Meet Our Team

 
Benji Backer, Founder & President Benji is a conservative activist from Appleton, Wisconsin and a freshman at the University of Washington in Seattle. He previously served as the co-chair for Young Americans for Mitt Romney in Wisconsin and was named one of RedAlert's top "30 Under 30" conservatives in 2015. He has contributed to sites such as FreedomWorks, IJReview, RedState, and TheBlaze. Benji has also spoken at events across the country, including CPAC in 2014 and 2016. He currently writes for CNBC.com. In his free time, you can find Benji cheering on his favorite Wisconsin sports teams and enjoying the outdoors through hiking or skiing. Through CFER, Benji is excited to help unite Americans on pro-environmental changes and change the conservative narrative when it comes to the environment. Contact Benji: benji@CFERUSA.org

Benji Backer, Founder & President

Benji is a conservative activist from Appleton, Wisconsin and a freshman at the University of Washington in Seattle. He previously served as the co-chair for Young Americans for Mitt Romney in Wisconsin and was named one of RedAlert's top "30 Under 30" conservatives in 2015.

He has contributed to sites such as FreedomWorks, IJReview, RedState, and TheBlaze. Benji has also spoken at events across the country, including CPAC in 2014 and 2016. He currently writes for CNBC.com.

In his free time, you can find Benji cheering on his favorite Wisconsin sports teams and enjoying the outdoors through hiking or skiing. Through CFER, Benji is excited to help unite Americans on pro-environmental changes and change the conservative narrative when it comes to the environment.

Contact Benji: benji@CFERUSA.org

Matthew Mailloux, Outreach Director Matthew is currently a junior at La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA. Majoring in Marketing and Finance, Matthew leverages his strong business background to champion political activism. Matthew got his start in politics working on gubernatorial campaigns during the 2012 and 2014 elections. Most recently he served as the La Salle campus director for Students for Rubio. Since then, he has focused his efforts on digital and relationship marketing. With CFER, Matthew leverages this experience into creating a vision that engages supporters. Matthew is proud to call New Hampshire home. He is an avid hiker and skier. In his free time, you’re most likely to find Matt listening to Chance the Rapper, reading Malcolm Gladwell, or planning his next weekend trip.

Matthew Mailloux, Outreach Director

Matthew is currently a junior at La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA. Majoring in Marketing and Finance, Matthew leverages his strong business background to champion political activism.

Matthew got his start in politics working on gubernatorial campaigns during the 2012 and 2014 elections. Most recently he served as the La Salle campus director for Students for Rubio. Since then, he has focused his efforts on digital and relationship marketing. With CFER, Matthew leverages this experience into creating a vision that engages supporters.

Matthew is proud to call New Hampshire home. He is an avid hiker and skier. In his free time, you’re most likely to find Matt listening to Chance the Rapper, reading Malcolm Gladwell, or planning his next weekend trip.

Seth D. Warshaw, Policy Director Seth is a senior at Boston University who hails from New York City. He is majoring in History, with a minor in Business Administration. During his time at Boston University, he served as Chief Legislative Correspondent for Terriers for Israel. In the summer of 2016, Seth interned on Capitol Hill for Congressman Alex Mooney (WV-2) alongside CFER Co-Policy Director, Jim Betancourt. Seth cares deeply about fiscal responsibility, personal liberty and economic growth. He believes that conservation and the cultivation of a strong renewable energy sector will be vital in maintaining these American values in the 21st century. When not working, Seth devotes much of his time to following sports. His favorite teams are the New York Rangers and the English Premiership’s Tottenham Hotspur. 

Seth D. Warshaw, Policy Director

Seth is a senior at Boston University who hails from New York City. He is majoring in History, with a minor in Business Administration. During his time at Boston University, he served as Chief Legislative Correspondent for Terriers for Israel.

In the summer of 2016, Seth interned on Capitol Hill for Congressman Alex Mooney (WV-2) alongside CFER Co-Policy Director, Jim Betancourt. Seth cares deeply about fiscal responsibility, personal liberty and economic growth. He believes that conservation and the cultivation of a strong renewable energy sector will be vital in maintaining these American values in the 21st century.

When not working, Seth devotes much of his time to following sports. His favorite teams are the New York Rangers and the English Premiership’s Tottenham Hotspur. 

Ross Ladau, Policy Staff Ross is a graduate of The George Washington University Law School with a B.A. in physics from Washington University in St. Louis. Instead of practicing law He wants to work at the intersection of science and public policy. He has experience working in environmental policy as an assistant to the legislative director of Citizen’s Climate Lobby. While not a conservative himself, he is passionate about finding bipartisan solutions for environmental issues. When not thinking about public policy Ross is reading Sci-fi/Fantasy, playing video games or having a game night with friends.

Ross Ladau, Policy Staff

Ross is a graduate of The George Washington University Law School with a B.A. in physics from Washington University in St. Louis. Instead of practicing law He wants to work at the intersection of science and public policy.

He has experience working in environmental policy as an assistant to the legislative director of Citizen’s Climate Lobby. While not a conservative himself, he is passionate about finding bipartisan solutions for environmental issues.

When not thinking about public policy Ross is reading Sci-fi/Fantasy, playing video games or having a game night with friends.

Ryder Selmi, Policy Staff Ryder is a conservative activist from Conway, New Hampshire who entered politics back in 2012 interning for Mitt Romney’s campaign for President. He brings years of professional political experience, having worked for Governor Rick Perry of Texas, as well as various statewide, federal, and local races over the last four years. Having grown up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, being conservation minded is a must. Ryder has been a lifelong skier and hiker with a passion for the outdoors. Conservation of National Parks and protecting all of our land and waters is a top priority and he is determined to work towards making conservation a conservative cause through CFER. He will be transferring to Southern New Hampshire University to finish degrees in Homeland Security and Middle Eastern Studies.

Ryder Selmi, Policy Staff

Ryder is a conservative activist from Conway, New Hampshire who entered politics back in 2012 interning for Mitt Romney’s campaign for President. He brings years of professional political experience, having worked for Governor Rick Perry of Texas, as well as various statewide, federal, and local races over the last four years.

Having grown up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, being conservation minded is a must. Ryder has been a lifelong skier and hiker with a passion for the outdoors. Conservation of National Parks and protecting all of our land and waters is a top priority and he is determined to work towards making conservation a conservative cause through CFER.

He will be transferring to Southern New Hampshire University to finish degrees in Homeland Security and Middle Eastern Studies.

Stephen Perkins, Leadership Development Director Stephen envisions a world where individuals are empowered to fulfill their God-given potential, where people collaborate with others, and where citizens take ownership in the well-being and success of their communities. He believe that a common-sense approach to environmental issues is vital to protecting the Earth that we have inherited from God. He currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of OUTSET, a digital media network of young and emerging conservative leaders. A senior at the University of Texas at Arlington, Stephen will graduate in 2017 with a degree in political science. Originally from Houston, he now lives and works in the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex. @Stephen_Perkins

Stephen Perkins, Leadership Development Director

Stephen envisions a world where individuals are empowered to fulfill their God-given potential, where people collaborate with others, and where citizens take ownership in the well-being and success of their communities. He believe that a common-sense approach to environmental issues is vital to protecting the Earth that we have inherited from God.

He currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of OUTSET, a digital media network of young and emerging conservative leaders.

A senior at the University of Texas at Arlington, Stephen will graduate in 2017 with a degree in political science. Originally from Houston, he now lives and works in the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex.

@Stephen_Perkins

 
Elise Yost, Social Media Director Elise is a junior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington majoring political science and minoring in psychology. On campus, she is a member of Alpha Xi Delta, UNCW Dance Company, and UNCW College Republicans, where she currently serves as their Administrative Vice President. In 2016, Elise joined Future Female Leaders as a contributor and is now one of their cabinet members. She is very passionate about closing the gap between young female voters and the Republican Party. During the summer of 2016, she spent the majority of her time door knocking and phone banking for conservative candidates. Having grown up in Appleton, Wisconsin, Elise is a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers and looks forward to many more Super Bowl victories. In her free time, she can be found dancing, sleeping on Wrightsville Beach, or laughing with her friends and family. 

Elise Yost, Social Media Director

Elise is a junior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington majoring political science and minoring in psychology. On campus, she is a member of Alpha Xi Delta, UNCW Dance Company, and UNCW College Republicans, where she currently serves as their Administrative Vice President.

In 2016, Elise joined Future Female Leaders as a contributor and is now one of their cabinet members. She is very passionate about closing the gap between young female voters and the Republican Party. During the summer of 2016, she spent the majority of her time door knocking and phone banking for conservative candidates.

Having grown up in Appleton, Wisconsin, Elise is a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers and looks forward to many more Super Bowl victories. In her free time, she can be found dancing, sleeping on Wrightsville Beach, or laughing with her friends and family. 

Conor Beck, Finance Director

Conor Beck, Finance Director

Eric Lagergren, Digital Strategy Eric is a software engineer from Washington state. Prior entering the technology industry, Eric volunteered for a state representative which sparked his passion for politics. Eric has over four years of grassroots experience running campaigns, working for independent expenditures, and serving on the executive boards of several political organizations. Eric appreciates having grown up in a state with four seasons, even if it does drizzle nine months out of the year. He considers himself lucky that his state offers luscious rain forests, sprawling deserts and plateaus, gorgeous mountains, and almost 160 miles of pristine coastline. His desire to keep the Pacific Northwest beautiful and healthy drives his interest in conservation.   When he’s not working (or stuck in miles of I-5 traffic), you’ll probably find Eric outdoors hiking or shooting, at the gym, or fixing the latest broken part on his little old Corolla. @elagergren

Eric Lagergren, Digital Strategy

Eric is a software engineer from Washington state. Prior entering the technology industry, Eric volunteered for a state representative which sparked his passion for politics. Eric has over four years of grassroots experience running campaigns, working for independent expenditures, and serving on the executive boards of several political organizations.

Eric appreciates having grown up in a state with four seasons, even if it does drizzle nine months out of the year. He considers himself lucky that his state offers luscious rain forests, sprawling deserts and plateaus, gorgeous mountains, and almost 160 miles of pristine coastline. His desire to keep the Pacific Northwest beautiful and healthy drives his interest in conservation.  

When he’s not working (or stuck in miles of I-5 traffic), you’ll probably find Eric outdoors hiking or shooting, at the gym, or fixing the latest broken part on his little old Corolla.

@elagergren

 
Josh De Ford, Graphic Design Josh is a conservative activist and commentator based out of Pensacola, Florida. A college freshman with a major in Graphic Design, Josh assists political organisations and candidates with communications and design. Aside from working field operations and communications for local and statewide campaigns, he also has been a contributor for OUTSET Magazine since early 2015.  Josh grew up in Calgary, Alberta, but moved to the United States in 2008, and has since lived in nearly every part of the country realizing the importance of preserving our environment and cultures. He believes that we have been entrusted by our God with a beautiful world that is ours to utilize but not to do so carelessly.  Josh is working to portray the vision and goals of CFER with professional and modern design in a way that will resonate with everyday Americans.

Josh De Ford, Graphic Design

Josh is a conservative activist and commentator based out of Pensacola, Florida. A college freshman with a major in Graphic Design, Josh assists political organisations and candidates with communications and design. Aside from working field operations and communications for local and statewide campaigns, he also has been a contributor for OUTSET Magazine since early 2015. 

Josh grew up in Calgary, Alberta, but moved to the United States in 2008, and has since lived in nearly every part of the country realizing the importance of preserving our environment and cultures. He believes that we have been entrusted by our God with a beautiful world that is ours to utilize but not to do so carelessly. 

Josh is working to portray the vision and goals of CFER with professional and modern design in a way that will resonate with everyday Americans.

Jorge Villarreal, Policy Staff Jorge Villarreal is an Agricultural Communications major at Texas Tech University. In May 2016, at age 18, he was selected as an At-Large Alternate Delegate from Texas to the Republican National Convention. He was named Houston Young Republicans Officer of the Year in 2017. He has previously worked as the TX 9th Congressional District Chair for Jeb Bush, Field Organizer for State Representative Sarah Davis, Houston Council Member Jack Christie, and served as the East Regional Vice Chair for the Texas Federation of College Republicans and Political Director/Communications Director for the Houston Young Republicans. Outside of politics and school, you can find him traveling across The South or watching and cheering for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Texas A&M Football or New Jersey Devils. @jorgvillarreal

Jorge Villarreal, Policy Staff

Jorge Villarreal is an Agricultural Communications major at Texas Tech University. In May 2016, at age 18, he was selected as an At-Large Alternate Delegate from Texas to the Republican National Convention. He was named Houston Young Republicans Officer of the Year in 2017.

He has previously worked as the TX 9th Congressional District Chair for Jeb Bush, Field Organizer for State Representative Sarah Davis, Houston Council Member Jack Christie, and served as the East Regional Vice Chair for the Texas Federation of College Republicans and Political Director/Communications Director for the Houston Young Republicans.

Outside of politics and school, you can find him traveling across The South or watching and cheering for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Texas A&M Football or New Jersey Devils.

@jorgvillarreal

Brandon Neuman, Legal Director As an Eagle Scout and SoCal native, Brandon enjoys spending time outdoors. Coming from a family of farmers, businessmen, and educators, he believes that future generations should also be able to enjoy our natural resources—which is why he advocates for using them responsibly. He graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University with a B.A. in History, Political Science, and Philosophy, and received a J.D. and Business Law Certificate from the University of Southern California, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal. He is also a member of the Federalist Society and the ABA Standing Committee on National Security. Whenever escapes his desk, he can be found relaxing on a mountain-bound lake, exploring the Santa Monica Mountains, or traveling around the west coast. @BrandonDNeuman

Brandon Neuman, Legal Director

As an Eagle Scout and SoCal native, Brandon enjoys spending time outdoors. Coming from a family of farmers, businessmen, and educators, he believes that future generations should also be able to enjoy our natural resources—which is why he advocates for using them responsibly.

He graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University with a B.A. in History, Political Science, and Philosophy, and received a J.D. and Business Law Certificate from the University of Southern California, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal. He is also a member of the Federalist Society and the ABA Standing Committee on National Security.

Whenever escapes his desk, he can be found relaxing on a mountain-bound lake, exploring the Santa Monica Mountains, or traveling around the west coast.

@BrandonDNeuman