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About Vote Smart

Meet Our Staff

Administration

Jessica Arrigoni
Jessica Arrigoni
National Board Chair

Responsible for Vote Smart's National Board. Jessica has a master's in political science from Truman State University and formerly served as the Director of Vote Smart's National Political Awareness Test (now the Political Courage Test).

Fun Fact: "I lived in Vote Smart's only cabin without running water for two years."
Richard Kimball
Richard Kimball
President

Responsible for fundraising and the integrity of Board-approved policies and standards. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Richard served on the staffs of Congressman Morris K. Udall, Senator Walter F. Mondale, and Senator Daniel P. Moynihan. He is also a former Arizona State Senator and Corporation Commissioner.

Fun Fact: Has a world class collection of Daffy Ducks
Adelaide Kimball
Adelaide Kimball
Senior Advisor, Founding Board Member

Responsible for Major Giver Development and Media. Adelaide is a graduate of the University of Texas and holds master's degrees in American history and library science from the University of Arizona. She is a former archivist for the Arizona Historical Society and has previously directed Vote Smart's National Political Awareness Test (now the Political Courage Test).

Fun Fact: Former Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year award winner
Walker McKusick
Walker McKusick
National Director

Responsible for day-to-day oversight of all Vote Smart programs, staff, operations, facilities and administration. Walker is originally from Charlottesville, VA. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013 with degrees in History and Economics. After graduation, he taught History and Politics in England for a year. He joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.

Fun Fact: "I've scored cricket for the Royal Household at Windsor, for a spot of tea."
Andrew Buenger
Andrew Buenger
Internship Coordinator and Office Manager

Responsible for coordinating our Internship Program, including outreach, recruitment, and intern placement. Also responsible for office management. A native of Spencer, Iowa, Andrew graduated from Central College in 2016 with a BA in Communication Studies. Andrew was an Americorps VISTA with the Iowa Department on Aging before joining Vote Smart in January of 2018.

Fun Fact: "I stayed for a week in a 15th century Scottish castle as a personal guest to a laird(lord) and lady."

Development and Communications

Jacob Petterson
Jacob Petterson
Development Director

Responsible for handling donations and membership communications. Jacob was born and raised in Ankeny, IA, and graduated with a degree in English and Writing from the University of Iowa in December of 2014. He joined the Vote Smart Team in Des Moines in March of 2017.

Fun Fact: I drank so much milk as a little kid I'm almost positive my bones are indestructible now.
Tessa DeConcini
Tessa DeConcini
Social Media Communications Associate


Responsible for social media outreach. Tessa is a high school student in Tucson, Arizona, and works remotely from there. Although she was born and raised in Virginia, it wasn’t until moving to Tucson in the ninth grade that she found her passion for politics and government. Tessa joined the Vote Smart family in January of 2018.

Fun Fact: I was a member of a professional children’s theatre company in middle school.
Clarisse Markarian
Clarisse Markarian
Communications and Media Associate

Clarisse is responsible for social media outreach and communications. She is from Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Arizona in 2017 with a degree in journalism and a minor in government and public policy. She joined Vote Smart in June 2018.

Fun Fact: I was a ball girl for the LA Galaxy as a teenager and high-fived David Beckham!

Information Technology

Travis Flatt
Travis Flatt
Information Technology Director

Responsible for web development, user support, and system administration. Travis lives in and works remotely from San Antonio, TX. His first programming experience was in BASIC on a Commodore 64.

Fun Fact: I started performing live music at age 18.
Matt Dublin
Matt Dublin
Full Stack Developer

Responsible for web development, user support, and system administration. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Matt's previous areas of focus have been bioinformatics and media asset management.

Fun Fact: I'm a big fan of spoonerisms.
Mark Mangoba
Mark Mangoba
SysAdmin/DevOps

Elections and Candidates Research

Peter McLaughlin
Peter McLaughlin
Director of Elections and Candidates Research

Responsible for leading the Research programs that monitor elections, track candidate biographical information, research state/federal candidates' issue positions, and gather special interest group information. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 2016 with a degree in Government and International Studies. He joined Vote Smart initially as an intern in 2015 and returned as a staff member in 2016.

Fun Fact: "I've been to three of the four corners of the customary world map."
Rachael Anderson
Rachael Anderson
Research Associate

Responsible for updating ratings and endorsements from special interest groups. Rachael is originally from Minnesota and graduated from Dickinson College in 2014 with degrees in Political Science and Spanish. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2015 after completing an internship with the organization.

Fun Fact: "I have picnicked on top of a glacier."
Takuya Amagai
Takuya Amagai
Research Associate

Responsible for monitoring elections at the federal and state level. Takuya graduated from Carleton College in Spring, 2016 before joining the Vote Smart team.

Fun Fact: I believed in Santa Claus until age 18.
Lucia Herrera
Lucia Herrera
Research Associate

Responsible for researching biographical data as well as issue positions of candidates running for office or currently in office. Lucia is originally from Wisconsin and graduated from Kalamazoo College in 2016 with a major in International Area Studies and a minor in French. She initially joined Vote Smart as an intern in 2016 and returned as a staff member in 2017.

Fun Fact: I was a part of the Young Marines for 10 years.
Dave Babayev
Dave Babayev
Research Associate

Responsible for updating ratings and endorsements from special interest groups. David is originally from Des Moines and graduated Iowa State University in 2014 with a B.S. in Economics. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in Political Science at Iowa State University.

Fun Fact: I was born in Iowa, but learned Russian before English.
Holly Thayer
Holly Thayer
Research Associate

Emilee Harris
Emilee Harris
Research Associate

Neal Jensen
Neal Jensen
Research Associate

Originally from California, Neal has a degree in Political Science from the University Of Montana. He is currently working in Candidate Profiles, researching biographical information on state legislative candidates.

Fun Fact: I've played guitar for 16 years.

Officials Research

Annie Petersen
Annie Petersen
Director of Officials Research

Responsible for leading the Research programs that collect and maintain the organization's public statements and legislative information on all U.S. elected officials. Annie graduated from the University of Iowa in 2013 with a B.A. in Journalism and International Studies, with an emphasis in human rights. She worked as a freelance copyeditor and as an assistant manager in a clothing store before joining Vote Smart in March 2017.

Fun Fact: I chased Tom Brokaw down on the street for an autograph when I was 13.
Thomas Stone
Thomas Stone
Legislative Research Associate

Thomas is responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in congress and all 50 states. Thomas graduated early from Iowa State University in 2017 with a B.S. in History and a Minor in Sociology. Originally from Des Moines, Thomas is a Projectionist for the IMAX Theater at the Science Center of Iowa and first joined the VoteSmart team as an intern before starting full time in July.

Fun Fact: I walked across the stage at my college commencement ceremony before I turned 21.
James Wypych
James Wypych
Research Associate

Responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. James was born in Wellington, New Zealand. He graduated from Drake University in 2016 in International Relations and joined Vote Smart in March 2017.

Fun Fact: I was an Academic-All American at Drake University for soccer!
Duncan Robak
Duncan Robak
Research Associate

Responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. Duncan is originally from Nebraska and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2012 earning a degree in History. He joined the Vote Smart staff in May of 2017.

Fun Fact: I was captain of my high school's winless trivia team.
Nick Gerhardt
Nick Gerhardt
Research Associate

Nick is responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. Nick graduated from Iowa State University in 2017 with a degree in Political Science. He grew up in Ankeny and joined Vote Smart in July of 2017.

Fun Fact: I finished my Undergrad in just under 3 years.
Sarah Duncan
Sarah Duncan
Research Associate


Sarah grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Hamilton College in 2017 with a B.A. in World Politics focusing on poverty and inequality. Sarah joined Vote Smart in September 2017.

Fun Fact: My right foot is two shoe sizes larger than my left.
Anthony Jenkins
Anthony Jenkins
Research Associate

Responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in congress and all 50 states. Anthony is originally from Michigan and graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2017 with a major in International Studies and minor in Political Science. He joined Vote Smart in April of 2018.

Fun Fact: -I speak with a British accent even though I was born and raised in Michigan and no one else in my family has it.
Chelsea Hoye
Chelsea Hoye
Research Associate

Chelsea grew up in West Des Moines, IA. She graduated from the University of Iowa where she received a B.A. in political science with an emphasis in political behavior, and a minor in sociology. She is responsible for categorizing and researching politicians public statements. Chelsea joined Vote Smart in April of 2018.

Fun Fact: I once ruptured an eardrum while scuba diving in Fiji.
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