate Messenger. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina.
Policy Analyst Jarred Shaffer joined the Birdwell staff from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Previously, Jarred served in the offices of State Representative Ron Simmons and the House Committee on Investments and Financial Services, chaired by State Representative Tan Parker. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.
Office Manager and Scheduler Liz Sanchez is a native of San Antonio and a graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word. Liz served previously as a Senate Messenger and State Preservation Board Capitol Guide, and has played an invaluable role in all scheduling management, staff affairs and office operations since 2012.
Constituent Correspondence Manager Megan Lehmann joined the staff in 2014 after graduating from Harding University and working for State Senator Ken Paxton. Megan leads all constituent outreach and communications in the office, ensuring that Senator Birdwell is able to hear from and connect to the citizens of Senate District 22.
Also joining the staff through the Bob Bullock Scholars Program is John Ryan Isaacson, a Baylor University junior majoring in International Relations and minoring in German.
Senator Birdwell is also assisted by two veteran District Managers, both of whom joined the staff in early 2012 to manage constituent casework and serve as local liaisons on his behalf. Shelly Verlander (Waco) is a certified paralegal and has worked with major companies such as Motorola USA and Broadwing Communications. Taylor Blackburn (Granbury) worked in management of a private contracting business and is a graduate of the Travis Academy of Fine Arts in Fort Worth.
The staff will be managed by Ben Stratmann, who has worked with Senator Birdwell since January 2011 and served as Chief of Staff since May 2012.
The 85th legislative session begins Tuesday, January 10, 2017.