Office of Governmental Relations

The Governmental Relations office (OGR) serves as the University of Illinois liaison to members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, the Illinois General Assembly, the Office of the Governor, agencies of the federal and state governments, key local officials, and major higher education associations.

Federal Relations

Federal relations staff work in Washington, DC and Illinois, on behalf of the University of Illinois.

State Relations

State relations are coordinated by a staff member who spends much of her time in Springfield.


Governmental Relations also coordinates the Council on Government Relations and External Relations (COGER).


Applications for the 2019-2020 OGR Fellowship are now open.  All interested U of I System students should send cover letters and resumes to Emily Tuttle at by February 15, 2019.


Jennifer Creasey, Senior Director of State Relations

Jennifer joined the University of Illinois in March 2014, stepping into the role of Director of State Relations. Jennifer represents the University in both the Capitol and the community to advance its priorities. She is also responsible for outreach, state legislative advocacy efforts, strategic partnerships, and management or relationships around the state. Through this work, she works very closely with the U of I legislative caucus and U of I alumni throughout the state.

Read Jennifer's full bio.

Paul Weinberger, Director of Federal Relations

Paul joined the University of Illinois in March 2017. Most recently, Paul served as vice president of congressional and public affairs for the U.S. Government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), overseeing communications and outreach strategies. Before joining MCC, he served as director of congressional relations for the U.S. Peace Corps. Earlier, Paul served as legislative director for U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). An attorney, Paul also served as counsel for the House Committee on Government Reform and as a staff member for the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Paul is based in Washington, DC in the U of I System's federal office near Capitol Hill.

Melissa Haas, Associate Director of Federal Relations

Melissa joined the University of Illinois' federal relations team in May 2013. Prior to that, she worked on Capitol Hill for U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) for several years. Melissa spent her first three years working for OGR in its DC office and in May 2016, moved back to Chicago to be campus-based.

Read Melissa's full bio.

Deon Thomas, Visiting Community Relations Coordinator

Deon Thomas joined the OGR team as a visiting community relations coordinator in November 2017. Prior to joining OGR, Deon was the Director of UIC Engage, a community outreach program through the College of Education. The Engage program through education and mentoring granted him the opportunity to be on the frontlines with community leaders as well as the young people in the program and throughout the community. Before that, he served as assistant coach of the UIC Flames men's basketball team. Deon attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he played basketball for the Fighting Illini. Deon is based out of OGR's Chicago office.

Emily Tuttle, Federal Relations Specialist

Emily joined the Office of Governmental Relations as the inaugural student fellow in 2017, and now serves as the Federal Relations Specialist.  Prior to joining the OGR team last year, she interned on Capitol Hill with the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health and Congressman Rodney Davis. Emily has a bachelors degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in business administration with a minor in political science. She is based in Washington, DC in the U of I System’s federal office near Capitol Hill.

Brenna Molinare, OGR Fellow

Brenna Molinare, a senior at Urbana, is joining the office as a political science and communications major. Previously, Brenna has interned with State Senator Michael Hastings, and for a political PAC. This summer, she is interning with the University of Illinois Alumni Alliance as the communications coordinator for Illinois Connection. On campus, Brenna serves as president of the Urbana Student Advocacy Coalition, a group of students focused exclusively on advocating for higher education, and serves on the Political Science Advisory Board.

Marvin Slaughter, OGR Fellow

Marvin Slaughter, a senior at Chicago, joins the office as a political science and economics major. Marvin has also interned with State Senator Michael Hastings, and for the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. On campus, he is a member of the UIC Action Plan to Increase Civic Learning, Political Engagement, and Voting Rates, and serves as president of the Chicago chapter of the Student Advocacy Coalition. He was recently awarded the Newman Civic Fellowship for his dedication to improving community life and educating students on the importance of civic and social responsibility.

Annual Report

The 2018 Office of Governmental Relations annual report is now available.

IL state Capitol building and the Washington Monument in DC