Our Team

 

Patrick Jennings has 20 years of experience in Kentucky politics having worked on campaigns, congressional staff and as an association and contract lobbyist.  Patrick has worked 17 Sessions of the Kentucky General Assembly.

 

In 1998, Patrick served as a campaign assistant to the successful reelection of Congressman Ed Whitfield in Western Kentucky.  Also, from 1998-1999, he served as a legislative aide to Senator Mitch McConnell in his DC office handling tobacco, immigration and agriculture issues.  While working for Senator McConnell, Patrick assisted the Senator in securing the first ever federal crop disaster assistance to Kentucky tobacco farmers through the Tobacco Loss Assistance Payment program. 

Patrick Jennings
Managing Partner
patrick@commonwealthalliances.com   |   502-379-2783

He returned to Kentucky at the end of 1999 and became the chief lobbyist for the Kentucky Farm Bureau, Kentucky’s largest lobbying organization with over 440,000 members.  For the next five years, Patrick managed Kentucky Farm Bureau’s team of 5 lobbyists working on state and federal issues with particular focus on the Kentucky General Assembly.  Working for Senator McConnell and Kentucky Farm Bureau, Patrick was involved in negotiations on the federal tobacco buyout and FDA regulation of tobacco products.  In 2003, Patrick assisted Ernie Fletcher, candidate for Kentucky Governor in policy development for his campaign and served on the transition team for Governor Elect Fletcher and managed the transition team for the new Commissioner of Agriculture.

 

Patrick began contract lobbying in 2004 as Director of State Affairs for Bates Capitol Group.  In 2008, Patrick established Commonwealth Alliances, a contract lobbying firm that has served executive branch and legislative clients such as Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, AT&T, Swedish Match North America, and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. 

 

Recently Patrick also served as a member Governor Bevin’s transition team, was a part of the Kentucky delegation at the GOP National Convention and served as co-chair of the 2016 Lincoln Day annual fundraising dinner for the Kentucky Republican Party. He is also a current member of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Kentucky.

 

Patrick earned a BA in History and Political Science from Emory University.  He is happily married with two wonderful children.

Karen Thomas Lentz
Partner

Karen Thomas Lentz has 30 years of experience in Kentucky State Government.  She has held positions both in the legislative and executive branch.   She has 20 years of experience in government relations representing Fortune 500 companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Kentucky associations such as the Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association, and nonprofits such as the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana. From 1985-1993, Karen served as Executive Assistant to the Kentucky Speaker of the House.  Her area of responsibility was primarily legislation relating to health care, insurance and transportation.

karen@commonwealthalliances.com   |   502-592-6876

She also served as the Speaker’s designee on several health-related commissions.  She researched legislation, met with proponents and opponents, and prepared bill analyses for the Speaker and members of the General Assembly.  In 1993, Karen joined Governor Brereton Jones’ Administration.  She was appointed Chief of Staff to Kentucky’s Public Health Commissioner and served as Legislative Liaison for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.  In 1994, in addition to duties with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, she served as Legislative Liaison for Governor Brereton Jones.

In 1996, Karen began lobbying with her father, former State Representative Sam Thomas.  During the 11 years they lobbied together, they built a very successful business that focused primarily on health care and professional licensure issues.  In 2007, Karen merged her lobbying business with Commonwealth Alliances.

Based on her career experience, Karen has a wealth of knowledge about Kentucky’s executive and legislative branches of government.  With more than 30 years of trust and personal friendships, her expertise is invaluable to our clients.

Karen is a graduate of Sullivan University.  She and her husband Jerry have one son, Cory.

"I have had the pleasure of working with Karen on both legislative and executive branch issues for nearly 20 years. She is one of the most thorough and detail-oriented lobbyists

and has great relationships with both Democrat and Republican policy makers. 

 

- Gordon Rosenberry, Director, State Government Affairs, Johnson and Johnson

 
Kate Wood Hall
Partner

Kate Wood Hall has worked in Kentucky politics and government for over 12 years and has been a member of the Commonwealth Alliances team for over two years. Prior to joining Commonwealth Alliances, she served as former Governor Steve Beshear’s Legislative Liaison and Director of the Governor’s Office of Legislative Services. During her time in this position, she was the Governor’s senior advisor on issues relating to the legislature and state legislation, and worked on key policy achievements including curbing prescription drug abuse, raising Kentucky’s dropout age to 18 and addressing state government’s pension crisis. She also actively worked with the Governor and other members of his senior staff and Cabinet Officials on policy development and strategic decision making.

In 2004, Kate began her work in politics working on a congressional election in Alabama and as PAC director for minority leadership in the Virginia House of Delegates. In 2007, Kate returned to her home state to work as Deputy Finance Director for candidates running for Governor of Kentucky. Kate earned a BA in Political Science from Transylvania University in 2004. In 2013, she completed her MBA at the University of Louisville College of Business. Kate was raised in Brownsville, Kentucky where her parents and much of family still reside. Kate and her husband, David, are the proud parents of 3 beautiful young children; Katherine James, Truman Matthew and Cordelia Wood.

kate@commonwealthalliances.com   |    270-791-1208

"Kate Wood Hall has been instrumental in forwarding our legislative agenda and developing influential relationships at the Capitol.  She provides personable, highly strategic guidance allowing us to engage in productive dialogue with the legislators who are best suited to address our needs with impact.  Kate is accessible to us, diligent in monitoring our interests, and invested in our success!"

- Janice C. Smith Ph.D. CCC-SLP
President, Kentucky Speech-Language Hearing Association

 

Julia Bright Crigler is an experienced political operative who has served in senior roles in numerous legislative and statewide races where she's built a network across the Commonwealth.

 

In 2012 Julia served as the political director for the Kentucky House Republican Campaign Caucus Committee.  In this role, Crigler managed more than 25 key legislative races in Kentucky. It was during this election cycle that House Republicans made significant gains and grew their membership to the highest in Kentucky history prior to taking the majority. She also served in 2012 as an alternate delegate for Kentucky at GOP National Convention in Tampa.

julia@brightstrategiesllc.com        |         502-548-7500
Julia Bright Crigler
Strategic Consultant

Julia spent the next three years in the Koch Network as the Kentucky state director for Americans for Prosperity (AFP), taking an active role in legislative efforts related to labor reform, school choice, and occupational licensing reform. She has been published in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes on right to work and the repeal of the prevailing wage and their impact on Kentucky. In 2017 her legislative efforts leading AFP Kentucky on school choice were recognized by the Policy Innovators in Education Network as the part of the “Best Ensemble” award for the Kentucky charter school bill. She started her own government relations firm, Bright Strategies, in 2017 and formed a strategic partnership with Commonwealth Alliances.

 

Currently, Julia serves on the board for the Cabbage Patch Settlement House, a Louisville non-profit that seeks to equip and empower at-risk children, youth and their families to be self-sufficient by helping them maximize their economic, educational, emotional, moral, physical, social and spiritual potential. She graduated from Western Kentucky University with a bachelor of arts in political science and psychology.  She and her husband Chase live in Prospect, KY with their daughter, Piper.

"Julia's pragmatism unearths pain points. Her persistence creates clarity and

her persuasiveness drives solutions."

 

- Beau Necco, CEO of Necco which provides adoptions,

foster care and social services in Kentucky and is a client of Bright Strategies, LLC.

 

Collin Johnson brings nearly a decade of legislative and non-profit experience, serving in a variety of roles for State and Federal elected officials and Kentucky based organizations.  

In 2011, Collin got his start working in Washington D.C. with the National Association of Evangelicals lobbying Congress and then as an intern for Congressman Brett Guthrie and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  In 2012, Collin was hired by Senator McConnell to work full-time in his Louisville office where he helped hundreds of Kentuckians manage issues with Federal Government Agencies, routinely working with the State Department, Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service. Three years later, Collin began working as Director of Outreach at Open Door of Hope, a men's recovery center in Shelbyville, KY where he managed all fundraising, grant writing and community relation efforts.    

Collin@commonwealthalliances.com   |      502-487-0709
Collin Johnson
Strategic Partner

Collin spent the last four years as Policy and Budget Advisor to the Kentucky House Speaker, and is excited to have staffed the first Republican House Majority in 100 years.  Collin's work has been primarily focused on the Commonwealth's Biennial Budget and Tax Reform, working hand in hand with Chairman Steven Rudy.  In 2018, Collin was a key advisor as the House passed its first budget as a Republican Majority, helping manage the $12 billion appropriation measure.  Also in 2018, Collin worked with the legislature as they passed a sweeping, pro-growth tax reform measure which saw individual and corporate income tax rates fall by a full percent.  As a result, the Commonwealth's tax competitiveness ranking pushed into the top 20 among other states.  Collin has also worked on issues related to public pension reform, Medicaid, public health, education and economic development, having staffed the House Committee on Economic Development as well as the Committee on Health and Family Services.  Collin has built lasting connections with the Kentucky General Assembly and understands the legislative process firsthand.  

Collin is a lifelong resident of Kentucky.  He graduated from Campbellsville University with a bachelor of arts in political science and holds a graduate certificate in public financial management from the University of Kentucky.  Collin is a member of the Shelby County Republican Party Executive Committee, the Shelby County Habitat for Humanity Board, the Leadership Shelby Board and an elder at Christ Community Church Shelbyville.  He and his wife Katie live in Shelby County.

205 W. Third Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
Patrick Jennings
502-379-2783
Karen Thomas Lentz
502-592-6876
Kate Wood
270-791-1208