Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert has tapped Trump administration officials and staff members for Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., for senior positions in her office.
Jeff Small, a presidential appointee currently serving as a senior adviser to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, will be Boebert’s chief of staff, according to a news release from Boebert this week.
Paige Agostin, a presidential appointee currently serving in Vice President Mike Pence’s office as associate director for domestic policy, will be Boebert’s legislative director. Clarice Navarro, a former Colorado state lawmaker appointed by the Trump administration in 2017 as Colorado executive director for the Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, has been selected Boebert’s district director.
Ben Goldey, currently press secretary for the Interior Department, will be Boebert’s communications director.
Cathy Garcia, who has served as Gardner’s southern Colorado regional director since 2015, will hold that same job for Boebert. Hogan Peterson, a Colorado Mesa University graduate who has served the past four years as a constituent caseworker and regional representative for Gardner, will be western Colorado regional director for Boebert. Devin Camacho — the current secretary of the Colorado Republican Party who recently worked on Gardner’s election campaign — will be southwestern Colorado regional director in Boebert’s office.
Jeanie Davidovich, state scheduler for Gardner and previously a caseworker for Gardner, will be Boebert’s scheduler.
Boebert said in the release, “This is a powerhouse team who has the experience, enthusiasm and knowledge to help deliver outstanding results for rural Colorado. I set a high bar for the caliber of talent I expected to serve on my team, and I could not be happier with the outcome. Together, we will work hard every day to deliver on my promise to focus on the freedom and prosperity of our constituents.”
Boebert, a Garfield County resident, will represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District after ousting incumbent Scott Tipton in the Republican primary and defeating Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in the November election.
Small is a senior official on federal land, water and energy matters at Interior, according to Boebert’s release, and was instrumental in relocating the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters to Grand Junction and in the Trump administration’s reforms to implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act.
He previously served as executive director of the conservative Congressional Western Caucus, growing it to more than 75 members of the House of Representatives. A Colorado native, he has held political and federal office roles for Tipton, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., and former Colorado congressmen Scott McInnis and Mike Coffman.
McInnis, now a Mesa County commissioner, said he remembers Small as an excellent, productive member of his staff.
“He’s on the varsity team. I was very impressed that (Boebert) hired Jeff,” he said.
McInnis said it can be tempting for someone new to Congress to feel obligated to pick someone involved in their election campaign as chief of staff. But he said that’s a specialized position requiring certain skills.
“You need to have somebody who really goes into it without a learning curve on day one and knows how to run an operation,” he said.
That may be a person different from someone connected with a campaign, said McInnis, who said he thinks that hiring decision was well thought out by Boebert.
“The fact that she named Jeff Small tells me, wow, she’s way ahead of the game. He’s perfect for that position and she thought that out before she hired somebody,” he said.
The defeats suffered by both President Trump and Gardner in November’s election allowed Boebert to tap a pool of people whose current jobs are coming to an end. McInnis said that “picking up former Gardner people is smart” because they know what the situation on the ground is right now, along with political aspects from the perspective of staff members for a Republican lawmaker.
McInnis said it’s sad Gardner lost, “but it did present opportunities for Congresswoman-elect Boebert to pick up some really experienced people.”
McInnis said he’s excited about Boebert’s election to Congress.
“She’s enthusiastic and I think she’s going to do just fine,” he said.
According to Boebert’s release, here are some more details and tidbits on some of Boebert’s appointments:
■ Agostin advises Pence on domestic policy related to education, workforce issues, housing, welfare, life, liberty, law enforcement and technology. She previously was a senior policy adviser to the underscretary of the Department of Education for programs and policies.
■ Navarro, in her current job, administers federal agricultural funds through 26 offices. She was a three-term state lawmaker and has deep roots in Pueblo and southern Colorado.
■ Garcia spent six years as the president and chief executive officer of Action 22, a regional advocacy organization in southern Colorado. She also served as chairman of the Pueblo Area Council of Governments, as a Pueblo City Council member, and as vice president of the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce.
■ Peterson has extensive experience advocating for constituents and Western Slope stakeholders, working on everything from military service academy nominations to wildfire emergency response efforts. An avid outdoorsman, he serves as a volunteer member of Mesa County Search and Rescue.
■ Camacho was elected chair of the Otero County Republicans at age 19.