Former White House aide takes helm at Capitol Hill Christian outreach

‘Incredibly Honored’ to lead the Center for Christian Statesmanship, says new executive director William Russell

WASHINGTON — The D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship in Washington, D.C., has named William Russell its new executive director. Russell, who previously served as Deputy Director of Presidential Advance and Trip Director at the White House under President Donald Trump, said he is “incredibly honored” to lead the Center.

“I’m excited to engage with both elected officials and Hill staffers in a deep, meaningful way,” Russell said. “I look forward to helping them live out their faith through their work, walking with them through the challenges Capitol Hill brings, as well as bringing much-needed encouragement to people in Congress.”

Russell, 33, has over 10 years of experience in government affairs, public relations and operations. He began his career on Capitol Hill, serving members from his home state of Mississippi: Senator Thad Cochran and Congressman Alan Nunnelee. He lives just outside Washington in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife and family.

Dr. Robert J. Pacienza, President and CEO of the Center’s parent organization, Fort Lauderdale-based Coral Ridge Ministries, an evangelical media outreach, said he is thrilled to have Russell lead the Center. “Will brings a deep Christian commitment, a heart for people, and extensive experience in government to his new job at the Center. I know that background will open doors and make him an effective leader at the Center as he brings Christ’s light to Capitol Hill.”

Russell replaces Lauren Cooley who will continue to lead the Institute for Faith and Culture, an outreach of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, and will now serve as chairman of the Center for Christian Statesmanship advisory board.

The Center for Christian Statesmanship is a spiritually based outreach to men and women in positions of influence and authority in our nation’s government. Founded in 1995 by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, the Center exists on Capitol Hill for the purposes of training and equipping present and future political leaders in the areas of evangelism and statesmanship. The Center serves representatives, senators, staffers, and interns through evangelism, Bible study, worldview and policy briefing, and leadership training.

The Center honored Sen. Tim Scott with its annual Distinguished Christian Statesman award in September 2023. Past recipients include Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, Rep. Vicki Hartzler, and Sen. James Lankford.

Additional information is available at


Strategically located in Washington, D.C., the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship serves representatives, senators, staffers, and interns through evangelism, Bible study, worldview and policy briefing, and leadership training. Established in 1995, the Center’s mission is to support, equip and empower Christian statesmanship and inspire the next generation of Christian leaders to serve God and man in the halls of government. The Center’s founder, D. James Kennedy, had the vision to send missionaries into the “modern Rome” of our day. The Center continues to do this by resourcing and equipping elected officials, their staff and lay people eager to serve in the public square. For more information visit

Kristin U. Cole
D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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