The Senior Staff of the Government Affairs Institute consists of individuals strongly committed to teaching, with academic backgrounds in political science, public administration, history, and economics. Most have taught extensively at the university level, and all are experienced observers of Congress who spend much of their time on Capitol Hill.
Kristin Nicholson became the Director of the Government Affairs Institute in February 2017. Prior to joining GAI, she spent two decades on Capitol Hill, where she served for sixteen years as Chief of Staff to Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior member of the House Committees on Armed Services and Homeland Security.
Worth H. Hester, M.P.A., joined the faculty of GAI in 1988 as a Presidential Management Fellow and took the job of Assistant Director in 1999. During seven years of government service, he served as an Employee Development Specialist, Program Analyst, and Legislative Analyst for a Member of Congress.
Mark B. Harkins joined the Government Affairs Institute as a Senior Fellow in July 2013 after having been a guest lecturer numerous times back to 2005. Prior to joining GAI, Mark was a government relations professional for more than five years where he focused on the representation of corporate, nonprofit and government clients before Congress and the Executive Branch.
Joshua C. Huder, Ph.D., joined the Government Affairs Institute as a Senior Fellow in 2013. He has taught courses on American government, advanced legislative process, and other American politics courses. He has provided political analysis to several news outlets, including the Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, Newsweek, Bloomberg News, CNN, the Washington Examiner, U.S. News, Al-Jazeera, Yahoo News, and is a regular contributor for the Christian Science Monitor.
Laura Blessing, Ph.D. joined the Government Affairs Institute as a Senior Fellow in 2015. Prior to coming to GAI, she earned her PhD from the University of Virginia, where she was also a Miller Center National Fellow and a fellow for the Bankard Fund for Political Economy. Her dissertation covers the politics and development of tax policy; her interests include policy, institutions, and political parties.