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Congresswoman

-
elect Deb Haaland
announced staff
hires for her team
which will begin
work January 3 . rd

Haaland made
history in the 2018
midterm when she
was elected as one
of the first Native
American women
to serve in
Congress. She will
take the oath of
office on January
3 , the first day of
rd

the 116 Congress.
th

“My team is ready
to work for New
Mexico starting on
day 1,” said
Congresswoman-
Elect Deb Haaland.
“I know how
difficult it was for
me to imagine a
Native American
woman in
Congress because
it was something I
had never seen
before. It is equally
important for my
staff to be diverse
so I hired a
talented,
experienced team
to work for our
district that is as
diverse as the
beautiful state I
represent. I’m
pleased that we
have hired a
majority-minority
staff.”

Two-thirds of the
staff are from the
state of New
Mexico and sixty
percent are
women. In
addition, two thirds
of
Congresswoman-
elect’s senior staff
are from diverse
backgrounds. The
experienced team
who will be serving
New Mexico’s First
Congressional
District is listed
below:

Leadership
Team

Chief of Staff –
Jennifer Van de
Heide
Jennifer Van der
Heide has more
than 25 years of
federal, state, and
local legislative
and local
legislative, legal,
and electoral
experience in both
the public and
private sectors,
including as fmr.
Rep. Mike Honda’s
Chief of Staff of 16
years. She also has
specific expertise
in tribal law and
policy, which
stems from her
experience as
Washington
Director for the
Hoopa Valley Tribe
and as their on-
reservation Tribal
Attorney and Tribal
Attorney for
California Indian
Legal Services. Van
der Heide is a
Senior Stennis
Congressional Staff
Fellow, a senior
Congressional
European
Parliamentary
Fellow and
Women’s
Executive
Leadership
Program Fellow.
She is a working
single mother with
a 9th grade
daughter in DC
public schools.
District Director
- Scott Forrester
Born and raised in
Albuquerque, NM,
Scott Forrester has
more than a
decade of
experience in
national, state and
local government.
Forrester served as
Albuquerque
Mayor Martin
Chavez’s assistant
and moved up to
Chief of Staff. He
has a record of
working for diverse
candidates
including the only
two Latinas on
Albuquerque’s City
Council, the first
openly gay mayor
in New Mexico,
Hillary Clinton, and
managing
Congresswoman-
elect Deb
Haaland’s historic
campaign. He is
raising his family
in Albuquerque,
New Mexico.

Congressional
Office in
Washington D.C.

Legislative
Director – Eric
Werwa
Dr. Eric Werwa
comes to the office
with 17 years of
Congressional
experience. As an
engineer and Ph.D.
in electronic
materials from MIT,
and a former
college professor,
he has a history of
working in science
and tech policy
issues including
climate change
and renewable
energy, and with
the national labs.
Dr. Werwa
spearheaded the
bipartisan 21st
Century
Nanotechnology
Research
Development Act,
which became law
in 2003. He most
recently served as
Legislative Director
for
Congresswoman
Lucille Roybal-
Allard (D-CA),
Ranking member
of the Homeland
Security and
Appropriations
Committee.

Communications
Director – Felicia
Salazar
Born and raised in
the rural area of
New Mexico’s First
Congressional
District , Felicia
Salazar brings
nearly a decade of
communications
and digital media
experience to the
team. After
graduating from
the University of
New Mexico,
Salazar worked in
U.S. Senator Martin
Heinrich’s press
office and has
since worked in
press shops for in
the New Mexico
House under
Speaker Brian
Egolf and most
recently for the
City of
Albuquerque in
Mayor Tim Keller’s
Office. Salazar
specializes in
social media and
works to make
government
approachable and
transparent.

Senior
Legislative
Assistant –
Yvesner Zamar
Yvesner is a lawyer
who worked for
nearly four years
for Judiciary
Committee
Ranking Member
Rep. John Conyers
and comes with
breadth of
legislative policy
expertise. He
founded the
Haitian-American
Staff Association in
Congress.
Previously, he
worked with the
American Civil
Liberties Union
(ACLU) of the
Nation’s Capital
Area, the Federal
Health and
Families Team at
AARP, and served
two years on
National Black Law
Students
Association’s
(NBLSA) National
Board as National
Historian and
National Attorney
General. During his
time with NBLSA,
he played a role in
international
efforts in
delegations to
Haiti and Canada.
Legislative
Assistant - Heidi
Todacheene
Heidi Todacheene
is an enrolled
member of Navajo
Nation from
Farmington, New
Mexico and her
clans are:
Bilagáana (Anglo),
born for Táchii’nii
(Red-Running-Into-
The-Water) and her
maternal
grandfathers are
Bilagáana and her
paternal
grandfathers are
Honágháahnii
(One-walks-around
clan). Todacheene
is a University of
New Mexico
graduate, and after
earning a J.D. and
Law of Indigenous
People Certificate
from the University
of New Mexico
School of Law, she
worked with Tribal
and Pueblo
communities at the
New Mexico Indian
Affairs Department
in Santa Fe. Later,
she served as an
Associate Attorney
at a civil law firm
in Albuquerque.
Most recently, she
worked on
government and
legislative affairs
for the Navajo
Nation in
Washington, D.C.

Scheduler/Office
Manager -
Christopher
Garcia
Christopher Garcia
began his career in
the service
industry where he
became a general
manager at Jimmy
John’s at a young
age. He later
earned his degree
and went on to law
school. He worked
as a Staff
Assistant/Intern
Coordinator for
Senator Klobuchar
and also managed
the Chief of Staff's
schedule. He was
raised by a single
mother who is
disabled giving
him valuable
experience with
ADA policies.
Alejandro Oms -
Legislative
Correspondent
For almost two
years, Alejandro
has served the
state of New
Mexico in Senator
Martin Heinrich’s
office. Oms
interned with
LULAC and the
Truman National
Security Project.
He was raised in a
military family and
at the age of
eleven he settled
in Albuquerque,
New Mexico. While
in college, racial
incidents on
campus spurred
him to get involved
in student
government and
campus activism.

Staff Assistant -
Naomie Germain
Naomie is a proud
Haitian-American
born and raised in
Albuquerque, New
Mexico. For the
past year and a
half, Naomie has
served as the
Policy Associate at
Young Women
United. In her role,
she facilitated
leadership
development and
lobbied to maintain
access to a full-
range of
reproductive
health in New
Mexico. Naomie
graduated from
the University of
New Mexico with a
degree in Political
Science in 2016,
and in the same
year was crowned
Miss New Mexico
USA, where she
represented New
Mexico at the
national Miss USA
competition.

District Office in
Albuquerque
New Mexico

Senior Field
Representative -
Sofia Sanchez
Sofia Sanchez was
born and raised in
the Albuquerque
area and comes
from a long line of
public servants.
She studied
journalism at the
University of New
Mexico. Her
family’s roots run
deep in the area as
a member of the
Atrisco Land Grant.
With a background
in communications
and community
organizing, Sofia
most recently
served as the
Coordinator for
ABQ Volunteers in
Albuquerque
Mayor Keller's
office, working to
foster a culture of
service in the
community. Prior
to that, she worked
as Coordinator of
Collective Impact
for an AmeriCorps
VISTA program run
through the City of
Albuquerque.

Constituent
Services
Manager - Jon
Moore
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 8
months living in
Ecuador studying
Spanish and
teaching English.
Most recently,
Moore helps
connect residents
in New Mexico’s
First Congressional
District with
federal services
and programs as a
constituent
services
representative for
former
Congresswoman
Michelle Lujan
Grisham.

Constituent
Services
Representative/S
pecial Projects
Coordinator -
Cynthia Hull
Cynthia Hull has
worked as a Field
Representative
and Constituent
Services
Representative for
U.S. Senators
Heinrich and Udall
and former Rep.
Harry Teague.
Most recently,
Cynthia worked as
a Field
Representative
with Senator
Martin Heinrich,
working on
immigration,
healthcare,
economic
development and
international trade.
Hull has also
enjoyed the
opportunity to help
coordinate events
such as Si Se
Puede and a
Binational
Women’s
Entrepreneur
event, which focus
on equipping
Spanish Speakers
with the tools and
resources they
need to start or
expand their small
business. Prior to
working in the
Senate, Cynthia
was selected to
participate in a
politics and
journalism
fellowship with
Bloomberg
Television in
Washington, DC
and she worked as
a reporter for an
NPR affiliate
station covering
immigration
issues. Hull and
her husband are
raising their
daughter in
Albuquerque, New
Mexico.

Brenda McKenna
- Field
Representative
Brenda McKenna is
a Nambé Ówîngeh
(Tewa) Tribal
Member. She
earned a BA from
Syracuse
University and a
MS in Organization
Development from
Central
Washington
University. Since
returning to New
Mexico, Brenda
has served as
coordinator for the
Nanbé Tewa
Language
Revitalization
Program, chair for
Nambé former
gaming enterprise
board, as an
examiner and
team editor for
Quality New
Mexico, co-chair
for a Stabilizing
Indigenous
Language
Symposium and in
Precinct and Vice-
Ward Chair
positions. She also
served as a
Program Manager
for the New Mexico
Medical Society in
Albuquerque; a
Patient Relations
Facilitator at
Lovelace Medical
Center; the
Director of Public
Relations at the
League of Women
Voters in NM; and
was an advocate
for domestic
violence for over
two years in
Syracuse, NY. She
is an advisory
board member for
Wildlife
Conservation
Advocacy
Southwest and
volunteers for
Prairie Dog Pals
and Animal
Protection New
Mexico.

Field
Representative -
Tsailii Rogers
Tsailii ("Say-Lee")
Rogers brings
more than sixteen
years of
experience in
business
development,
client relations,
multimedia
production, and
philanthropy. With
deep roots in New
Mexico, Arizona,
and California,
Tsailii Rogers
established a
successful
business before
earning a
Bachelor’s in
Business
Administration
from the University
of New Mexico,
and she produced
her first social
impact film before
she started
building pathways
for underserved
filmmakers to gain
real-world
experience in the
film and fashion
industries. Her
Diné (Navajo)
father influenced a
passion for
building
unparalleled
connections with
global
communities, while
her Latina, single-
mother and
extended family
instilled a lifelong
commitment to
self-development
and public service.

Staff Assistant -
Molly Callaghan
Molly Callaghan
recently graduated
from the University
of New Mexico in
2018 with a double
major in Political
Science and
International
Studies. Callaghan
spent much of her
college experience
working to elect
local and statewide
candidates in New
Mexico. She
also volunteers at
a Horse Therapy
Center.

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