U.S. foreign policy and national security issues. Congressional role in foreign policy decision-making.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Agency for International Development. Chief of Staff in both Senate and House.
Lester Munson joined BGR’s International practice after a 26-year career on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch. He most recently served as the Staff Director for Chairman Bob Corker of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he led policy, oversight, legislative and communications efforts for a staff of 25 and negotiated committee priorities with the White House, the State Department and Congressional leadership.
In the past two and a half years, the committee has passed into law several bills regarding U.S. policy toward Ukraine and Russia, including major sanctions legislation, has engaged in efforts to fundamentally reform, reauthorize, or modify key foreign assistance programs, including food aid, PEPFAR, arms transfers, and has taken up legislation on the most important foreign policy and national security issues of the day, including the negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program, authorizations for the use of military force, and various international treaties and agreements.
Previously, Lester was Chief of Staff in Senator Mark Kirk’s (R-Ill.), Washington, DC office. During Lester’s tenure, Senator Kirk became the leading Republican voice in the Senate on Iran and other national security issues.
Senator Kirk won one of the most-closely watched Senate races in the country to fill the seat previously occupied by President Obama. During that campaign, Lester took a leave of absence to oversee all campaign spending and hiring and was a key member of the campaign’s communications and management teams. Lester previously served as then-Congressman Kirk’s top Washington aide in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly four years.
During the Bush Administration, Lester was a Deputy Assistant Administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he focused on legislative affairs as well as global health issues. He led legislative efforts to develop and implement the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and won an award for his contribution to the creation of the President’s Malaria Initiative.
Prior to serving in the Bush Administration, Lester was a senior-level foreign affairs staff member on the key foreign policy committees in both the House and Senate.
At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lester was the Republican Communications Director and oversaw foreign assistance oversight and legislation. At the House International Relations Committee, he was the Communications Director and Professional Staff Member for Asia-Pacific issues as well as African affairs.
Lester is a 1989 graduate of the University of Chicago and holds a Master’s degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis. He is married with two children.