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What We Do at 50 State

  • Strategy

  • Intelligence

  • Public Affairs

  • Issue Advocacy

  • Venue Creation

  • Government Relations

With Washington, D.C. mired in partisan gridlock, companies and interest groups find it more and more difficult to achieve their policy goals at the federal level. The real action – and opportunity – is at the state level.

50 State brings a unique perspective to issue management, advocacy, and relationship development; having worked with governors, mayors, and their staffs and overseen political campaigns, issue-advocacy efforts, and policy development in both parties and in all 50 states.

We provide insight into how states make decisions – and how to influence those decisions – regardless of what party is in office.

50 State provides issue advocacy, government relations, and public affairs strategies, as well as high-level political intelligence, to those who do business with, or are regulated by, state government.

Who We Are

Phil Cox

Founding Partner

Phil Cox is a founder of 50 State and one of the nation’s leading strategists, having helped to advise and win more than one hundred political, issue advocacy, and corporate public affairs campaigns.

Over nearly three decades in politics, Phil has helped to elect more than thirty Republican governors, and served as a senior adviser to campaigns for President, US Senate, and House.

He served as Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association, the national committee for the Republican Governors, and as the national Co-Chair of Trade Works for America, which successfully advocated for passage of the USMCA.

He is on the Board of the Senate Leadership Fund, the GOP’s principal national Senate SuperPAC, and WinRed, the GOP’s small-dollar fundraising platform. The Boston Globe called him “a force for the GOP” and The Washington Times “a Republican Kingmaker.”

Colm O’Comartun

Founding Partner

Colm O’Comartun served as the Executive Director of the Democratic Governors Association from 2011-2014. Colm served as Director of the Governor’s Office for Governor Martin O’Malley, after serving in various positions for him as both Governor and Mayor of Baltimore. Prior to that, he worked at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and as Director of Alumni Programs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Colm also served as Director of The Irish Institute of Boston College, where he worked to implement the Good Friday Agreement. He is a graduate of University College Dublin, and lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his two children.

Roshan Patel

Partner

Roshan R Patel is a Partner at 50 State LLC, a Washington, DC based state-focused strategic consulting firm which helps companies, trade associations and non-profits achieve policy priorities at the state level.

Prior to this role, Roshan spent four years as the National Finance Director for the Democratic Governors Association. In this role, he was responsible for all of the organization’s fundraising activities and worked closely with DGA leadership and other Democratic governors throughout the country.

Roshan joined the DGA after spending 2009 and 2010 as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s Mid-Atlantic Finance Director under New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. While at the DSCC, he managed the national Corporate Political Action Committee fundraising, as well as the individual donor fundraising activities in the Mid-Atlantic region. Prior to joining the DSCC, he worked on two successful US Senate campaigns and a presidential campaign. He served as New Mexico Senator Tom Udall’s Deputy National Finance Director and was an in-state fundraiser for Maryland Senator Ben Cardin. In 2007, Roshan was a Regional Finance Director for Governor Bill Richardson’s presidential campaign.

Roshan also serves as the Executive Director and Treasurer of the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association, an organization founded in 2018. In this role, Roshan is in charge of all fundraising, political, and staffing activities while working with the 23 Democratic Lieutenant Governors from around the country.

After graduating Mississippi State University in 2002, with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance(cum laude), Roshan accepted a position with International Paper Company in Memphis, TN where he served as an international financial analyst in the Corporate Shared Services Division. In that capacity, Roshan was the lead analyst on a two-year, $17 Million cost-cutting initiative. He worked closely with IP facilities domestically and also traveled extensively helping set up international operations. After two years in Memphis, Roshan moved to Dallas, TX to run a start-up company working with children with disabilities, mostly focusing on the low-vision community.

Marie Sanderson

Partner

Marie Sanderson is currently Partner at 50 State, LLC, Founding Partner of GuidePost Strategies, a federal strategic communications and public affairs firm; Founding Principal of Cardinal Group Policy, a policy entity that works with policy makers, think tanks, candidates, and elected officials across the country; and a Senior Advisor at IMGE, a full-service digital marketing agency. In 2017, in addition to her professional roles, Marie was “Sherpa” for USUN Ambassador Nikki Haley, an unpaid position with the US Presidential Transition, preparing and guiding the current Ambassador for her nomination to be confirmed by the US Senate.

Marie was Policy Director for the Republican Governors Association (RGA) and the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee (RGPPC) for five years facilitating and advocating for best practices and good policy in both state and federal policy to governors, candidates, their staff, think tanks, Congress, the Administration, and other political organizations. In January 2006, Marie began working for Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour as a policy and budget advisor and Director of Federal Policy. Prior to her role in the state, served United States Senator and Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran in 2003 in Washington, DC, where she served as a Legislative Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary.

Marie was graduated summa cum laude from Mississippi State University. In 2002, she was awarded a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship to Brisbane, Australia, where she obtained her MBA from the University of Queensland. Marie serves on several boards and commissions including the statewide Mississippi Arts Commission Board of Directors and the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi Board of Directors. In 2020, she and her husband, Brian, founded the MS 30 Day Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to providing financial support to Mississippi’s small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of forgivable loans. Brian and Marie have two sons and one daughter.

Larissa Martin

Managing Partner

Larissa Martin has been with 50 State since its inception at the end of 2014. She brings over a decade of experience working with elected officials on both the state and federal level. She has successfully navigated a broad range of political, policy and legislative issues facing corporations, associations and nonprofits across multiple industries.

From 2010-2014, she served as Chief Operating Officer at the Republican Governors Association (RGA). In this role, she worked closely with senior staff from all Republican Governors offices throughout the country and their campaigns.

Prior to joining the RGA, she was at the Republican Party of Florida working on state senate campaigns from 2007-2010.

Larissa is also a Principal at GuidePost Strategies, LLC where she provides strategic advice and helps clients navigate the Administration and Congress.

Ian Walton

Partner

Ian Walton began his career in government and politics in high school after being selected to serve as Speaker Tom Foley’s page in the US House of Representatives. This formative experience compelled him to develop a career in public service. At both the state and federal level, he has managed top-tier campaigns, helped raise millions of dollars, and served as senior advisor to elected officials. Most recently, Ian served as the Policy Director at the Democratic Governors Association where he worked with Governors, their staff, and the private sector to find solutions to policy issues ranging from health care and biotechnology to infrastructure, energy and everything in between. Ian and his family reside in Washington, DC.

Laine Striegel

Managing Director, State Affairs

Laine Striegel most recently served in the Rauner Administration as the Director of Communications at the Illinois State Board of Education and was Governor Bruce Rauner’s Director of Advance. She was also the Director of Advance for Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti on Governor Rauner’s gubernatorial campaign. Prior to her time in Illinois, Striegel lived in Washington, D.C. where she spent over three years working for Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN), most notably serving as his Military Legislative Aide. She served as Lead Press Advance on Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign in 2012 and was an aide on John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign. Laine was a member of the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee. She received her B.A. in Government from Wofford College and her M.A. in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University. Laine lives in Jackson, Mississippi with her husband, Timothy.

Stephanie McFadden

Managing Director

Stephanie joined 50 State in June 2019. She is responsible for carrying out research, support, and analysis for our team. Prior to joining 50 State, Stephanie worked as the Compliance Coordinator at Radford University. In this role she was responsible for ensuring that Radford University was adhering to all NCAA Division I regulations. Stephanie, a 2016 graduate of Stony Brook University, received her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. In 2019, she graduated from Radford University with her Master’s in Strategic Communication.

Zach Swint

Managing Director

Zach Swint was most recently senior policy advisor at the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee advising all Republican governors and their staff on key issues, leading coalition efforts, and coordinating with federal and external partners on caucus efforts and issues.

Prior to that, Zach served as the associate director in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs under the Trump-Pence Administration as a liaison to governors and all state-wide elected officials. In addition to helping stakeholders navigate resources and programs across the federal government, Zach worked collaboratively with statewide elected officials to advance a wide variety of bipartisan policies and shared priorities including responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with the the most robust state-federal partnership in modern history. Zach also led the Governors’ Initiative on Regulatory Innovation, a more than 700-strong stakeholder coalition promoting and advancing the administration’s regulatory reform agenda at the State and local level.

Zach also served as a specialadvisor for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Energy under Secretary Rick Perry and in the office of Senator David Perdue (GA). Zach began his career in Georgia working in political campaigns. A Georgia native, Zach is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and resides in Northern Virginia.

50 State in the News

Reid Wilson, The Hill July 22, 2020

Phil Cox in The Hill: Republicans Fear Trump Might be too Successful with Attacks on Mail-in Voting

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GOP strategists around the country are concerned that President Trump’s vocal opposition to mail-in voting is resonating with Republicans, imperiling years-long efforts by the party to sign people up to vote by mail. Expanded mail-in voting has become a pillar of

Read More
Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times July 28, 2020

Phil Cox in the Washington Times: McConnell Faces Toughest Test in Fight to Save Senate Majority

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reputation for guiding the GOP out of hairy political situations is being put to the test once again as he tries to steer through the choppiest political waters of his long career and save the party’s slim majority in

Read More
Reid Wilson, The Hill October 23, 2019

Colm O’Comartun in The Hill: Red-state Governor Races Put Both Parties on Edge

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Three nail-biting gubernatorial contests in deeply red states have both Democrats and Republicans on edge in the two weeks before Election Day, in races that will test President Trump’s ability to move votes a year before his reelection bid. Two incumbents,

Read More

Elena Schneider, Politico March 29, 2016

50 State’s Colm O’Comartun Talks Fallout From ‘Religious Freedom’ Legislation

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“Religious liberty” laws and bathroom bills were supposed to be conservatives’ counterattack to the growing codification of gay and transgender rights, including the Supreme Court’s approval of same-sex marriage. Instead, social conservatives are losing battles over gay, lesbian and transgender

Read More

Reid Wilson, The Hill July 22, 2020

Phil Cox in The Hill: Republicans Fear Trump Might be too Successful with Attacks on Mail-in Voting

Tags: , ,

GOP strategists around the country are concerned that President Trump’s vocal opposition to mail-in voting is resonating with Republicans, imperiling years-long efforts by the party to sign people up to vote by mail. Expanded mail-in voting has become a pillar of

Read More
Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times July 28, 2020

Phil Cox in the Washington Times: McConnell Faces Toughest Test in Fight to Save Senate Majority

Tags: ,

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reputation for guiding the GOP out of hairy political situations is being put to the test once again as he tries to steer through the choppiest political waters of his long career and save the party’s slim majority in

Read More
Reid Wilson, The Hill October 23, 2019

Colm O’Comartun in The Hill: Red-state Governor Races Put Both Parties on Edge

Tags: , ,

Three nail-biting gubernatorial contests in deeply red states have both Democrats and Republicans on edge in the two weeks before Election Day, in races that will test President Trump’s ability to move votes a year before his reelection bid. Two incumbents,

Read More

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