Chris Hoene, Executive Director
Chris Hoene became the Budget Center’s executive director in October 2012, bringing to the organization 15 years of leadership in state and local policy research and analysis. He leads the strategic direction of the organization, acts as primary spokesperson, and works with the board of directors and community partners to implement our vision and mission. Prior to joining the Budget Center, Chris was director of the Center for Research and Innovation at the National League of Cities in Washington, DC, leading efforts to analyze trends in local and state government and promote constructive policy action on issues including public finance, economic development, housing, poverty reduction, infrastructure, and governance. Chris also previously worked for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, DC, and the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco. Chris holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science of the College of Idaho. In 2011, in recognition of his service to the state and local community, Chris was elected as a Fellow into the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).
Alissa Anderson, Senior Policy Analyst
Alissa Anderson initially joined the Budget Center in 2005 and served the organization for nearly eight years analyzing trends in California’s labor market. After a year hiatus, Alissa rejoined the organization in 2014, focusing on state strategies for reducing poverty. Prior to joining the Budget Center, Alissa worked for several years as a researcher in the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, and conducted research for various organizations including the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. She holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Bryn Mawr College.
Monica Davalos, Research Associate
Monica Davalos joined the Budget Center in May 2019. She previously worked as a legislative assistant at the California Medical Association where she supported the Center for Government Relations and was the staff coordinator for the Council on Legislation. Prior to this, Monica served in Office of Governor Jerry Brown where she focused on assisting Californians with issues related to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Transportation Agency. She completed multiple legislative based internships around Sacramento and was part of the UC Center Sacramento Spring 2017 Cohort. Monica received her bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of California, Davis.
Scott Graves, Director of Research
Scott Graves joined the Budget Center in 2002 and has served as director of research since 2014. In this role, he oversees the Budget Center’s analytical work, conducts research and analysis related to health and human services and corrections, and is the organization’s lead analyst on the state and county budget processes. Scott has covered a number of other policy areas at the Budget Center, including child care, preschool, and housing, with a focus on both the state and federal levels. Prior to joining the Budget Center, Scott worked as a researcher in Austin, Texas, for the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, Consumers Union, and the Public Policy Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin. He also was a California executive fellow and worked as a reporter for newspapers in Arizona and California. Scott received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in government and journalism from California State University, Sacramento.
Esi Hutchful, Policy Analyst
Esi Hutchful joined the Budget Center in August 2017 as a State Policy Fellow working on budget and tax policy as well as supports for low-income individuals and families. She became a policy analyst with the Budget Center in August 2019. Esi recently received her master’s degree in public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School at the University of Michigan, where her graduate work focused on poverty, child and family policy, and public finance. She earned her bachelor’s degree in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies from Yale University and has previously worked in the nonprofit sector on public interest publishing, reproductive rights, and girls’ afterschool enrichment programs.
Sarah Jimenez, Director of Strategic Communications
Sarah Jimenez joined the Budget Center in May 2019, bringing more than 15 years of strategic communications and public affairs experience. Previously she worked for Paschal Roth Public Affairs in Sacramento and worked on a variety of communications and public policy campaigns, including the passage of two statewide housing bonds in November 2018 as well as efforts to improve California’s child care system. She also previously worked for the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). Sarah started her career in journalism in California’s Central Valley. She worked as a television news producer for Fresno’s CBS affiliate before becoming a reporter for The Fresno Bee. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in Print Journalism and Gender Studies from the University of Southern California.
Jonathan Kaplan, Senior Policy Analyst
Jonathan Kaplan joined the Budget Center in 2006. He analyzes education policy with a focus on K-12 and higher education. Prior to joining the Budget Center, Jonathan taught law and United States history for seven years in Martinez, California, where he also served as chair of Alhambra High School’s social science department. He holds a master’s degree in education from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and received his bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University.
Sara Kimberlin, Senior Policy Analyst
Sara Kimberlin joined the Budget Center in January 2017, bringing with her more than 15 years of experience in California in the fields of policy analysis, social science research, human services, and housing. Sara came to the Budget Center from the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, where she continues to be an Affiliate. At the Center on Poverty and Inequality, she conducted research and analysis of poverty trends, safety-net programs, and policy proposals intended to improve outcomes for low-income families and individuals. Sara has also worked as a research fellow for the John Burton Foundation, focusing on child welfare policy; as development director for Shelter Network (now LifeMoves), a homeless services nonprofit; and as an independent consultant to nonprofits, foundations, and cross-sector partnerships, specializing in workforce development, housing, and safety-net supports. She holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.
Kayla Kitson, Policy Analyst
Kayla Kitson joined the Budget Center in October 2018 to focus primarily on tax policy issues. She most recently worked at Americans for Tax Fairness in Washington, DC, on federal tax policy and has also spent time at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington. She also previously held positions at organizations focusing on affordable housing and homelessness in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Kayla received a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Aureo Mesquita, Research Associate
Aureo Mesquita joined the Budget Center in March 2019. He previously interned at Albright Stonebridge Group in Washington DC where he analyzed public-private partnerships in Latin America. Prior to this, he interned at the Wilson Center where he researched new political movements and analyzed the need for pension reform in Brazil. Aureo was a member of the Council of Brazilian Citizens at the General Consulate in San Francisco where he supported youth and undocumented Brazilians in the Bay Area through the dissemination of health, education, and legal resources. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley and is a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellow from Princeton University.
Adriana Ramos-Yamamoto, Policy Analyst
Adriana Ramos-Yamamoto joined the Budget Center in February 2019. Her work will primarily focus on health policy, specifically to increase access to and understanding of California’s mental health system and to contribute to the Budget Center’s work on social determinants of health. Prior to joining the Budget Center, Adriana worked as a health policy associate at The Children’s Partnership and as a graduate student intern and health educator at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for the Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Programs. Adriana received her master’s degree in public health from the University of Southern California and her bachelor’s degree in government from Claremont McKenna College.
Marcela Salvador, Publications & Data Visualization Strategist
Marcela Salvador joined the Budget Center in September 2020. Her work focuses on brand management and visual communication strategies. Marcela works closely with the communications team and other Budget Center staff with the goal of ensuring the organization’s publications and products are effectively designed and useable in the shaping of budget and policy choices important to Californians with low and middle incomes. Prior to joining the Budget Center, Marcela worked as a communications coordinator at the California LGBTQ Health & Human Services Network. She also held multimedia production positions in public and private media companies in New York City. Marcela holds a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism form Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador).
Erik Saucedo, State Policy Fellow
Erik Saucedo joined the Budget Center as a State Policy Fellow in August 2020 to focus on education policy. He is a former Spanish teacher and chair of the world languages department at Hiram Johnson high school in Sacramento. Recently, Erik was a program coordinator with the Pipeline Project at the University of Washington focusing on academic support for K-12 students in low-income communities in Seattle. Erik received a master’s degree in education policy from the University of Washington, where he focused on immigrant youth and access to AP courses for students of color. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociocultural anthropology from the University of California, Davis.
Kristin Schumacher, Senior Policy Analyst
Kristin Schumacher joined the Budget Center as a policy analyst in 2013 and has been a senior policy analyst since November 2017. Prior to joining the Budget Center, she taught public policy and public administration courses in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver and held research positions with the University and the Feminist Majority Foundation. She also worked in fundraising and development with the Colorado AIDS Project in Denver. She received a Ph.D. in public affairs from the University of Colorado Denver and a master’s degree in social work with an emphasis in policy and administration from the University of Texas, Austin.
Janice Selby, Director of Operations
Janice Selby has been the Budget Center’s director of operations since 2014 and has been with the organization since 2008. As director of operations, she is responsible for managing the Budget Center’s day-to-day administrative operations. Additionally, she oversees layout, production, and distribution of publications and logistical arrangements for events and meetings. Janice received her bachelor’s degree in communications from San Jose State University.
Mauricio Torres, Communications Strategist
Mauricio Torres joined the Budget Center in July 2019. As communications strategist, his work will focus on helping ensure multiple audiences have access to the Budget Center’s work. He previously worked as a campaign coordinator at Paschal Roth Public Affairs in Sacramento where he assisted a wide portfolio of clients in the fields of affordable housing, health care, and clean energy. Prior to this, Mauricio completed multiple internships in Sacramento, including with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s press office. Mauricio received his bachelor’s degrees in political science and communication studies from California State University, Sacramento.
Janis Yee, Director of Advancement
Janis Yee joined the Budget Center as communications associate in 2015 and became development manager in March 2016. She began her current role as director of advancement in March 2019. Prior to the Budget Center, she worked for two San Francisco Bay Area-based communications firms focused on social change. From developing communications strategies to coordinating events, Janis worked with various nonprofit and foundation clients in the issue areas of child welfare, foster care, and juvenile justice. Janis received her bachelor’s degree in business administration, concentrating in marketing, with minors in psychology and economics, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.