BCA First Person: Tales of Romance: Bush-Cheney Style

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s the perfect time for a few tales of romance, Bush-Cheney style. In a special edition of BCA First Person, we present the stories of a few of the many couples who fell in love on the campaign trail and in the Administration…and lived happily ever after.


Travis Thomas & Julie Huston Thomas –

After 10.5 years working for George W. Bush, as many incredible experiences and opportunities I had, by far the best was meeting Julie (Huston) during the Gubernatorial re-election campaign in Texas. I believe ours was the first official Bush 43-era marriage.

At the time, I was Deputy Finance Director for the Governor Bush Committee and she worked in accounting “caging” the money we raised. (We joke that I still raise the money and she still counts it.) Julie had worked at the Indiana Republican Party and family friend Al Hubbard encouraged her to head to Texas to work for his friend Governor Bush, who was running for re-election and was considered a top contender for the 2000 Republican nomination for President. Not long after her arrival, I impressed Julie with a first date to a 105-degree Longhorn football game at which UT suffered its worst home loss in history (66-3 to UCLA.) Texas lost badly, but I ended up winning big time.

I proposed to Julie at a campaign staff meeting (fond memories of sharing this moment with our “family”) in August 1998 after a year of courtship. Hardly any of our friends could come to our wedding because it was held on June 12, 1999, the day Governor Bush officially declared his candidacy for President in Iowa. Julie and I served in a variety of roles for President and Mrs. Bush in Austin and Washington, D.C., all of which were made more special because of our opportunity to share our experiences together. We remain extremely grateful to the Bushes for everything, but most importantly, for bringing us together.

Following the President’s re-election, we headed back to Austin, where we are raising our kids, Will (11) and Lyla (9)

Laura (Jenkins) & John Plack -

John and I first met while working in “Rove World” circa 2006.  At the time, John was an executive assistant to Rhonda Keenum in OPL, and I was an executive assistant to Barry Jackson in OSI.  While we worked on the 2004 campaign and at DHS in 2005, our paths did not cross until we were at the White House.  When the Administration ended, John joined the Navy and headed to Officer Candidate School, and I left for law school.  We stayed in touch and, several months later, John invited me to attend the Navy Ball in Pensacola, Florida, where he was attending flight school.  After two years of flying around the country to visit each other, John proposed on a snowy morning at Jackson Hole, and we were married in San Diego in 2013.  We recently packed up our life in San Diego and returned to D.C. for John to finish out his Navy commitment at the Pentagon.  We love having the shared friends and memories from our time in the administration and are lucky it brought us together.

Jenny (Willis) Beech & Scott Beech -

We met on the 2000 campaign in Austin, were married in 2005 and now live in Houston with our children, Julia (9) and Stockton (6).

Shannon (Kay) & Eric Layer - 

Eric and I met in 2008 in the White House Office of Media Affairs. I was the executive assistant and he was one of our three interns. We always emphasize that it was a completely professional relationship until we reconnected in 2011! We were married in 2012. It’s always been fun to share our story, but we are really looking forward to telling our son about it when he’s older!

Cynthia (Bergman) and Brian White - 

Brian and I met at the Department of Homeland Security. When I was departing DHS to head to the White House, my wonderful colleagues hosted a nice going away happy hour. Brian arrived late, asked me out and then promptly left. Who wouldn't be smitten? We had our first date shortly thereafter and the rest, as they say, is history. We were married in Seattle in May 2009. Stayed in D.C. for a bit, followed by a stint in Dallas for a couple years (ExxonMobil HQ) and then arrived in San Francisco in December 2011. Brian recently sold start-up RedOwl (a cybersecurity company) to ForcePoint, where he is a Vice President. I am still at ExxonMobil (Public and Government Affairs). While we love living in San Francisco, we do miss our friends in D.C. – and we always look forward to the small (but mighty) gatherings of Bay Area Bush-Cheney alumni!