By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, December 18, Congressman-elect Palmer announced the hiring of his District Director, Field Director and Constituent Service Liaison.
Palmer announced that former Birmingham Post Herald sports writer Ray Melick will join Gary’s District. Melick was a long-time sportswriter, as the Alabama beat writer and later lead sports columnist for the Birmingham Post-Herald, radio personality, and had a weekly TV sports show before joining the Birmingham News as sports columnist in 2003.
Melick left Birmingham media in 2010 to be the Director of Communication for BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon incident. Since 2013, Melick has been the Public Affairs Manager for Georgia-Pacific in Mississippi. Melick and his wife, Mary Grace, have three children and live in Vestavia. They are members of Mountain Brook Community Church, where Melick has been an Elder and Community Group leader.
Congressman elect Palmer said, “Ray Melick is a highly respected and tremendously talented individual who will do a tremendous job for the people in the 6th Congressional District. I have known Ray for almost 20 years. He not has great people skills and organizational ability, he has great character and a great desire to serve people.”
Ethan Vice brings considerable experience to Gary’s District Office as Field Director. Vice held the same position for the past two years serving on former Congressman Spencer Bachus’ (R from Vestavia) staff. Vice also spent five years with Rep. Robert Aderholt (R from Haleyville), where he served as both a Field Representative and a Legislative Assistant in Aderholt’s Washington, D.C. office. Vice is originally from Gadsden, is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He and his wife, Kim, live in Hoover and attend Briarwood Presbyterian Church.
Palmer said, “I’m excited that Ethan has agreed to continue his current role as Field Director for the 6th District. He has earned the trust of the people of the Sixth District over the past two years and will provide a measure of continuity during the transition. Beyond that, I know Ethan will continue to expand his role within the District.”
Denise Weaver will work in Gary Palmer’s District Office in constituent services. Weaver has a Bachelors degree in Education from UAB and a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling. She is the mother of three adult children and has been involved in a number of volunteer programs around the Birmingham area. Previously she worked at Enrollment Advisors, helping individuals with insurance questions and issues. She is a member of Hunter Street Baptist Church.
On Tuesday, December 30 Congressman-elect Palmer announced the hiring of Anne-Allen Welden to serve as scheduler, Clifford Smith to serve as communications director, Lenora “Nonie” Brown to serve as staff assistant, and Hunter Hobart to serve as legislative correspondent.
Anne-Allen Welden, a native Alabamian, will manage the day to day office schedule. Welden previously worked as an account executive, and events coordinator. Welden also served as an operations special projects coordinator at the 2012 National Republican Convention. Welden is a 2011 graduate of the University of Alabama.
Cliff Smith will manage the day to day media outreach. Smith previously served as a law clerk on two Senate committees and as a legislative correspondent in the House of Representatives. Smith was most recently Associate Counsel for the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic. Smith is a 2002 graduate of Washington State University, and has a Masters degree in Public Policy from Pepperdine and a law degree from The Catholic University of America.
Nonie Brown, a native Alabamian, will assist with constituent services, including Capitol tours and flag requests. Brown is a 2014 graduate of the University of Alabama.
Hunter Hobart will assist in tracking and corresponding to constituent mail. Hobart has experience on Capitol Hill as a staff assistant in both House and Senate offices. Hobart previously worked for Heritage Action For America and as an investment professional. Hobart is a 2013 graduate of Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina.
Palmer said in a statement, “I’m pleased to welcome Anne-Allen, Cliff, Nonie and Hobart to my staff. These are individuals of high character and work ethic and I know they will be dedicated to serving not only the 6th District, but the nation as a whole.” “I am blessed to have such an exceptional group of people working with me for the people of the 6th District,”
William Smith, Congressman-elect Palmer’s Chief of Staff told the ‘Alabama Political Reporter’, “We’ll be provided access to the office on Saturday, January 3 (when we get the keys). The phone remains in Spencer’s service until December 31. The official swearing in date is January 6 and we’ll be answering the phones on January 5. The main phone line will remain the same- 202.225.4921.”
Palmer is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday, January 6.