Meet Our Team at HQ

Bryan C. Williams, Chairman

Chairman Bryan C. Williams is a 35-year veteran of Summit County Republican Party politics.  He was appointed to the county Executive Committee 1988, Executive Vice Chairman in 2004 and Chairman in 2015.  He has served the Ohio Republican Party as an elected committeeman, Assistant Treasurer, and Vice Chairman since the mid 2000’s.

Over the years Chairman Williams served in many political capacities, including co-county volunteer chair for Governor Voinovich’s 1990 campaign, 1990 campaign manager for Juvenile Court Judge Saundra Robinson, 1996-2004 elected state representative, 2004 – 2010 director of the Summit County Board of Elections, 2011-2013 elected state board of education and in 2013 was appointed to serve as board member of the Summit County Board of Elections – a position he holds to this day.  Williams was appointed University of Akron Board Trustee by Governor DeWine in 2021.

Williams learned from Chairman Alex Arshinkoff that “politics is full of big ups and big downs.”  These are some of the big ups!

Melissa Wilkinson, Executive Director

As a new face to HQ, Melissa looks forward to working with existing and future candidates.  As former MCO Regional Manager, she worked with numerous area business owners in Human Resources.  She is a past Clerk of Council for the City of Cuyahoga Falls and Woodridge School Board Member.  She has also worked at the Board of Elections and as a PEO.  She is active as a CASA/Guardian at Litem for the Summit County Juvenile Court and has been a past community member working on the Cuyahoga Falls Board of Zoning Appeals and the Cuyahoga Falls Parks and Recreation.  Stop in and say hello, grab a cookie and maybe even meet her furry friend, Natty Cooper.

Cierra Shehorn, Communications Administrator

Cierra began her career campaigning across northeast Ohio during the 2018 Election as a regional field director with the Ohio Republican Party. She later worked in Columbus as a government relations staff assistant with The CJR Group and then at the State Medical Board of Ohio as an assistant to the Executive Director and Stakeholder Liaison, assisting the agency’s government advocacy and constituent affairs efforts. Most recently, Cierra served as the public information officer at the Summit County Domestic Relations Court. She is coming to GOP Headquarters after years of volunteering for the party and candidates. 

A NJ native, Cierra is proud to call Ohio home after moving to the state five years ago.  She is completing her B.A. in Political Science at the University of Akron and is a member of the Summit County Republican Party Executive Committee, the Summit County Chapter of the Ohio Federation of Republican Women, and several other republican organizations. Cierra resides in Mogadore with her husband Andrew and their two shelties, Sonny and Felix.

Patrick Cook, Assistant to the Executive Director

Bio coming soon.

Ian Dunn, Intern

New to the party, Ian Dunn is currently working as an intern. He is studying at the University of Akron in the Masters of Applied Politics program. Prior to this, he attended both the University of Akron and Kent state while working to achieve his Bachelors of Arts in history. He is looking forward to working with the many campaigns that are running in the current election cycle and those that will come in the future. He has worked in the county in a few different industry roles over his professional career. He is an Ohio resident who has lived all of his life in both Summit and Portage counties. Currently, Ian lives in the Kent area with his German shepherd Vespa. 

Central Committee Officers

Bryan C. Williams

Chairman

Joe Masich

Executive Vice Chairman

Kurt Laubinger

Vice Chairman

Maxine Blake

Vice Chairman

Jim Laria

Vice Chairman

Karen Arshinkoff

Vice Chairman

Bob Young

Secretary

Nancy Collin

Assistant Secretary

Andrew Shehorn

Treasurer

Deborah Carr

Assistant Treasurer

Executive Committee Officers

Bryan  C. Williams

Chairman

Lance Reed

Executive Vice Chairman

Deidre Hanlon

Vice Chairman

John Fairweather

Vice Chairman

John Kim 

Vice Chairman

Debbie Walsh

Vice Chairman

Corinne Hoover Six

Secretary

Mike Rasor

Assistant Secretary

Ray Weber

Treasurer

Gary Hagen

Assistant Treasurer

Ray C. Bliss

Ray Charles Bliss (December 16, 1907 – August 6, 1981) was one of the important national U.S. Republican Party leaders of the 1960s and served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1965 to 1969. He helped to pull the Republican party back together after Barry Goldwater‘s defeat in 1964 and his work culminated in the election of Richard M. Nixon as president in 1968. He had been Ohio Republican state chair (1949–1965) and was a delegate to Republican National Convention from Ohio in 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1972. In his reflections on the Campaign of 1960, then Vice President Richard Nixon, described Ray Bliss as, “one of the best political craftsman of the nation.” Nixon attributed his success amongst Democratic and independent voters in Ohio to Bliss’ belief in the “simple axiom that it is the responsibility of a party chairman ‘not to eliminate but to assimilate.'”[1]

Bliss was an Akron, Ohio native and 1935 graduate of the University of Akron where he was initiated as a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. Bliss is the namesake of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics established in 1986 at the University of Akron to promote citizen knowledge and participation in the political process, values in which Bliss strongly believed. Bliss served over nine years on the University of Akron board of trustees and was chair of the board at the time of his death.

Alex R. Arshinkoff

Alex R. Arshinkoff represented the Republican Party on the county, state and national levels.  As the son of Macedonian immigrants, Alex loved sharing stories about his family history and Macedonian tradition.  Alex grew up in Firestone Park. In 1973, he graduated from Jackson Memorial High School, where he was active in student government. While attending the University of Akron, Alex was a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.

Ray C. Bliss, who had been both an Ohio and National Republican Party Chairman, was Alex’s mentor in politics and friend. In 1978, at the age of 23, with the backing of Bliss, Alex became the Summit County Republican Party Chairman. He worked tirelessly building the minority Republican Party into a party that could be competitive in Summit County races. He accomplished this by establishing a strong grassroots political structure, fundraising and recruiting top quality candidates.

During his nearly 40 years as the Republican County Chairman, Republicans across the country recognized Alex’s political acumen. In 2008, former President George H. W. Bush, congratulated Alex on building one of the “strongest, most successful urban Republican organizations in the nation.” President Bush complimented Alex’s leadership in developing the finest local party in the whole country.

In addition to supporting local and state candidates, Alex supported President George W. Bush when he ran for President of the United States. Alex and Karen cherished their visit with President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at their ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Alex began his service on the Summit County Board of Elections in 1978, a position he maintained through 2017.  In 2006, when the entire nation was rushing to implement touch screen computer voting, Alex insisted on paper ballots, drawing upon lessons learned from Chairman Ray Bliss. Since then, paper balloting has become the national standard for election integrity.

Alex was honored to serve on the University of Akron Board of Trustees from 1992-2001. While on the Board, Alex served four terms as Board Chair from 1997-2001. During that time, Alex was committed to major facility investments at the University of Akron. This vision and dedication launched the New Landscape for Learning initiative, which resulted in many building and grounds enhancements at the University, including the Student Union construction. Alex loved the University of Akron and understood it is a critical part of our community.

When asked what is the most important thing a person must know to be successful in politics, Alex would instantly say, “Your word is your bond. People have to know they can trust your word.” Alex had a profound way of sharing his words, often times with passion, humor and quick wit. But Alex will be forever known for another quality he frequently championed – loyalty.

“Politics is full of big ups and big downs,” he would frequently say.  The Alex R. Arshinkoff Internship in Applied Politics was established in 1995 at the University of Akron still funds students with internships at the SCRP Headquarters.

2022 Finance Dinner tickets now available!
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