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Sen. Cruz Announces Senior Staff Updates, Names Aaron Reitz as Chief of Staff

Names Chris Jaarda and Carl Mica as Deputy Chiefs of Staff; Steve Chartan announces departure to private sector, will continue to advise Cruz political operation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today announced several senior staff updates, including the hiring of Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz as his new chief of staff. He also named Chris Jaarda as deputy chief of staff for policy and Carl Mica as deputy chief of staff for operations. Sen. Cruz’s current chief of staff, Steve Chartan, is departing for the private sector and will continue to serve as an advisor to the Cruz political operation.

About the announcement, Sen. Cruz said:

“Steve Chartan has been an exceptional chief of staff, and a trusted top advisor and key member of my senior leadership team for over seven years. From expanding education freedom, securing critical Hurricane Harvey relief, and confirming conservative judges, to reauthorizing NASA, securing numerous NDAA provisions, and managing the transition to the Ranking Member role on the Senate Commerce Committee, Steve has been an integral part of our work to fight for Texans and advance conservative principles. I am grateful for his friendship, wise counsel, policy and procedural expertise, and steady leadership. 

“I’m excited to be bringing on an outstanding new chief of staff in Aaron Reitz. Aaron’s deep ties throughout the State of Texas and his experience defending our Nation as a Marine deployed in Afghanistan, litigating in the private sector, and leading large, strategic teams in government will all benefit my team and the millions of Texans whom I represent and serve. I’m confident his leadership will effectively guide our team as we work together to fight for jobs, freedom, and security for the Lone Star State. 

“I’m also pleased to announce the promotions of two members of my senior staff to deputy chief of staff roles: 

“Chris Jaarda has been an indispensable member of my team since joining as legislative director in 2020. Hired in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris was instrumental in our effort to fight for Texans’ freedoms and against tyrannical lockdowns and mandates. Chris has continued to excel in leading our policy team to secure numerous legislative victories and fight against the Biden administration’s misguided policies. With Chris’s deep experience in the legislative branch and his command of both policy and process, I have no doubt we will continue to lead the fight for Texas in Washington, D.C.

“Carl Mica has been an invaluable member of my team since joining as regional director for central Texas in 2015, and since 2017 the architect of our mission to be the Senator for Texas as state director. Carl is often first on the scene and diving in to help throughout the state, during natural disasters and tragedies, fighting for the working men and women of Texas to get them what they need to keep Texas safe, strong, and prosperous. Carl has long served Texas in this way, beginning with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in 1994. His deep and longstanding relationships throughout the Lone Star State and get-it-done mentality will ensure we continue to be at the forefront of advocating for Texans.”

Chartan said: 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve Senator Cruz and the state of Texas since 2015, through his 2016 presidential campaign and 2018 Senate re-elect, and most recently as his chief of staff for the last four years. I am incredibly proud of the work we have done to advocate for Texans and fight for their priorities and values.”

Reitz said:

“I’m thrilled about the opportunity to serve Senator Cruz and the 30 million Texans he represents in Washington. Senator Cruz is an absolute champion for our state and nation, and I look forward to managing one of the highest performing teams in Congress in the furtherance of his conservative, pro-Texas agenda.”

Jaarda said:

“I’m proud to work side-by-side with Senator Cruz and his remarkable team every day, and I’m honored to have this new opportunity to serve the people of Texas in this new role as deputy chief. Senator Cruz has been a fearless advocate for every Texan: When others were still talking about lockdowns in the summer of 2020, we worked on a bill to get people safely back to work and kids safely back to school. While Congress was recklessly spending Senator Cruz was advocating for fiscal responsibility. We’ve fought for individual liberty and against vaccine mandates, we successfully ended the Defense Department’s mandate, we’ve sought to combat learning loss following the damage of extended remote learning. These are all concerns that Texans face, and they are our concerns on Team Cruz as well. I’m honored to continue fighting for America’s founding, guiding principles in this new position.”

Mica said:

“Working with Senator Cruz for over seven years to represent 30 million Texans has been a true privilege. I’m honored to have this opportunity to continue serving the Senator and his team and the people of Texas as we work daily to represent the needs of the Lone Star State. Whether it’s fighting for the Constitutional rights for all Texans, better border security or coastal infrastructure, NASA or our thriving energy, agricultural and manufacturing industries, I’ve been proud to help address the needs of our state and look forward to doing so in this new, expanded role.” 

About Aaron Reitz:

Aaron Reitz is the departing Deputy Attorney General for Legal Strategy for the State of Texas. Reitz graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Texas A&M University, where he was a Regimental Commander in the Corps of Cadets. After graduating, he commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps and married his high school sweetheart, Meredith. He spent nearly five years on active duty and deployed to the northern Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

After the Marines, Reitz attended the University of Texas School of Law, where he served as President of the Texas Federalist Society and Editor in Chief of the Texas Review of Law & Politics. He began his career at Bracewell LLP in Houston and then clerked for Justice Jimmy Blacklock on the Texas Supreme Court. Meanwhile, he completed fellowships with the John Jay Institute, Alliance Defending Freedom, Claremont Institute, James Wilson Institute, and, most recently, the Club for Growth Foundation. Before joining the Office of the Attorney General, he litigated commercial disputes in private practice.

Reitz and his wife are from San Antonio. They have four young children and a golden retriever named Rusty.