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
Interim 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 one 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."
Ashley Kraner
Ashley Kraner
Administrative Assistant, Office Manager, National Internship Coordinator

Responsible for assisting the National Director, managing the Philipsburg, MT office, and coordinating the National Internship Program, including outreach, recruitment, travel coordination and intern placement. Ashley earned her Bachelor of Public Relations from Otterbein University and joined the Vote Smart staff in 2015.

Development and Communications

Melisa Oberti
Melisa Oberti
Interim Development and Communications Director

Responsible for handling outgoing communications and donations. Melisa is originally from Houston, Texas. She received her B.A. in Religious Studies from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014 and joined the Vote Smart staff in 2015.

Fun Fact: I was a vegetarian for 6 years thanks to the movie Finding Nemo.
John Eisenstein
John Eisenstein
Development & Communications Associate

Responsible for handling donations and online communications. Originally from Nashville, TN, received B.A. in Russian Studies from Dartmouth College in 2015 before joining Vote Smart that same year.

Fun Fact: "I dyed my hair every color of the rainbow, one at a time, sequentially, to get a promotional deal with Skittles. They have yet to respond."
Cassie  Reed
Cassie  Reed
Development and Communications Assistant

Responsible for handling outgoing/ online communications and donations. Cassie is originally from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a degree in communications from Penn State University in December 2015. She worked as a Vote Smart intern during summer 2015, and joined the team as staff in April 2016.

Fun Fact: I worked at a dog kennel for 5 years when I was in high school.

Great Divide Ranch Headquarters

Erik Dewing
Erik Dewing
Maintenance Assistant

Responsible for maintaining the Great Divide Ranch property. Erik was born and raised in Missoula, MT. He is a self-proclaimed "jack of all trades and a master of some." He joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.

Fun Fact: "I will never purchase an item or product if I posses the skills to make it myself."

Information Technology

Mike Shultz
Mike Shultz
Information Technology Director

Responsible for web development, user support, and system administration. Mike has been with Project Vote Smart since 2007.

Fun Fact: "I once pet a sting ray."
Shane Courtney
Shane Courtney
Systems Administrator

Travis Flatt
Travis Flatt
Front End Developer

Responsible for web and mobile development. 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.
Adrian Sonnenschein
Adrian Sonnenschein
IT Associate

Responsible for web development and maintenance. Adrian lives in and works remotely from Tucson, AZ. He has an M.S. in geographic information systems from the University of Arizona. Adrian joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I've been a guitarist for 15 years."

Legislative Research (Key Votes)

Jace Sternadel
Jace Sternadel
Legislative Research Director

Responsible for leading the Key Votes Department and the Legislative Research Internship Program. The department tracks, analyzes, and summarizes major legislation in Congress and all 50 states. Jace graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Political Communications in 2013 and has previously staffed several political campaigns. He joined Vote Smart in 2015.

Fun Fact: I was a radio DJ for 3 years at KVRX 91.7 Austin, Texas (I had to say that a lot)
Sofia Morales
Sofia Morales
Legislative Research Associate

Responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in multiple states as well as outreach and recruitment. Sofia is originally from Monterrey, Mexico and completed her Bachelor in Anthropology and Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2015 after completing an internship with the organization.

Fun Fact: "I boarded down an active volcano in Nicaragua...and ate it pretty hard."
Kathryn Thiel
Kathryn Thiel
Legislative Research Associate

Responsible for tracking and summarizing major legislation in multiple states, in addition to coordinating intern schedules for the Austin office. Kathryn graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2015 with a B.A. in History and English within the Liberal Arts Honors Program. She previously worked as a Legislative Research Intern and joined the Vote Smart staff in 2015.

Fun Fact: I learned archery in a castle in Budapest.
Casey Floren
Casey Floren
Legislative Research Assistant

Casey is a Legislative Research Assistant for the Key Votes Department of Project Vote Smart, which provides nonpartisan information on state and national politicians by providing easy access to Congressional and state voting records and maintaining a collection of key votes grouped by issue. Casey previously served as a Legislative Research Intern for Project Vote Smart in the spring and summer of 2014. Casey graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Government and a minor in mathematics.

Fun Fact: My great, great, great, great grandfather was the first governor of Minnesota!

Political Courage Test

Sam Doxzon
Sam Doxzon
PCT Director

Responsible for overseeing all major PCT projects including the creation, finalization, and administration of the PCT as well as VoteEasy. After growing up on a small farm in rural Maryland, Sam attended the University of Maryland, College Park where he received a degree in Government & Politics. He joined Project Vote Smart in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I began my college career as an Astrophysics major at Connecticut College."
Hannah Kraus
Hannah Kraus
PCT Associate

Responsible for collecting biographical information on politicians and candidates and updating election information for the Political Courage Test department. Hannah is from Chicago, IL. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in History and Middle East & North African Studies. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.

Fun Fact: "I am destined to return to Egypt, since I drank Nile water."
Jesus Ortiz
Jesus Ortiz
PCT Associate

Responsible for assisting with various projects in the Research Department. Jesus grew up in Baldwin Park, CA. He graduated from the University of California - Davis with a degree in Political Science in 2012 and recently finished one year of service with Americorps NCCC-FEMA Corps. He joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.

Fun Fact: "I lived in an abandoned Sam's Club for about a month."
Keith Pakela
Keith Pakela
PCT Associate

Responsible for researching candidate's issues and view points. Keith was born in New Jersey and earned his B.A. in history and political science at Rutgers University.

Fun Fact: I don't like chili, eggs, or meatloaf. So do not make those when I come over. Thank you.

Research

Bill Carrigan
Bill Carrigan
Interim Research Director

Responsible for leading the Research department which researches and maintains the organization's biographical, campaign finance, public statements, and interest group ratings information on all U.S. elected officials and candidates. Born in southern New Jersey, Bill graduated from Monmouth University in 2014 with a BA in political science and minors in philosophy and religious studies. He joined Vote Smart in 2015.

Fun Fact: "I was once severely injured by a man dressed as a giant peanut."
Savannah Nguli
Savannah Nguli
Research Associate, Lodge Manager

Responsible for tracking and updating ballot measures, voter registration, local election offices and city and county officials in addition to ensuring smooth operations at the Great Divide Ranch. Savannah is originally from Long Beach, California and attended Norwich University in Northfield, VT where she received a degree in International Studies. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "My favorite hockey team is the Montreal Canadiens."
Jamie Willett
Jamie Willett
Research Associate

Responsible for collecting biographical information of all candidates and elected officials. Jamie is originally from Wayne County, PA. She graduated from Lock Haven University with degrees in Political Science and International Studies with concentrations in International Relations and Human Geography. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I like charts."
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."
Britton Fraser
Britton Fraser
Research Associate

Responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. Britton graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin with a major in Political Science. Originally from Connecticut, he joined the Vote Smart team in 2015.

Fun Fact: I'm a surprisingly decent cook.
Sam Evans
Sam Evans
Research Associate

Responsible for collecting biographical information, including issue positions and contact information, on all political candidates, both federal and state wide. Sam majored in history at the University of Vermont and joined the Vote Smart team in 2015.

Fun Fact: I drove from Costa Rica to Los Angeles in a 1976 Land Rover.
Iliana Cervantes
Iliana Cervantes
Research Associate

Responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. Iliana graduated from San Diego state with a major in political science. She joined the Vote Smart team in 2016.

Fun Fact: I was an exchange student to Italy.
Jesse Fischer
Jesse Fischer
Research Associate

Researching biographical data as well as issue positions of candidates running for office or currently in office. Jesse graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Secondary Education - Social Studies and joined Vote Smart in spring 2016.

Fun Fact: Cassie and I drove across the country to get to Montana..well worth it.
Daniel  Landeros
Daniel  Landeros
Research Associate

Responsible for updating ratings and endorsements from special interest groups. Daniel received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and Masters in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation from SIT Graduate Institute. He joined Vote Smart in Spring 2016.

Fun Fact: I went from novice to very proficient swimmer in a matter of weeks.

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