Senator Roberts announces his key Agriculture Committee staff, with names & bios

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 - Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., announced his senior staff selections for the minority office Wednesday. “We have a great, hard working team in place with experience in the Senate, in farming and ranching, and in leadership roles within agriculture. I am also proud to say they have all spent time in Kansas” Senator Roberts said in listing his staff:

Staff Director: Michael Seyfert

Mike Seyfert, a native of Ada, Kansas, was raised on the wheat, soybean, alfalfa and cattle farm operated by his family for more than a century. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Kansas State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a major in Agriculture Economics in 1996. He also holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from The George Washington University.

Globally Positioned Agriculture

Seyfert has served Senator Roberts for nearly 14 years, including most recently as Legislative Director since 2005. He began working for Senator Roberts in 1997 serving as his Legislative Assistant on tax and budget issues. He soon took over responsibilities associated with Senator Roberts' assignment on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Beginning in 2002, he also served as Senator Roberts' Deputy Legislative Director. In these positions he has helped staff Senator Roberts on almost all key legislative issues involving agriculture during that time. He first worked for then Congressman Roberts as an intern.

Deputy Staff Director: Joel Leftwich

Joel Leftwich most recently worked for DuPont's Government Affairs team primarily on the company's agriculture and nutrition portfolio. Prior to joining DuPont, Joel served as Legislative Assistant to Senator Roberts handling agriculture, energy and transportation issues since 2005. Leftwich was a Legislative Aide to Congressman Jim Ryun (R-KS), Director of Alumni Relations at Friends University and a Congressional Liaison at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Congressional Relations. Leftwich was born and raised in Wellington, Kansas and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas and a Masters Degree from Loyola University of Chicago.

Chief Counsel: Anne Hazlett

Anne Hazlett served as Minority Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry under Ranking Member Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Prior to serving in this role, Hazlett was the Director of Agriculture for her home state of Indiana. In that role, she managed the State Department of Agriculture and was an advisor to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on agriculture policy. In addition to this leadership position with the Daniels Administration, Hazlett also served as Chief of Staff to Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman.

Hazlett worked as legal counsel to the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committees during the development of the 2002 and the 2008 Farm Bills. In addition to her Washington experience, Hazlett has also worked for several agricultural interest organizations, including the Indiana and California Farm Bureau.

Hazlett graduated from Kansas State University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communications. In addition, she holds a law degree from the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis, and has a Masters degree in Agricultural Law from University of Arkansas School of Law.

Communications Director: Sarah Little

Sarah Little has worked for Senator Roberts for 12 years. As the Communications Director in the personal office, she also served as Roberts' spokeswoman when he was Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 2003-2007. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Communications from American University in Washington, DC and is from Prairie Village, Kansas.

In addition to naming his committee staff, Roberts also mentioned his “strong team in Kansas working on agriculture issues” - listed below:

Senior Agriculture Policy Advisor: Ryan Flickner

Ryan Flickner currently serves as a Senior Agriculture Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Pat Roberts. Flickner earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy and Natural Resources from Kansas State University in 2006. While at Kansas State, Flickner interned for USDA's White House Liaison Office in Washington, DC and for the USDA NRCS field office in Republic County, Kansas. Flickner hails from Wichita, Kansas and spends time on his parents' diversified family farm near Moundridge, Kansas. He has worked in the Washington office of Senator Roberts since May 2007.

Kansas Agricultural Assistant: Melvin Thompson

Mel Thompson first worked with Pat Roberts when they were staffers for First District Congressman Keith Sebelius (R-KS) in 1969. He has been Senator Roberts' Kansas Agricultural Assistant based in Wichita since 1997. Thompson graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics and Business.

Since 1976, he has owned and operated a family farm recognized as a Century Farm by the Kansas Farm Bureau in 2003.

He has served as a Marshall County, Kansas, Cooperative Extension Service Agent from 1967-69, a Farm Advisory Committee Member for Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS), and a Farm Policy Advisor for Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker (R-KS).

Thompson was Chairman of the Resolutions Committee of the Kansas Livestock Association and was a Resolutions Committee Member of the Kansas Farm Bureau. For three years he served as Barber County, Kansas, Farm Bureau President.

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