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Jayapal Hires Experienced Staff to Fight for Justice, Opportunity and Progress

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal announced her team of diverse and seasoned staffers for the 115th Congress.

“My goal in this term is to protect and expand opportunity for all people,” Jayapal said. “I’m proud to have such an exceptional team that reflects the diversity of Washington’s 7th Congressional District. These are professionals who have the tenacity, deep knowledge and organizing experience to fight for progressive change.”

Members of Jayapal’s team have worked on climate change, reproductive health, criminal justice, immigration reform, the social safety net, economic development, small business, transportation, and many other issues. The following individuals will serve in Jayapal’s Seattle office:

Rachel Berkson is the district director. Berkson is the former executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. Berkson has also worked as the executive director of the SEIU Washington State Council and as a lead organizer with the Working Families Party. She is a graduate of Connecticut College.

Zach Carstensen is the director of outreach and engagement. Carstensen is the former director of elected leadership development for Leadership for Educational Equity and director of government relations and public affairs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Iowa State University and his juris doctor degree from Drake University School of Law.

Lylianna Allala is an outreach coordinator. Allala was the program manager of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at the Environmental Leadership Program. She is a graduate of Winona State University.

Sarah Brady is a constituent services coordinator. Brady was a field organizer on the Jayapal campaign and a community organizer with Working Washington, organizing fast food workers and community groups to raise the statewide minimum wage. She is a graduate of Seattle University.

Ansel Herz is the deputy communications director. Before this role, Herz was a reporter at the Seattle alt-weekly, The Stranger, with a focus on politics and police accountability. Herz has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

Raman Khanna is a constituent services coordinator. Khanna was a constituent services representative for Senator Patty Murray’s office, handling casework related to the Internal Revenue Service, Affordable Care Act, and U.S Department of Education, as well as running Murray’s Seattle internship program. He has a political science degree from Seattle University.

Hamdi Mohamed is the constituent services and outreach coordinator. Mohamed is a graduate of the University of Washington and worked as a field organizer on the Jayapal campaign. She also worked for the Refugee Women Alliance where she helped prepare low-income residents for job search and employment attainment.

Yazmin Mehdi is an outreach coordinator. Mehdi was previously the director of business development & marketing for Crosscut, a special assistant on arts and culture for Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, and director of community programs and events at Seattle Public Library.

The following individuals will serve in Jayapal’s Washington D.C. office:

Carmen Frias is the chief of staff. Most recently, Frias served as chief of staff for former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona. Before that role, she served Rep. Kirkpatrick in a variety of capacities, including deputy district director, director of constituent services and casework and scheduler. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Ven Neralla is the deputy chief of staff and legislative director. Neralla served in the Obama administration, handling congressional affairs at the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House.

Omer Farooque is the communications director. Farooque previously worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign, Democracy for America and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Farooque earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a master’s degree from the George Washington University.

Makenzie Mastrud is the scheduler. Mastrud, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, worked for former Rep. Kirkpatrick and attended Northern Arizona University, where she served as the student body president.

Danielle Fulfs is a legislative assistant. She worked on Jayapal’s campaign after serving as the program director at the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University Chicago and a Master of Arts in international relations from the University of Chicago.

Jennifer Chan is also a legislative assistant. Chan previously worked as the associate director of policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago. She earned her master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. She is a Seattle native.

Kaid Tipton is the staff assistant and legislative correspondent. Tipton interned for Congressman Adam Smith and recently graduated from the University of Washington. Kaid was part of the track team for all four years of college.


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