U.S. Senator Hickenlooper Announces Colorado Offices and Initial Staff Hires
U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper announced today regional offices across Colorado and initial staff hires. Hickenlooper is building a talented, diverse team of experienced policy experts, communicators, regional directors and constituent advocates who will deliver for Coloradans by running the nation’s best legislative and statewide outreach operation.
Hickenlooper’s initial regional offices will be located in Denver, Colorado Springs, Durango, Fort Collins, Grand Junction and Greeley. He also plans to open an office in Pueblo and a mobile office to serve the Eastern Plains, which will improve access to federal resources for our farming and ranching communities.
“As a United States Senator, listening to constituents is my first priority. To do that, we’re building the nation’s best outreach and constituent services operation to reach Coloradans in every corner of the state,” said Hickenlooper. “These are turbulent times, and families and small businesses across the state are looking to Washington for action. If you have an issue with a federal agency, a suggestion for legislation, a question for me, or simply want to say hi — give us a shout!”
During week one alone, Hickenlooper’s office received over 20,000 calls and emails from Coloradans who need help with unemployment benefits, veterans benefits, and other issues or want Congress to prioritize things like restoring the Voting Rights Act and addressing climate change.
Initial hires include:
Kirtan Mehta, Chief of Staff: Kirtan has served as a senior staffer to a number of Democratic officials, including U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. In addition to his private sector roles, he has almost a decade of experience in the United States Senate, building successful teams, developing coalitions, and working with all sides to find solutions on important issues. A rabid sports fan, Kirtan looks forward to attending Colorado ball games in the post-pandemic future.
Shad Murib, State Director: A first-generation American, Shad was born and raised in Colorado and served as senior staff on Hickenlooper’s U.S. Senate campaign. Just prior to that role, Shad was a key architect of Colorado’s new campaign finance reform and election modernization laws serving Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. He has served as Chief of Staff to the Colorado Senate Democrats, and as an advisor for Governor Jared Polis on his gubernatorial campaign and in his congressional office in Washington D.C. The 2022 National Western Stock Show can’t come soon enough for Shad.
Kaaren Hinck, Senior Advisor: Kaaren has spent over a decade working in the United States Senate and Democratic politics, most recently serving as a senior advisor to Elizabeth Warren. Prior to her work with Warren, Kaaren served as Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Senator John Kerry and as Director of Scheduling for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. She is jealous of her state staff counterparts and looks forward to exploring Colorado as soon as possible.
Kristin Lynch, Senior Advisor: Kristin is a senior strategist with nearly a decade working in Congress and on campaigns. She most recently was Communications Director for Senator Cory Booker and before that, she led the communications team for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign in Colorado. She has also served as a press aide to Senator Michael Bennet, Senator Mark Udall, and then-Congressman Jared Polis. Before getting into politics, Kristin was a journalist at the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia. She is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association and the Gay, Lesbian, and Allies Senate Staff Caucus. A big fan of craft beer, her favorite Colorado brew is Bristol’s Mass Transit Ale.
Kate Cassling, Legislative Director: Kate has more than a decade of experience working on and with Capitol Hill, including serving in policy roles for Senator Joe Manchin, Congresswoman Dina Titus, and Senator Susan Collins. She was most recently with the Bipartisan Policy Center Action where she oversaw health policy advocacy for the organization. She has two daughters, one of whom is named after Wonder Woman.
Alyssa Roberts, Communications Director: A lifelong Coloradan, Alyssa was a communications advisor for Hickenlooper’s U.S. Senate campaign and the Colorado Democratic Party. She is the former National Press Secretary for the League of Conservation Voters and has also served in campaign and official roles for Senators Michael Bennet, Mark Udall and Tom Udall. She looks forward to reinstating Cowboy Boot Friday when in-person work resumes.
Jordan Wells, Constituent Affairs Director: Jordan has nine years of experience working in congressional offices, including as a senior staffer for Senator Gary Peters. During his time in Congress he provided exceptional constituent service and has specialized experience ensuring veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned. He has a master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University. Jordan is an avid baseball fan and can’t wait to get back to Coors Field.
Sarah McCarthy, Western Colorado Regional Director: Sarah grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado and deeply values all the region has to offer. Sarah most recently represented Western Colorado interests at Conservation Colorado and managed the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance. Sarah is currently a fellow in the Colorado Governors Fellowship program. On the weekends you’ll find her exploring the nooks and crannies of high desert canyon country.
Kari Linker, Eastern Plains Regional Director: A lifelong Coloradan, Kari’s background lies in development where she most recently served as the Director of Development for Morgan Community College. In her time at the Colorado Office of Economic Development, Kari championed rolling out the statewide Colorado Blueprint Economic Development strategy in partnership with then-Governor Hickenlooper. She has also spent many years driving the economy as an economic developer on the eastern plains. Kari was raised and still resides in northeast Colorado, where she passionately aspires to build a better Colorado.
Erika Cabrera, Constituent Advocate: Erika is a Colorado local and first-generation college graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Erika has experience as a paralegal specializing in immigration law and helping Coloradans reach their family-based immigration goals. She is passionate about advocating for underserved communities and committed to learning about the unique experiences and intersections that shape each individual. Erika is thrilled to be joining our team and looks forward to connecting with constituents. In her free time, you will often see her with her Canon camera or GoPro in hand, driving out to seek new adventures throughout Colorado.
Nannette Byrne-Haupt, Constituent Advocate: Nannette served as the Constituent Caseworker for U.S. Senator Cory Gardner since 2015, where she worked as a liaison with a wide variety of federal agencies. Nannette’s extensive background in agency casework includes work with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Internal Revenue Service, National Archives, Small Business Administration and beyond. Prior to that, Nannette served as a Family Support Coordinator for the Department of the Army, Survivor Outreach Services program, assisting Gold Star families with obtaining federal benefits and support resources. Nannette holds a Masters in Social Work and is an avid fan of the popular television franchise My 90 Day Fiancé.
Johnnie Nguyen, Constituent Advocate: Johnnie was born and raised in Denver and is in his final year of law school at the University of Colorado. He currently serves as the sole law student on the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Board of Governors, overseeing the budget and general operations of the association. Prior to this role, he was the National Chair of the ABA’s Law Student Division. Prior to law school, Johnnie worked as a legislative aide in the Colorado State House and on various campaigns in Colorado. In his free time, he enjoys sampling free snacks at Costco, road-cycling, hiking, and lifting weights as well as playing pick-up basketball, video games, and Magic the Gathering.
Rayhaan Merani, Scheduler: Rayhaan joins the staff after serving as the Director of Scheduling & Advance on Hickenlooper’s U.S. Senate campaign. Prior to that, Rayhaan was the Deputy Director for Scheduling & Advance for the presidential campaign of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Rayhaan is an Ismaili Muslim and an immigrant, and hopes to use his lived experiences to serve the people of Colorado. Post pandemic, Rayhaan looks forward to returning to the Colorado Rockies and Red Rocks.
Mischa Smith, State Scheduler: Mischa is a dual Army brat who has lived in southern Colorado for most of her life and considers herself native at this point! She graduated from D3 schools and UCCS. Mischa has been involved in politics since 2008, ranging from Fellow to primary Advance Lead on the campaigns of President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Governor Polis, and Mayor Buttigieg. Most recently she served as the Deputy Political Director for Hickenlooper’s senatorial campaign. She is hoping to bring the office energy through Taylor Swift and Emo music!
Andrew Jorgenson, Digital Director: Andrew most recently served on the digital team for Hickenlooper’s campaign, where he directed videos and encouraged the former governor to sing his way to the United States Senate. He previously was the Digital Director for Senator Gary Peters and served in official and campaign roles for former-Senator Joe Donnelly. He would be remiss to not include the new Senator’s official social media accounts which are @SenatorHick on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (coming soon!).
Camilla Vogt, Legislative Assistant: Camilla moved to Colorado for college and has been a Coloradan at heart ever since. She served as Hickenlooper’s policy manager on his campaign for U.S. Senate, and previously worked in the offices of then-Congressman Jared Polis and Senator Michael Bennet. In addition to her public sector experience, Camilla spent three years working with social entrepreneurship accelerators in Boulder and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. She loves the outdoors and has hiked all of Colorado’s 14-ers except for 49 of them.
Conor Frickel, Technology Advisor: Conor is an experienced Systems Administrator and Cybersecurity Advisor who has over a decade of United States Senate experience. He has served as the Director of IT for Senator Michael Bennet since 2015. Prior to his time with Senator Bennet, he worked for Senator Mark Pryor as a Systems Administrator. As a Washington-area native, he now feels like an honorary Coloradan and is proud to serve both senators from the Centennial State.
John Conrad, Legislative Correspondent and Special Assistant: John grew up in Colorado before leaving to go to school in Washington, D.C. and London. After completing his MSc in International Relations, John started on Hickenlooper’s U.S. Senate campaign as the “wrangler.”
Quinn Egan, Staff Assistant: A proud Colorado native and lifelong Rockies fan, Quinn is thrilled to join Hickenlooper’s Denver office. Before joining the official side of the operation, she worked for Hickenlooper for Colorado in the Political Department, first as a fellow and then an associate. A semi-recent college graduate, Quinn spent time after graduation in Bozeman, Montana as a ski instructor at Bridger Bowl, and then in D.C. working as an intern for Senator Michael Bennet. After starting in the position, Quinn has found it nearly impossible to get Dolly Parton’s ‘9 To 5,’ out of her head.
Julia Barry, Staff Assistant: Born and raised in Colorado, Julia was a finance associate on Hickenlooper’s U.S. Senate campaign, and has formerly been involved in both official and campaign roles in Colorado politics. She is attempting to ski at every ski area in Colorado, which she hopes to achieve by winter 2022.
Nora Simon, Staff Assistant: Nora is a proud recent graduate of Colorado State University. While in school, she interned for Congressman Joe Neguse and volunteered on a number of Democratic political campaigns. Originally from Oregon, she considers Colorado to be her second home and is excited to get to work on behalf of Colorado communities. Despite her pronounced fear of heights, Nora is an avid rock climber.
John Hickenlooper has spent the last twenty years finding solutions to challenges facing Coloradans. He is excited to continue and expand those efforts in the US Senate.
John started his career in Colorado as a geologist. After being laid off in the long recession of the mid-80’s, along with an estimated 10,000 other Earth Science professionals, he opened the state’s first brewpub in a neglected warehouse district in Lower Downtown (LoDo) Denver. He and his partners started multiple businesses, renovating nearly a full block of LoDo warehouses in mixed-use developments that included 90 units of affordable housing. His company led the renovation efforts of more than a dozen historic buildings in cities across the Midwest.
In 2003, John was elected Mayor of Denver. As Mayor, he focused on bringing people together to get things done, just as he’d done as an entrepreneur. He unified all 34 metro mayors to fund and build FasTracks, at 119 miles of new track the most ambitious US transit initiative in modern American history. John made Denver the first large city to provide quality Early Childhood Education for every 4-year old, initiated the most significant police reforms in the City’s history, and opened one of the first offices of sustainability in the country.
John served as Governor of Colorado from 2011 to 2019. During his tenure, Colorado’s economy recovered from ranking 40th in job creation during the Great Recession to become the number one ranked economy in the country (US News & World Report). As Governor, he expanded health care to half a million Coloradans, established climate pollution limits that served as a national model, and enacted commonsense gun safety measures. He oversaw the creation of the first regulatory framework in the US for the legalization of recreational marijuana, which has become the gold standard for other states.
As Colorado’s U.S. Senator, John will continue working to bring people together to address Colorado’s toughest problems — whether rebuilding a stronger, more resilient economy after Covid, lowering the costs of health care and prescription drugs, or combatting climate change and protecting our public lands. He is honored to work for the people of Colorado.