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2024 Call for Nominations

Submit nominations for the  2024 LINCS Staff Achievement Awards by Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

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Award Criteria

All members of LINCS are eligible and nominations may be submitted by the nominee or by other LINCS members.

  • Helps improve the effectiveness of the legislative institution.
  • Supports the legislative process and the mission of the legislature.
  • Exhibits a high degree of professionalism, competence and integrity in serving the legislature and the public.
  • Contributes to the work of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  • Demonstrates expertise in a particular field.
  • Contributes to existing knowledge.
  • Contributes to LINCS.

2023 Award Recipient(s)

Aundrea Peterson, Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director, Utah State Senate

Aundrea Peterson is the director of communications for the Utah Senate, where she collaborates with the chief of staff, leadership and Senate members to devise and execute effective communication strategies. She cultivates relationships with the media and ensures constituents and journalists are well-informed about legislative activities. Previously, she held positions at the Utah House of Representatives, World Trade Center Utah and the Utah Republican Party. She established the Emerging Leaders Initiative, a platform empowering young adults aged 18 to 35 to actively engage in policy discussions and contribute to Utah's political, cultural, and economic future. Her exceptional academic achievements include graduating Summa Cum Laude with departmental honors from Weber State University in 2014, where she received the Outstanding Academic for the Communication Department award. In her leisure time, she indulges her passion for global exploration, advocates for Israel and dedicates herself to fostering kittens. 

John Sattgast, Senior Public Information Officer, Radio/Broadcast Coordinator, Washington State House of Representatives

John Sattgast, a seasoned communications professional, has made remarkable contributions as a senior public information officer and radio/broadcast coordinator for the Washington State House Republican Caucus (HRC). With over 30 years of dedicated service, he consistently delivers top-notch support to the members and team he assists. As the radio/broadcast coordinator, he adeptly manages and produces critical radio content, including press releases, podcasts, audio posts and statewide interviews, often working beyond regular hours to ensure timely dissemination. Renowned as a legislative communications expert, he is also a go-to trainer for new communications staff, imparting his knowledge and skills to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the caucus. His versatility shines through in various projects, encompassing writing, copy editing, video production and mission-driven communication plans. Throughout his extensive career, he has exemplified professionalism and integrity while contributing to the HRC communications team's mission and goals. 

Previous Award Recipients

2022

Will Tracy

Will Tracy, communications specialist/videographer, Arkansas House of Representatives

LINCS is proud to present Will Tracy, communications specialist/videographer for the Arkansas House of Representatives, with a Legislative Staff Achievement Award for his service and leadership to the Legislative Information and Communications (LINCS) staff association and to NCSL.

Will currently serves as chair of LINCS and during his tenure he has guided the association in developing online programs for legislative communications staff and focused on outreach to increase participation in the group.

As LINCS chair, Will has been a long-serving member of NCSL’s Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC) and is currently leading a video project to capture the oral history of NCSL by recording interviews with past NCSL Staff Chairs.

Will is recognized for his professionalism and expertise as well as his dedication and leadership given to LINCS and NCSL.

Press and Communications Office, Senate of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

LINCS is proud to present the Press and Communications Office of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico with a Legislative Staff Achievement Award for their teamwork, innovation and excellence in ensuring the citizens of Puerto Rico are informed and engaged about the Senate and its proceedings.

The Press Office oversees live streaming operations, video production, website and social media management and serves as a liaison to the media. The office is recognized for their commitment to transparency and public access by operating remotely and ensuring that citizens had daily, real-time access to the Senate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the office is responsible for providing communications support to Senators and offers equal time and energy to the 27 Senators representing five different political parties and an independent. Staff in the office have showcased their digital expertise and commitment to innovation by creating a podcast, Senado Digital, that showcases members and their policy priorities.

The Press and Communications Office is recognized for promoting and supporting the public’s access to Puerto Rico Senate and for striving for excellence in ensuring the Senate’s voice is heard.  

2021

Cecillea Pond-Mayo, chief information officer, Arkansas House of Representatives

LINCS is proud to present Cecillea Pond-Mayo, chief information officer for the Arkansas House of Representatives, with a LINCS Staff Achievement Award for her integral role as part of the House communications teams since 2011.

She writes columns, press releases and speeches. She also provides oversight for livestream operations, video production, the website and social media, and she serves as the media liaison for the House speaker.

During the pandemic, under her leadership, the House communications team overcame numerous obstacles to ensure the legislative process could and would continue in a safe and healthy environment. She is respected for her unwavering professionalism and integrity while serving the legislature and the public.

Drew Volturo, deputy chief of staff for communications, Delaware House of Representatives

LINCS is proud to present Drew Volturo with a LINCS Staff Achievement Award for his long-term commitment to the Delaware House of Representatives as deputy chief of staff for communications for the House Majority Caucus.

He began working for the General Assembly as the Majority Caucus’ first communications director in 2009. He is truly admired for transforming the communications department’s role from a single person writing press releases and taking photos to a five-person team responsible for all aspects of communications for 26 representatives across numerous multimedia platforms.

In 2019, he led the launch of the successful “Whip Count” podcast. According to his colleagues, he is “the quintessential team player and has never sought out the recognition he truly deserves for all that he does.”

2020

Betsy Theroux, Director of Media Services, Georgia House of Representatives 

Betsy joined the House of Representatives’ staff in January 2012 as a session assistant and then served as deputy member press secretary, member press secretary and interim director of communications before being named director of the Media Services Office. In 2015, Theroux was elected by the members of the House of Representatives to serve as the House Messenger for the 2015-2016 term, and was re-elected in 2017 for the 2017-2018 term and in 2019 for the 2019-2020 term.

Betsy currently serves as the chair of NCSL’s Legislative Information and Communications Staff (LINCS) association. She previously served as the LINCS secretary and vice chair. She is also a member of NCSL’s Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee. Theroux holds a B.A. in communications and a B.A. minor in Spanish from the University of Georgia. Betsy is a Georgia native and grew up in Dalton, Ga. She now resides in Atlanta, Ga. with her husband.

Wendy Madsen, Wyoming Legislative Service Office Special Projects Manager

Wendy Madsen has worked for the Wyoming Legislative Service Office since 1994. She most recently staffed the Capitol Rehabilitation and Restoration Oversight Group, consisting of eight members of legislative leadership and the Governor. She served as the legislative branch’s liaison on the Owner’s team for the $300 million Capitol Square Project, which was comprised of the rehabilitation and restoration of Wyoming’s Capitol; replacement, relocation, and expansion of the central utility plant serving five State buildings; the remodel and expansion of an adjacent office building, and the remodel and expansion of the underground building that connects the Capitol to the office building.

Prior to working on the Capitol restoration, Wendy was responsible for legislator training; media relations; and public outreach and civic education about the legislative process. Wendy was responsible for legislative operations including facility management, information management, emergency preparedness, and event planning. During her time at the Legislative Service Office, Wendy was responsible for establishing the Legislature’s general research function and worked as a member of the program evaluation staff.

Wendy served on the National Conference of State Legislature’s Executive Committee, the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, and chaired the Legislative Information and Communication Staff Section. She has provided training through NCSL on a variety of legislative topics throughout the United States, Algeria, Mozambique, and Chile.

Wendy has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Wyoming. She and her husband enjoy time camping, hiking, and paddleboarding with their two fantastic daughters.

2019

Erica Shorkey, Deputy Communications Director, Iowa Senate Democratic Caucus

A natural introvert with a lifelong passion for politics, Erica likes working behind the scenes to help legislators stay in touch with constituents. Part of a small communications operation, her job includes writing, editing and photography; creating and maintaining databases, websites and social media; and assisting with graphic, audio and video production. She especially enjoys simplifying complex information to help Iowa citizens understand what’s happening in state government. A Midwest girl, Erica was raised in Michigan, attended college in Minnesota and holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Erica was selected for the 2019 Legislative Staff Achievement Award for her ability to confront and master challenges, including the intricacies of email list management, web platform changes, computer support issues and an explosion in social media output. Most importantly, Erica works successfully with an ever-changing group of state senators who increasingly value (and have strong and sometimes contradictory opinions about) the diverse communications tasks she manages. 

Tim Bommel, Photojournalist, Missouri House of Representatives

Tim Bommel has been serving as the staff photojournalist for the Missouri House of Representatives for nearly 20 years. His goal is to inform the public through journalistic, group, portrait and constituent photography. Prior to joining the legislature, Tim worked as a studio, wedding and commercial photographer. He also was as a member of the Missouri Army National Guard, serving as a photojournalist.
Tim was selected for the 2019 Legislative Staff Achievement Award by his peers for his years of legislative experience, which bring “an unparalleled point of view to the LINCS association.” Not only is he a deeply committed legislative staffer and asset to LINCS, Tim is a dedicated father of eight children.

2018

  • Jeff Fossett, Video Communications Specialist, Kentucky Legislative Research Commission

2017

  • K'Lynn Sloan Harris, Audio/Video Coordinator, Montana Legislative Services Division

2016

  • Dennis Yoder, Communications Technician, Senate Media Services, Texas

2015

  • Morgan Blanchard, Communications Specialist, Louisiana Senate
  • Jessica Bralish, Communications Director, Colorado Senate Minority

2014

  • Cory Stewart, Director of Communications, Louisiana Senate
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