The NCSL Blog

18

By Abbie Gruwell

As NCSL celebrates Legislative Staff Week, we recognize those who keep the legislative world turning.

Staff must be experts, problem solvers and investigators, judiciously protect the integrity of the code, and sometimes watch their hard work disappear as bills die or are never introduced.

They put in long nights on last-minute amendment requests, produce data for every possible fiscal outcome and assist legislators in serving their constituents.

They’re rarely seen or recognized, but, at the end of the day, nothing in the legislature gets done without the staff.

(Hover your cursor over the pictures to see the cutline information).Neal Osten moderating the retirement party for his boss, New York Senator Jay P. Rolison Jr.

NCSL is home to 47 former legislative staff and interns, and they bring their appreciation for the dedication and expertise of our bill drafters, fiscal analysts, IT staff and others to their work serving you at NCSL. (Hover your cursor over the pictures to see the cutline information).

Our folks who earned their stripes as legislative staffers are:

Colorado
  • Sarah Brown, group director, Criminal Justice | Joined NCSL in 2002 | Intern, Colorado General Assembly |1993-1994
  • Josh Cunningham, program manager, Employment Labor and Retirement Program | Joined NCSL 2010 | legislative aide for Representative Jack Pommer, Colorado | 2009-2010
  • Sunny Deye, program director, Education Program | Joined NCSL in 2005 | senior legislative editor, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado |1999-2005
  • Sydne Enlund, policy associate, Health Program | Joined NCSL in 2016 | policy analyst, House Republicans, Colorado | 2015-2016
  • Amanda Essex, senior policy specialist, Criminal Justice | Joined NCSL in 2013 | intern, Senator Suzanne Williams, Colorado | 2007
  • Michelle Exstrom, group director, Education Program | Joined NCSL in 1999| senior legislative assistant, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado |1996-1999
  • Iris Hentze, research analyst II, Employment Labor and Retirement | Joined NCSL in 2017| legislative intern, Colorado, | 2015
  • Allison Hiltz, policy associate, Employment, Labor & Retirement Program | Joined NCSL as intern 2014-2015, fulltime 2016 | policy intern, Representative Crisanta Duran, Colorado | 2015
  • Martha King, group director, Health Program | Joined NCSL in 1985 | research staff (Legislative Council), and then research director for a House caucus, Colorado | 1978-1985
  • Meghan McCann, senior policy specialist, Children and Families Program | Joined NCSL in 2013 | legislative aide, Representative Amy Stephens, Colorado | 2013
  • Samantha Scotti, policy associate, Health Program | Joined NCSL in 2015 | legislative aide, Colorado General Assembly, Colorado | 2014-2015
  • Douglas Shinkle, transportation program director, Environment, Energy and Transportation Program | Joined NCSL in 2005 | legislative aide, House of Representatives, Colorado | 2001-2002 and 2004
  • Amber Widgery, senior policy specialist, Criminal Justice Program | Joined NCSL in 2012 | legislative fellow, Office of Senator Irene Aguilar, Colorado | 2011
  • Ethan Wilson, policy director, Commerce and Financial Services, State-Federal Relations | Joined NCSL in 2014 | law clerk, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado | 2013
Florida
  • Jon Griffin, program principal, Center for Legislative Strengthening, State Services Division | Joined NCSL in 2009 | journal writer, Clerk’s Office of the House of Representatives, Florida |2004-2006
  • Linnette Vasquez, senior staff assistant, Employment, Labor & Retirement Program | Joined NCSL in 2017 | legislative aide, Representative Michael Bileca, Florida | 2013-2017
Indiana
  • Abbie Gruwell, policy director, Human Services, State-Federal Relations Division | Joined NCSL in 2017 | staff attorney, Legislative Services Agency, Indiana | 2015-2017
  • Kevin Pula, senior policy specialist, Transportation Program | Joined NCSL in 2014 | legislative intern, Indiana Senate | 2011
Iowa
  • Jeni Palmer, research analyst II, Children & Families Program | Joined NCSL in 2017 | legislative clerk, Iowa House of Representatives | 2007-2008 | legislative page, Iowa House of Representatives | 2005
Kansas
  • Nicholas Birdsong, policy associate, Center for Ethics in Government | Joined NCSL:in 2017 | legislative intern, Kansas House | 2011 | legislative intern, Kansas Senate | 2014
  • Anne S. Teigen, program principal, Criminal Justice Program, | Joined NCSL in 2006 | intern for Senator Barbara Allen, Kansas Senate | 2005 and 2006
Kentucky
  • Ben Boggs, program principal, Education Program | Joined NCSL in 2018 | legislative analyst, Kentucky House and Senate Education Committees | 2011-2016
Maryland
  • Max Behlke, director, Budget and Tax, State-Federal Relations Division | Joined NCSL in 2010 | legislative aide, Maryland House of Delegates | 2007-2008
Massachusetts

Massachusetts Representative Liz Malia (D) and NCSL staffer Margaret Wile when she was a legislative research analyst. They are holding a citation from the legislature recognizing her award as "Legislative Staffer of the Year” from the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

  • Angela Andrews, program director, Legislative Staff Services Program | Joined NCSL in 2008 | legislative aide, Massachusetts House of Representatives | 2004-2008
  • Richard Cauchi, program director, Health | Joined NCSL in 1997 | legislative aide (part-time) | 1979-81 | consultant (part-time) 1992-95, Massachusetts Legislature(Joint Election Laws Comm.; Joint Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee) | 1992-1995
  • Jennifer Schultz, senior policy specialist, Environment, Energy and Transportation Program | Joined NCSL in 2013 | legal intern, Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, Massachusetts | 2012
  • Margaret Wile, policy specialist, Health Program | Joined NCSL in 2016 | research analyst, Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery, Massachusetts | 2013-2016
Minnesota
  • Brenda Erickson, program principal, Legislative Staff Services Program | Joined NCSL in 1984 | legislative aide, Minnesota House of Representatives |1979-1984
  • Rebecca Pirius, senior policy specialist, Criminal Justice Program | Joined NCSL in 2017 | legislative analyst/staff attorney, House Research Department, Minnesota | 2004-2017
Mississippi

During Mick Bullock’s time as communication’s director and legislative liaison for Mississippi Lieutenant Gov. Phil Bryant (R), he would fill-in as Senate clerk. Says Mick: “It was particularly nerve racking when 52 members are waiting on you to announce a contentious vote tally.”

  • Mick Bullock, Director of Public Affairs | Joined NCSL in 2014 | communications director and legislative liaison, Office of the Lieutenant Governor and President of the Senate, Mississippi | 2008-2012
New York
  • Neal Osten, director, State Federal Relations | Joined NCSL in 1993 | chief of staff, Senate Assistant Majority Leader, New York Senate |1982-1990| staff director, Senate Banking Committee, New York Senate | 1975-1982
North Carolina
  • Kristy Hartman, manager, Energy Program | Joined NCSL in 2013 | legislative aide, North Carolina General Assembly | 2006-2007
  • Tim Storey, division director, State Services Division | Joined NCSL in 1989 | intern, North Carolina General Assembly | 1987-1988
Ohio
  • Patrick Potyondy, legislative policy specialist and Mellon-ACLS Public Fellow, Elections and Redistricting Program | Joined NCSL in 2017 | senior legislative aide, Ohio Senate | 2016-2017
Oregon
  • Beth Hladick, policy associate, Leaders’ Services and Legislative Training | Joined NCSL in 2017 | intern, Office of Senator Bill Hansell, Oregon | 2015
Pennsylvania
  • Jessica Brehm, staff coordinator, Meetings/Communications Program | Joined NCSL in 2016 | legislative assistant, Pennsylvania House of Representatives |2011 | digital communications coordinator, Pennsylvania House of Representatives | 2011-2016
South Dakota
  • Joan Wodiska, senior federal affairs counsel, Education, State-Federal Relations Division | Joined NCSL in 2017 | legislative page, South Dakota Legislative Research Service |1992
Tennessee

Miranda McDonald joins with state Representative Bob Ramsey (R) at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 13, 2013, for intern picture day.

  • Miranda McDonald, policy associate, Education, State-Federal Relations | Joined NCSL in 2018 | legislative intern, Office of Representatiave Bob Ramsey, Tennessee General Assembly | 2013
Texas
  • Doug Farquhar, program director, Environmental Health | Joined NCSL in 1991 | legislative policy staff, Representative Terrell Smith, Texas |1986-1987 | appropriations policy staff, Representative Jack Vowell, Texas | 1987
  • Luke Martel, group director, Employment Labor and Retirement | Joined NCSL in 2007 | legislative aide, Texas House of Representatives | 2005-2006
  • Jim Reed, group director, Environment, Energy and Transportation | Joined NCSL in 1988 | research assistant, Representative Gerald Hill, Texas | 1982 | research associate, Texas Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations | 1993-1998
  • Holly South, policy specialist, Legislative Staff Services Program | Joined NCSL in 2017 | reference librarian, Texas Legislative Reference Library | 2004-2008
Utah
  • Daniel G. Thatcher, program director, Education Program | Joined NCSL in 2006 | intern to House Minority Leader Brent Goodfellow, Utah | 2004
Wisconsin
  • Stacy Householder, director, Leaders’ Services and Legislative Training | Joined NCSL in 2009 legislative intern and aide, Wisconsin Senate | 2004-2005
  • Jake Lestock, policy specialist, budgets and revenue, State-Federal Relations Division | Joined NCSL in 2015 | legislative Intern, Wisconsin Senate | 2012
  • Nancy Rhyme, deputy executive director | Joined NCSL in 1989 | legislative aide, Wisconsin Senate |1978-1984
Wyoming
  • Mark Quiner, director, Center for Ethics in Government, NCSL Foundation | Joined NCSL in 2015  | assistant director and acting director, Wyoming Legislative Service Office | 1988-2015

Abbie Gruwell is the policy director for human services in NCSL's State-Federal Affairs team in Washington, D.C.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.