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Women's Symposium

2016 Keynote Speaker: Lynnel Ruckert

photo of Lynnel Ruckert


When Lynnel Ruckert enters a room she does so with southern charm and grace. But don’t be fooled by her petite frame and gentle nature—Ruckert is a powerhouse.

She worked her way up the Washington D.C. political ladder by starting as an aid on the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2001, and departed D.C. in 2015 as the highest ranking woman staffer in the House of Representatives as the Chief of Staff for House Majority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise. In fact, she was named one of the 20 most powerful women staffers on Capitol Hill (National Journal, 2015).

Ruckert began her college career at the University of Louisiana Monroe (formerly Northeast Louisiana University) in 1988 and graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.

She was highly involved on campus and speaks fondly of her time as a member of Alpha Omricron Pi Sorority, Secretary of the Student Government Association, 31 Ambassadors, Indian Scouts, and a lifeguard at the Natatorium.

“Being involved on campus made my college experience that much more valuable. It enabled me to form friendships and gain experience in leaderships roles. I have such fond memories of my time in north Louisiana,” said Ruckert.

After graduation, Ruckert began working for Central Bank in Monroe, and then Baker APS in Pineville as a trainer for pharmacies around the country. 

In 2001 she moved to Washington D.C. and during her time there she served as the campaign manager for Steve Scalise who went on to become the Majority Whip of the House of Representatives and who appointed Ruckert as his Chief of Staff in 2012. It should be noted that Scalise is the highest House Republican in Louisiana history.

While being one of the most powerful women staffers in D.C. is quite impressive, Ruckert says one of her greatest accomplishments is being a Mom to Jack, age 9, and Mary Kyle, age 6. She even started a “Moms in Chief” club for other Chiefs of Staff who are also moms.

When asked to talk about one of her biggest accomplishments on Capitol Hill she said, “Definitely the work we did on Steve Gleason Act, which restored Medicare coverage for voice machines and the RESTORE Act, which provides funding to restore Louisiana’s coast.”

It’s no doubt that her ties with Louisiana run deep, and she along with her husband Kyle Ruckert, who works for Senator David Vitter, have decided to move their family back to Louisiana to begin a new chapter.

“I am very pleased with what we were able to accomplish for Louisiana in D.C. and I know Rep. Scalise will continue that great work. My heart is in Louisiana, and so it is with much excitement that I return home and transition into this new phase of my career.”

Ruckert continues to be a Senior Advisor on Rep. Steve Scalise’s staff and currently lives in Baton Rouge with her family.