Sal Russo – Cofounder and Chief Strategist
Sal Russo is recognized as one of America’s premier political strategists and the leading architect of the Tea Party Express and its explosive and historic success in American elections. He has been a fixture on national and local media as the foremost expert on the Tea Party movement and an analyst regarding state and national politics.
As an ardent believer in liberty, Mr. Russo was an active member of the Free Speech Movement while studying at the University of California, Berkeley in 1964. His conservative activism led to a meeting with actor Ronald Reagan, who related to his activities due to his own student demonstrations in his youth at Eureka College.
Mr. Russo then volunteered to work on Ronald Reagan’s 1966 gubernatorial campaign, after which Mr. Russo went on to serve as a special assistant to the Governor in Sacramento. After three years in the Governor’s Office as a personal aide to Reagan, he became chief of staff to a member of the California Legislature for six years. His successful outreach to normally Democratic constituency groups brought landslide victories at every election. Mr. Russo has also been an advisor to several Republican presidential campaigns since 1976, and was intimately responsible for directing the re-election effort of President Ronald Reagan in California in 1984.
He assisted Congressman Jack Kemp in his 1988 presidential campaign and also served as the head of Campaign for a New Agenda, the political action committee formed by Jack Kemp to promote conservative social, cultural and economic issues. He also was instrumental in working with Mr. Kemp in forming Empower America, the conservative think tank headed by conservatives Jeanne Kirkpatrick and Bill Bennett. In 1978 Mr. Russo directed the first statewide campaign in America to run on the issue of supply side economics, the campaign for Governor of State Assemblyman Ken Maddy two years before the economic theory was adopted by presidential candidate Ronald Reagan.
Mr. Russo’s firm, Russo Marsh + Associates, Inc. has been at the forefront of some of the most prominent national, state and local campaigns, including the election of Governor George Deukmejian, California (1982), for whom he served as Deputy Chief of Staff; Senator Alfonse D’Amato, New York (1992); and Governor George Pataki, New York (1994). He also founded the Recall Gray Davis Committee in 2001, which was the leading organization to recalling the first sitting Governor in decades.
Mr. Russo holds a B.A. in Government from California State University, Sacramento, and a J.D. from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. He serves as a member of the Statewide Advisory Council for the Center for California Studies, California State University (1996-); the McGeorge School of Law’s Institute for Legislative Practice Alumni Advisory Board (1995-); and the Kenneth L. Maddy Institute Advisory Board, California State University, Fresno (2000-). He has belonged to the International Association of Political Consultants since 1982 and served on the Board of Directors (1986-1992). He is the Founding Chairman of Tower of Youth, a Sacramento regional youth-run organization that sponsors and supports the communication arts for teenagers (1986-).
Taylor Budowich – Executive Director
Taylor Budowich joined Tea Party Express following his evacuation from Cairo, Egypt during the nation’s 2011 revolution. Taylor was a student at the American University in Cairo and was present in Tahrir Square the night the Egyptian Military was first dispatched to restore peace between the protestors and government police.
As a California native, Taylor returned home where he started at Tea Party Express’ Sacramento-based headquarters as a grassroots coordinator. Taylor has served as the primary advance and logistics manager for all the organization’s events. This has included over 150 rallies and 9 national and regional bus tours, including rallies that have been attended by upwards of 10,000 people, including guests such as Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Jim DeMint, along with Governors Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney.
Taylor has been serving as Tea Party Express’ Executive Director since 2012 and is the organization’s primary spokesperson. National and local television, radio, print and online journalists often seek his opinions on issues important to the Tea Party movement.
Taylor is also involved in several charitable causes. He is a volunteer public relations and operations consultant for Move America Forward’s annual “Troopathon.” The 8-hour live broadcast has raised millions of dollars to send care packages to deployed U.S. soldiers. He was also named a “Light the Night Hero” for his fundraising efforts during the Leukemia and Lymphoma’s Light the Night Walk.
On a personal side, Taylor is a die-hard San Francisco 49ers fan and can be found in his Kaepernick jersey every game day. He enjoys grilling and aspires to be a MasterChef contestant – his relative was the show’s 2015 Canadian winner.
Andy Surabian – Political Director
Andy Surabian hails from the great state of Massachusetts where he graduated from Assumption College in Worcester, MA with a degree in political science in 2011. Andy has a keen sense for politics and has worked in a multitude of positions within the conservative movement before joining Tea Party Express as the Communications Director on our Mobile Phone bank Bus Tour in the summer of 2012. In December of 2012, he was promoted to the key position of Political Director.
Andy’s primary focus at Tea Party Express is seeking out and helping to elect viable tea party candidates for federal office who are committed to reducing the size, cost and intrusiveness of the Federal Government. Over the last 2 years he has interviewed over 75 candidates running for office throughout the country.
Before joining Tea Party Express, Andy served as a fundraiser and copywriter for the National Right to Work Committee, where he also helped manage their direct mail program. Andy was first introduced to politics while in high school after coming across a John Stossel video on Youtube which spurred his fascination with Austrian economics and the philosophical concept of individual liberty.
When not scouring the four corners of the country for great Tea Party candidates, Andy enjoys spending time with his friends and family, reading political philosophy and watching Mixed Martial Arts.
Kay Rivoli – National Grassroots Director
Kay Rivoli has been a staple of the Tea Party movement since its inception. She is the Director of Grassroots for Tea Party Express and works diligently to keep a finger on the pulse of the nation as she works closely with local tea party groups across the country to champion their convictions.
Kay has been involved in the entertainment industry for many years as one-half of the musical team Rivoli Revue. She and her husband Ron travel the country for their craft and are a Branson, Missouri award-winning act. They shot to fame with the popular song and music video, Press ‘1’ for English, which has over 14 million views.
Kay’s passion for her country and her craft leave her working tirelessly to change the nation for the better, which makes her rare moments of spending time at home with her husband and their animals all the more rewarding.
Adam Struck – Office Manager
Adam helps to manage the daily operations of Tea Party Express and has been a member of the team since April of 2012. He has spent the last decade involved in politics working on numerous federal, state and local campaigns throughout the Central Valley in California. Previously Adam worked as a field representative for former Congressman Richard Pombo and as legislative director for a member of the CA State Assembly.
A Sacramento native, living in the capital city of California is what originally spurred his passion for politics. He believes everyone has a voice that deserves to be heard and it has guided him throughout his career including when he volunteered for his first campaign at only 16 years of age.
Adam is an alumnus of American River College and the University of the Pacific and he is married with four beautiful children. He’s an active participant with the Knights of Columbus and in his free time he enjoys biking, fishing, cooking, basketball, and spending time with his wife and kids. Not to mention catching a game when he can from his favorite sports team, the Sacramento Kings.
Justin Petty – Administrative Director
Justin joined Tea Party Express in 2013. After completing his undergraduate work at UC San Diego, he worked for three fiscally conservative members of the California State Legislature. He has also worked on multiple campaigns throughout the state, and had been a part of Tea Party Express’ first rally in 2009. He currently serves as the group’s Administrative Director.
When not focusing on work, Justin surfs, backpacks, reads, and spends time with family, friends, and his adopted Doberman Pinscher Maizy.
Howard Kaloogian – Chairman of Our Country Deserves Better PAC
A proud conservative, Kaloogian served as Assistant Republican Leader in the California State Assembly during his six years in office. He was chairman of the CalPERS oversight committee where he proposed converting the public employee pension system to a defined contribution plan in 1995, which would have eliminated all unfunded liability exposure. That plan was adopted as model legislation at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and became law in nine states across the nation.
Assemblyman Kaloogian served as Chair of the Budget Sub Committee on Natural Resources, and Vice Chair of the Banking and Finance Committee. He was also a member of the Judiciary, Local Government, Governmental Organization, Health and Human Resources, and Revenue and Taxation committees. He was chosen to represent California as the State Chair for the National Council of State Legislators and the State Chair for the ALEC. He was a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders and the Atlantic Bridge. Speaker Newt Gingrich appointed Assemblyman Kaloogian as a delegate to the National Summit on Retirement Savings.
Assemblyman Kaloogian was named the Legislator of the Year for the nation in 1997 by ALEC. During his service he was also awarded the legislator of the year by the CA Pro-Life Council, the American Electronics Association, the CA Chiropractic Association, the Golden State Mobil Homeowners League, CA School Board Leadership Council, the Save Our Land Values Coalition, and the Fairbankds Ranch Republican Women’s Federated. He received the Samuel Adams award from the Local Government Council, and was named the Women’s Resource Network Champion. Assemblyman Kaloogian was rated A+ by the National Rifle Association, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. He also received 100% ratings from the CA Chamber of Commerce. After serving the maximum number of years in office under term limits, he joined Hillsdale College in 2001 where he continues to serve as the Western District Director for Planned Giving, helping supporters of the college avoid taxes and increase income by using Charitable Remainder trusts and Gift Annuities. In keeping with Hillsdale’s philosophy that everyone should be involved defending freedom, Mr. Kaloogian remains a political activist as a leader in numerous conservative causes.
In 2003, he launched the historic Recall Gray Davis Committee, which helped recall Democratic Governor Gray Davis – the first recall of a statewide official in California history. Kaloogian made countless national media appearances advocating on behalf of the recall effort, resulting in 1.2 million signatures being gathered to qualify the recall.
Kaloogian has also worked to defend our troops by launching Move America Forward. M.A.F. supports our troops and their missions in the war on terror against attacks from Michael Moore and MoveON.org. M.A.F. has sent millions of dollars worth of care packages to our deployed troops. Considering Ronald Reagan to be his greatest political hero, Kaloogian not only served as member of the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, but he also went on to lead the Defend Reagan Committee, persuading CBS/Viacom not to broadcast a miniseries smearing President Reagan.
Kaloogian has appeared on FOX News, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC and has been published in National Review, the Wall Street Journal, and Human Events among others. Mr. Kaloogian has worked with an array of national conservative leaders on a host of pertinent public policy issues facing America, including Congressman Jack Kemp, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Howard is married to Martha, and has a step son, Alex. They have two dogs named Ezekiel and Solomon. Howard obtained a B.A. from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in California, Michigan, the United States Tax Court, and the Federal Court for the Southern District of California. He has also taught law as an adjunct professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.