Ex-Hill, business aides join conservative energy group

A former Capitol Hill aide and U.S. Chamber of Commerce official are joining Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions as the conservative energy group aims to broaden its reach with congressional and state lawmakers.The organization is tapping Brandon Audap as vice president of government relations, a newly created position. Audap comes to CRES from the Solar Energy Industries Association, where he was director of federal affairs. In his new role, he will direct the organization’s strategy in Congress and with federal agencies.

Colin Finnegan, recently an outreach manager at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, is also joining CRES in a newly created job as coalitions manager. Finnegan will work with allied organizations and “expand state-based advocacy,” according to CRES.

“The expertise of our growing and talented team of Republican operatives expands our ability to engage with Republican policymakers to advance conservative clean energy solutions in Washington and in state capitals across America,” said Heather Reams, who is becoming CRES’s executive director. Reams previously was managing director.

The organization is one of several conservative energy groups positioning itself now that Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives. The midterm elections allowed CRES to “fortify” its brand after 28 Republican lawmakers backed by the group won election or re-election, according to people familiar with internal operations.

In a statement, Audap said he would advocate for a “broader portfolio” of clean energy technologies. The stated mission of CRES is “to engage Republican policymakers and the public about commonsense, conservative solutions to address our nation’s need for abundant, reliable energy while preserving our environment.”

Audap worked for SEIA for four years prior to joining CRES, including during the solar organization’s push last year to block the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported solar components. Prior to that, he was a senior director for the Policy and Taxation Group and director of federal affairs for the National Roofing Contractors Association.

A decade ago, Audap worked for former House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.).

Reams also once worked on Capitol Hill for former Sen. Robert Smith (R-N.H.) in the late 1990s. For the past two decades, she served in various nonprofit and corporate roles, including as president of Conexus Strategies, a communications firm. She joined CRES in 2016.

The previous CRES executive director, James Dozier, will remain on as president of the CRES board.

Scroll to Top