Congressman-elect Dusty Johnson Announces Leadership Team

Congressman-elect Dusty Johnson Announces Leadership Team

MITCHELL, SD (Nov. 28, 2018) – Congressman-elect Dusty Johnson today announced the appointment of five leadership team positions: Andrew Christianson as Chief of Staff, Courtney Heitkamp as State Director and Communications Advisor, Darren Hedlund as Legislative Director, Chelsea Schull as State Operations Manager and Katie Murray as West River Director.

“These individuals bring a wide variety of experience and knowledge to the table,” said Congressman- elect Johnson. “I’m incredibly excited to hit the ground running on January 3 and this team will be an integral part to ensuring I serve the people of South Dakota to the best of my abilities.”

Andrew Christianson, Chief of Staff: Christianson will oversee all office operations and serve as chief policy advisor to Congressman Johnson. A Tea, S.D. native, Christianson has served as Congresswoman Noem’s Chief of Staff since 2017. Christianson also served as Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff since joining Rep. Noem’s staff in 2011.

Christianson graduated from Lennox High School and the University of South Dakota with a degree in political science. He will be based in Washington, D.C.

Courtney Heitkamp, State Director and Communications Advisor: Heitkamp will oversee constituent service efforts and community outreach strategy for all state offices, as well as advise and coordinate communications priorities. Heitkamp joins Congressman Johnson’s office after spending five years at POET, where she worked in public affairs and media relations. Heitkamp’s prior experience includes serving as Congresswoman Noem’s Press Secretary and Political Director.

Heitkamp graduated from Washington High School in Sioux Falls, S.D. and received her bachelor’s degree in political science and humanities from Valparaiso University. She later received her Masters of Business Administration from the University of South Dakota. Heitkamp will be based in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Darren Hedlund, Legislative Director: Hedlund will oversee Congressman Johnson’s legislative priorities and committee work. Hedlund comes from Sen. Rounds’s office where he served as Legislative Assistant.

Hedlund graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in political science and international studies. He later received his Master’s in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. Hedlund will be based in Washington, D.C.

Chelsea Schull, State Operations Manager: Schull will oversee state scheduling and operations needs for the state offices. Schull has worked for Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49) since 2013 in a variety of roles, most recently as Budget Manager and Director of Operations. She also spent time as a Field Representative for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Schull received her undergraduate degree from Washington State University and later received her Master’s in Political Science from the University of Texas at Dallas. Schull will be based in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Katie Murray, West River Director: Murray will oversee constituent service and community outreach efforts for the Rapid City office. Murray previously served as West River Campaign Manager on the Dusty Johnson for Congress campaign and also served as a Constituent Services Representative for Sen. Rounds.

Murray graduated from St. Thomas More High School and later received her degree in political science and history from Black Hills State University. She will be based in Rapid City, S.D.

Congressman-elect Johnson will be sworn in on January 3, 2019.

# # #

10 Replies to “Congressman-elect Dusty Johnson Announces Leadership Team”

  1. Anonymous

    So aside from the one California, moving to South Dakota from Washington DC, it’s a team of former Noem staffers? What happened to having a South Dakota only staff, he had to import a swamp critter to run his State operations? There wasn’t one South Dakotan who could order office supplies and run his state offices?

    I thought he wanted to carve out a new path for himself, but I guess we’ll see much more of the same?

    Disappointed there is little independence in these choices.

    1. SDGOPer

      Lol 2 of the 5 on the list worked for Noem and 4 out of 5 are native South Dakotans. And someone who had experience managing the operations of a Congressional office moved to SD so they decided to put that experience to use. And a native South Dakotan is the State Director calling the shots. In my mind, he did a great job of blending South Dakota roots with DC experience, which is exactly the approach I would hope our Congressman-elect would take.

      1. Anonymous

        Hedlund was a Noem intern before going to Pitt. And that is his only real House experience.

        He was Rounds Operations Manager and handled Veterans and Cyber Security as a Legislative Director.

        That’s 3/5 and I believe Katie Murray also has a Noem connection as well. Her father is also Mark Haugen-

        Still waiting for the Ag staffer to be named. Hopefully someone with actual experience to get anything accomplished while the GOP is in the minority.

        1. Anon

          So do you want South Dakotans with DC experience, or not? Because if you do you’re hard pressed to find people with no connection to Noem. And I’m not really sure why you need to. She’s been our Congresswoman for 8 years and was just elected to be our Governor. Political talent that worked for her, interned for her, or has some “connection” seems like an asset to me.

          1. Anonymous

            Outside of Christianson, there is very little political experience beyond managaing office supplies and furniture.

            Christianson was the best hire possible-

            Surprised to not see any Thune staffers yet- the gold standard when it comes to the South Dakota delegation.

  2. Nick Moser

    SDGOPer has it right on! AC is a SD guy with DC experience. Not really sure what more you would want. That is pretty much ideal in my opinion. Same with the State Director. The only non-SD person is being based in SD. I love having talented people bring those talents to South Dakota. These are outstanding servant leaders who are working for another outstanding servant leader, all of whom will help shape and mold the next group of young servant leaders. I would be shocked if “anonymous” has met a single member of this leadership team. Can we at least let them begin the job before we start taking shots at them?

  3. Anonymous

    Chelsea Schull currently lives in Sioux Falls; she’s not moving here for the job.

    All 5 had existing S.D. connections.

    Good leaders.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.