MIL-OSI USA: Congresswoman Stansbury Returns to Washington D.C. to Work on Crucial Federal Legislation and Announces Fully Staffed Congressional Office

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Melanie Stansbury (N.M.-01)

The House reconvenes to debate the budget, infrastructure and reconciliation bills, and other legislation and Stansbury announces a fully staffed office bringing diverse New Mexican experiences.

WASHINGTON — On Monday, U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (N.M.-01) returned to Washington, D.C. as Congress resumed work on an important slate of bills for the fall, including the federal budget, infrastructure and reconciliation bills, and the National Defense Authorization Act and announced a fully staffed Congressional office. Congresswoman Stansbury took office after a Special Election was held on June 1st to replace Secretary Deb Haaland, who was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior this spring.  

After more than a month of meetings and listening sessions across New Mexico’s First Congressional District, Congresswoman Stansbury returns to Washington with a fully staffed office, representing a diverse set of backgrounds, experiences, and expertise from the district and Capitol Hill. Congresswoman Stansbury’s team is nearly 90% New Mexican, 75% women, and majority people of color. 

“We are proudly New Mexican and putting our grit, determination, and heart to work for New Mexico,” said Congresswoman Stansbury. “Our staff come from every walk of life and represent the diverse cultures and life experiences that make up the fabric of our state. We are proudly fighting every day to serve our communities and I am deeply humbled that our district has entrusted us with the responsibility of helping to build a brighter future for New Mexico and our nation.”

Please see below for names and biographies of Stansbury’s staff. 

Scott Forrester, Chief of Staff. Scott Forrester, an Albuquerque native, brings over 16 years of experience working with various people across public, private, political, and non-profit arenas who set out to make meaningful change in the world. Recently, Scott served as Secretary Deb Haaland’s District Director, where he led the New Mexico operation overseeing staff, constituent services, outreach, and travel. Prior to that, he owned and operated Bosque Strategies Consulting where he helped elect the first openly gay Hispanic Mayor in New Mexico, two of the current Latina City Councilors serving on the Albuquerque City Council, and helped flip New Mexico House District 28 with the one and only Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury.

Sofia Sanchez, District Director. Born and raised in Albuquerque, Sofia comes from a long line of public servants with historic roots in the area, including as an heir to several local Land Grants. Most recently working as a Field Representative for Secretary Deb Haaland’s congressional office. Sofia also covered the White House, Congress and the Pentagon for Talk Radio News Service before returning to New Mexico to cover the New Mexico State Legislature for the New Mexico Broadcasters Association. She later moved to the Albuquerque Mayor’s office to run the ABQ Volunteers initiative.

Ian Fluellen, Legislative Director. Ian brings over six and a half years of experience legislating on Capitol Hill on a wide range of issues core to living with dignity, most recently serving as Legislative Assistant to Congressman Jim Costa. Born in Los Angeles but raised in Nevada, Ian graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in Political Science and a minor in journalism. Ian is passionate about creating health care policy so that every person across the United States can access affordable, equitable, and quality health care, and is looking forward to advancing Congresswoman Stansbury’s vision for climate resilience for New Mexico communities and the nation.

Julia Friedmann, Communications Director. Born and raised in Albuquerque, Julia brings her previous experience as Senator Tom Udall’s Deputy Press Secretary to work for Congresswoman Stansbury and New Mexicans. Julia is excited to continue working for her home state and to work on issues centering social justice, climate resilience, and economic empowerment for New Mexico’s communities. 

Alejandro Oms, Senior Legislative Assistant. Alejandro was raised in a military family, which brought him to Albuquerque where he graduated from La Cueva High School. After earning dual-degrees in Political Science and Theater from the University of Massachusetts, Alejandro has dedicated his professional career to serving New Mexicans, starting with Senator Martin Heinrich and Secretary Deb Haaland’s congressional office. Alejandro is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy through Georgetown University’s evening program. 

Lauren Vernon, Legislative Assistant. Lauren’s love of public lands grew from growing up hiking and skiing in the Valles Caldera. She comes to Team Stansbury from the House Committee on Natural Resources, where she worked on issues relating to water resources management, drought resilience, and tribal water rights. Prior to joining the Natural Resources team, she worked for Senator Tom Udall, as a science teacher in D.C., and as a research assistant on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Duke University.  

Elizabeth Othmer, Legislative Counsel. Elizabeth was born and raised in Santa Fe, N.M. Before joining Congresswoman Stansbury’s office, where she clerked at the New Mexico Supreme Court for Justice David K. Thomson and Justice Barbara J. Vigil. She attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before attending law school at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. During law school, Elizabeth focused on civil rights law and served as the president of the Public Interest Law Group. 

Maura Weaver, Legislative Correspondent. Maura comes to Team Stansbury after working as a Legislative Aide and Scheduler for Congressman Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), where she coordinated the congressman’s work as co-chair of the Labor Caucus. Prior to working in D.C., Maura worked on various state, local and national campaigns, as well as in Congressman Andy Kim’s district office. Maura received her bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Arcadia University where she spent time in London, England and Cape Town, South Africa. She then received her master’s degree in public policy – with a focus on health care policy – from Temple University. 

Emily Hartshorn, Staff Assistant and Intern Coordinator. Emily joins Team Stansbury after working for Secretary Deb Haaland’s congressional office and working for Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small’s campaign. Emily was born and raised in Albuquerque and attended Albuquerque High before graduating from the University of New Mexico with degrees in Political Science and History.

Maya Piñón, Scheduler. From Albuquerque, Maya’s favorite spot in the district is the foothills. She graduated from the University of Denver with degrees in Spanish and Political Science. Maya was lucky enough to work in Secretary Deb Haaland’s congressional office and is grateful to continue on with Team Stansbury.

New Mexico’s First Congressional District Staff

Jon Moore, Constituent Services Director. Jon Moore has lived in New Mexico for 15 years and is the son of a career army officer. After moving to New Mexico in 2004, he attended the University of New Mexico, majoring in Political Science and Spanish. While there, he spent eight months living in Ecuador studying Spanish and teaching English. After graduation, he worked in Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s congressional office and most recently served as Director of Constituent Services for Secretary Deb Haaland’s congressional office.

Brenda G. McKenna, Field Representative. When not working for Congresswoman Stansbury, Brenda serves as a New Mexico State Senator to District Nine and serves as the Caucus Chair. She is a member of Nanbé Ówîngeh and the coordinator for the Nanbé Tewa Language Program. Brenda attended Syracuse University for her bachelor’s degree and Central Washington University for her master’s degree.

Yolanda Lucero, Field Representative. Yolanda Lucero earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico in Political Science and Chicana/o and Latina/o studies, as well as a certificate in race and social justice. Passionate about research, she participated in El Centro de la Raza’s yearlong El Puente Research Fellowship, and later UCLA’s public health summer scholars program. She also enjoys film making and is currently collaborating with PhD students in the department of Chicana/o studies, producing a documentary on the transnational influence of Aztec culture on the Chicano/a identity.

Ebony Baty, Field Representative. Ebony is a native New Mexican, born and raised in Albuquerque, and a graduate of Albuquerque High School. Ebony earned a bachelor’s degree in communication in 2019 from Eastern New Mexico University and a master’s degree in mass communication in 2020. 

Lauren Via, Staff Assistant and Intern Coordinator. Lauren was born and raised in Albuquerque, where she attended Albuquerque High School before earning her undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico in Political Science and Philosophy. Before joining Team Stansbury, Lauren interned for Senator Martin Heinrich where she grew her passion for public service. 

Lia Stefanovich, Grants Coordinator. Lia grew up in Albuquerque and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of New Mexico. She is currently finishing up a master’s degree in International Politics from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. She has previously worked for an immigration law firm, a state policy think tank, and as a legislative assistant for Congresswoman Stansbury’s state house office.

Zoey Craft, Press Assistant. Zoey Craft is a community organizer, most recently serving as Deputy Communications Director for Congresswoman Stansbury’s campaign and Team Lead for New Mexico Working Families Party. Before beginning her work in electoral politics, Zoey began organizing in our community, leading March for Our Lives Albuquerque, founding a local nonprofit organization, and co-founding local mutual aid efforts. Zoey is currently completing her degree at the University of New Mexico.

 

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