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AKC's Taking Command
Meet the Government Relations Team

In addition to our new director, the AKC Government Relations team represents a diverse wealth of experience and expertise. Each member of the team works to protect the rights of fanciers, breeders, and responsible dog owners.

Phil Guidry, Legislative Analyst
As the Government Relations Department's Legislative Analyst, Phil evaluates proposed legislation for content, context, and legislative intent, and provides reasoned legal opinions regarding the potential impact of proposed legislation on the purebred dog community. He holds a Juris Doctor in Civil Laws degree from Loyola University - New Orleans College of Law, where he served as a student ambassador and co-authored an April 2003 article regarding legal ethics in the American Bar Association's journal The Young Lawyer. He is also a member of Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity.

Phil's AKC experience began in the summer of 2002 when he participated in AKC's Summer Intern Program. He returned to AKC in early-2006 as a member of the Internal Consulting Group, and joined GR in January 2007. He was co-chair of Raleigh, NC's 2007 Responsible Dog Ownership Day.

In 1990, Phil began his longtime involvement in purebred dogs by competing in junior showmanship, the highlight of which was representing the United States in the International Junior Handler Finals at the 1994 Crufts Dog Show in England. He is a breeder/owner/handler of cocker spaniels, and is a past President of the Louisiana Kennel Club.

Sarah Sprouse, Government Relations Manager
Sarah has been with the American Kennel Club since 2005. Prior to coming to AKC, Sarah served as Chief of Staff to a California State Assemblyman, managing his legislative package, staffing him on several committees, meeting with constituents and advising on votes. She also worked for North Carolina Victory 2004, where she coordinated get-out-the-vote efforts in Wake County.

During the battle over California AB 1634, Sarah traveled to CA to meet with legislators and staff to educate them about canine legislation issues. She has conducted trainings on how to effectively communicate with state legislators, and hosted Lobby Days in Pennsylvania and California.

Sarah has a degree from University of California Davis. She is the primary contact on local initiatives and works with local clubs and fanciers to promote legislation that protects responsible owners and breeders from unnecessary regulations and fees.

Jennifer Clark, Government Relations Administrator
Jennifer has recently relocated from Phoenix, Arizona, where she worked for six years as a lobbyist. Prior to joining AKC, Jennifer served as the Legislative Analyst for the Center for Arizona Policy, a non-profit think tank, where she worked on a broad range of social issues.She also worked as Associate Lobbyist for the Aarons Company, a Phoenix- based public policy firm, where she advocated on issues ranging from tourism to health care, and served as Associate Executive Director for a statewide trade association.She has held a variety of other positions ranging from an internship in a U.S. Senator’s office in Washington, D.C., to planetarium show demonstrator at her hometown’s science museum in Columbus, Ohio.

Jennifer graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Messiah College in Grantham, PA, and also studied at Temple University in Philadelphia. Jennifer will oversee much of the department’s PAC activities, as well as department communications and many other projects.

Melissa Ferrell, Research Coordinator
Prior to joining AKC in the summer of 2004, Melissa was an Engineering Technician for the City of Wilmington, NC, where she managed the GIS Database for Engineering, Planning and Public Utilities for the local government. She created customized queries, reports and analysis from Infrastructure data for the purpose of budgeting and state/federal grants.

Since coming to AKC, she has introduced and implemented new data analysis software and was also instrumental in the coordination of an interactive web site designed for AKC’s grassroots members to easily communicate with their legislators. Melissa also creates, designs, and maintains relational databases dealing with legislative issues that impact dog owners on local, state and federal government levels.

Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of North Carolina-Wilmington.