Ohioans should know that we’ve recruited a strong and experienced team of professionals to join me in carrying out the responsibilities of this office. Each of these great Ohioans shares my vision, passion for public service and commitment to doing what is right — and all of them will make Ohio proud.
— Frank LaRose, Ohio Secretary of State-Elect

Frank’s Leadership Team

Click on a leadership team member’s name to learn more.



Merle Madrid

Chief of Staff

Merle Madrid has worked in and around Ohio state government for nearly two decades, most recently serving as Vice President of External Affairs for UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune 5 company. Prior to that, Madrid was Legislative Director from 2015-2017 and Public Liaison Director from 2012-2015 for Governor John Kasich.

Madrid’s work history also includes experience as the Director of Political and Candidate Education at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and in the administrations of former Lt. Governor Bruce Johnson  and former Treasurer of State Joe Deters.

Madrid is a native of Youngstown, and a proud alumnus of The Ohio State University.


Kim Burns

Director of Operations and Assistant Secretary of State

Kimberly Kutschbach serves as Director of Policy for Governor John Kasich where she works on developing and implementing key policy initiatives. Prior to this position, Kim served as Director of Cabinet Affairs and Assistant Chief Legal Counsel in the Governor’s Office. Previously, she was an assistant chief legal counsel for the Ohio Auditor of State and served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Warren County.  Kim earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from The Ohio State University and her law degree from the University of Cincinnati.

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Mandi Grandjean

Director of Elections and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Amanda (Mandi) M. Grandjean has served as an attorney at Bricker & Eckler LLP, where her practice focused on election law, campaign finance, public policy, ballot initiatives, ethics and compliance. Prior to joining Bricker, Mandi interned for Speaker John Boehner of the U.S. House of Representatives, served as a media liaison for the U.S. Embassy of the Republic of Iraq, worked as a legal intern with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office and as a law clerk for Judge Daniel R. Hawkins, and served as a research assistant for Professors L. Camille Hèbert and Dan Tokaji. Mandi attended Miami University, where she graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in Journalism and Political Science.

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Allison DeSantis

Director of Business Services and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Allison DeSantis is an accomplished attorney who has spent much of her career in public service focused on business and regulatory law. Since 2008, she has served as the Director of Business Services for the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, overseeing efforts to improve the quality of services provided to the business community through a number of innovative modernizations. In 2015, Allison served as president of the International Association of Commercial Administrators (IACA), a professional association for government administrators of business organization and secured transaction systems. Allison earned both her undergraduate degree in communications and juris doctorate from the University of Dayton.


Grant Shaffer

Grant Shaffer, Director of External Affairs and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Grant Shaffer most recently served as campaign manager for the successful Frank LaRose for Secretary of State campaign. He previously worked for Congressman Steve Stivers as District Director and as Deputy Chief of Staff, and in the Ohio Department of Veterans Services. His previous campaign experience includes being a partner at Winning Dynamic, a political consulting firm, and as National Field Director and New Hampshire State Director for New Day for America during the 2016 presidential campaign. Shaffer holds Bachelor's degrees in Business and Political Science from Miami University.

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Jon Keeling

Director of Communication

Jon Keeling has served within the administration of Ohio Governor John R. Kasich since 2011, most recently as the governor's Press Secretary.

Previously he worked as Communication Director at the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services, Deputy Communication Director at Kasich for America, and Deputy Communication Director in the governor's office.

Prior to the Kasich administration, Keeling worked as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as an appointee in the administration of President George W. Bush within the U.S. Department of Education, and as a legislative assistant for Congressman Patrick J. Tiberi. He is a graduate of Kenyon College where he earned a degree in Political Science with a Public Policy Concentration.


Patrick Piccininni

Chief Legal Counsel

Patrick J. Piccininni, of Upper Arlington, Ohio has been a practicing attorney for nearly three decades and has been serving as Chief Legal Counsel for the Ohio Department of Transportation for the past eight years.  

His legal experience spans both the private and public sectors as an Assistant Attorney General and a Franklin County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. Prior to his public service, he represented clients in a variety of matters and has appeared in courts in Ohio, Florida and Connecticut.  

He is a member of the American, Ohio State and Columbus Bar Associations. He is rated an “AV-Preeminent” lawyer with Martindale Hubbell and in 2014 was named as a “Top Lawyer in Central Ohio” by Columbus CEO magazine.  

He received his bachelor degrees in History and Political Science from The Ohio State University in 1988 and his law degree from The University of Dayton School of Law in 1991.