Skip to content

Ranking Member Boozman Announces Two New Staffers, Full Republican Staff Roster

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, announced two new hires that round out the committee’s Republican staff for the 118th Congress.

Trey Forsyth has joined the committee as professional staff and Kate Covington has moved over from Boozman’s Senate office to join the committee team as a legislative aide to fill the committee roster as the 2023 Farm Bill process gets underway.

“I am excited to welcome Trey and Kate to the committee. With their additions, we have a complete team of top-notch professionals ready and eager to work with their counterparts on the majority and in the House to draft a strong farmer-focused farm bill,” Boozman said.

The following list includes the titles, responsibilities and brief background of each staff member—including the two newest hires:

Nathan Anonick, Professional Staff
Already a member of Boozman’s Senate office team, Anonick joined the committee in 2022 to manage a portfolio that includes cryptocurrencies, futures markets and derivatives. He continues to provide counsel to Boozman on financial services and banking issues as well. Prior to his Hill career, Anonick worked at Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as a resolution policy specialist.

Jackie Barber, Chief Counsel
Barber serves as lead counsel on commodities, climate change, conservation, crop insurance, foreign ownership and trade. She joined the committee at the start of 2023, bringing with extensive committee experience in both chambers, having served as chief counsel and deputy staff director for the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and chief counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, where she worked on the 2018 farm bill.

Kate Covington, Legislative Aide
Covington assists with nutrition, dietary guidelines for Americans, international hunger, food aid, trade, specialty crops, organics and research issues, as well as administrative operations. She was previously the correspondence manager in Boozman’s Senate office, where she was also handling the agriculture mail.

Patrick Creamer, Communications Director
A long-time aide to Boozman, Creamer joined the committee in 2021. He has helped oversee Boozman’s communications operations for 18 years, having served in Boozman’s Senate office, his 2010 campaign and as his first press secretary and communications director in the House.

Fitzhugh Elder, Staff Director
Elder joined the committee as staff director in 2021, having previously held the same position at the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, as well as for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. He has close to two decades of Senate service, including eight years with Senate agriculture appropriations subcommittee, as deputy Republican clerk and Republican clerk.

Carley Esser, Professional Staff
Esser manages portfolio that includes Title I commodity programs and crop insurance. Prior to joining the committee in 2021, Esser served as a senior legislative assistant in the office of U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) where she handled the agriculture committee portfolio in addition to trade, energy, environment, education, foreign aid, transportation and infrastructure.

Karen Fletcher, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Legal Detail
Fletcher serves as lead counsel on nutrition, dietary guidelines for Americans, international hunger, food aid, global food security, rural development, biofuels, broadband, credit, energy, and historically underserved farmers and ranchers. She was detailed to the committee in 2022 from USDA’s Office of the General Counsel where she has worked for over 20 years.

Trey Forsyth, Professional Staff
Forsyth handles the livestock, poultry, animal health and welfare, dairy, food safety and tax portfolios. He most recently served as senior manager for federal government and industry affairs at Land O’Lakes, Inc and previously worked at Torrey Advisory Group and served as policy advisor to former Chief Agriculture Negotiator Gregg Doud at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Coleman Garrison, Professional Staff
Garrison joined the committee in 2022 and manages the conservation and climate change portfolio. Prior to that, he oversaw government and public affairs for the Irrigation Association, served as the director of government affairs for the National Association of Conservation Districts and worked as a legislative staffer for U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and former members Sandy Adams (R-FL) and Randy Neugebauer (R-TX).

Dudley Hoskins, Professional Staff/Counsel
Hoskins joined the committee in 2021 and has both policy and legal responsibilities. His policy portfolio includes forestry, fertilizer, hemp and pesticides. He serves as lead counsel on agriculture security, animal health, biotechnology, livestock, poultry, dairy, food safety, organics, research and specialty crops. Prior to joining the committee, Hoskins served at USDA as chief of staff for the marketing and regulatory programs (MRP) before being promoted to senior advisor to then-Secretary Sonny Perdue on MRP, natural resources & environment issues.

Macie Kelly, Policy Analyst

Kelly was recently promoted to policy analyst position and handles a portfolio that includes agriculture appropriations, aquaculture, Arkansas agriculture, beginning farmers and ranchers, biofuels, broadband, ag education, commodities, credit, crop insurance, energy and rural development. She joined the committee in 2021, moving over from Boozman’s Senate office where she had served as a legislative correspondent. A native Arkansan, Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture communications from the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

Chelsie Keys, Policy Director
Keys, who oversees the policy team, began working for the committee in 2015. She was previously senior professional staff prior to taking on her current responsibilities. Before joining the committee, Keys worked as director of government affairs at the National Pork Producers Council.

Bryce McWilliams, Staff Assistant
McWilliams moved over to the committee staff from Boozman’s Senate office staff at the start of 2023. He grew up in Greenbrier, Arkansas and joined Boozman’s office last year after earning his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology, and Poultry Science from the University of Arkansas. Along with his administrative duties, McWilliams will assist the policy teams on animal health and welfare, fertilizer, forestry, hemp, livestock, poultry, dairy and food safety issues.

Dr. John Newton, Chief Economist
Newton joined the committee as chief economist in 2021. He worked previously for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), where he served as chief economist, a role which he assumed in 2018 after serving as director of market intelligence for two years. Before joining AFBF, he served as the chief economist for the National Milk Producers Federation. Newton holds a doctorate in agricultural economics and master’s degrees in macroeconomics and agricultural economics, all obtained at Ohio State University.

Andrew Rezendes, General Counsel
Rezendes joined the committee in 2015 and has served as general counsel since 2017. He serves as lead counsel on executive agency nominations, cryptocurrencies, futures markets and derivatives, forestry, hemp, oversight, fertilizer and pesticides. Prior to joining the committee, Rezendes served as counsel on the investigations team of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Eric Slee, Senior Professional Staff
Another recent addition to the team, Slee manages a portfolio that includes rural development, broadband, biofuels, credit, energy, historically underserved farmers and ranchers and transportation. Prior to joining the committee staff, Slee was the vice president of government affairs at WISP—Broadband Without Boundaries. He spent over five years in the office of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), beginning as a legislative assistant before serving as Robert’s last legislative director. 

Brooke Taylor, Legislative Assistant
Taylor joined the committee in 2021 and was recently promoted to legislative assistant responsible for helping the legal and policy staff with nominations and oversight and on issues related to the conservation, climate change, cryptocurrency, futures markets and derivatives portfolios. Taylor earned a bachelor of science at the University of Arkansas and a juris doctor at the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Katherine Thomas, Senior Professional Staff
Thomas returned to the committee in 2022 to manage a portfolio that includes nutrition, dietary guidelines for Americans, international hunger, food aid and global food security. She had a previous stint with the committee during Sen. Roberts’s tenure as chairman. Thomas has also served as a legislative assistant in the office of U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) where she handled agriculture and trade for the senator, covered agriculture policy for Sen. Roberts in his personal office and as served as deputy legislative director for Representative Tracey Mann (R-KS).

Jeremy Witte, Professional Staff
Witte joined the committee in 2021 and manages a portfolio that includes research, trade, specialty crops, organics, agriculture security, biotechnology and foreign ownership. Prior to joining the committee, Witte worked for the House Agriculture Committee and Cornerstone Government Affairs.