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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.



Steven Bliss, Director of Strategic Communications

Steven Bliss joined the Budget Center in 2011, bringing to the organization 20 years of experience in strategic communications, policy research, and advocacy. Prior to joining the Budget Center, he was executive director of Renew Lehigh Valley, which works to promote urban revitalization and regional equity in eastern Pennsylvania. He previously worked for several years as a San Francisco-based consultant specializing in policy research and analysis on housing, welfare, education, workforce development, public health, transportation, and regional economic development. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and holds a master’s degree in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.


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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, State Policy Fellow

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. 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.

Yesenia Jameson

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Yesenia Jameson, Communications Associate

Yesenia Jameson joined the Budget Center in 2016. She previously was on the communications team at Housing California, a statewide nonprofit whose mission is to increase the supply of safe, affordable housing and to prevent and end homelessness. Yesenia supported one of Housing California’s statewide advocacy networks by producing action-oriented newsletter articles on topics related to California government and policy and the state’s housing affordability crisis. Prior to this, Yesenia worked in several education-related roles, including writing tutor at the University of California, Berkeley, guest teacher in the Natomas Unified School District, and curriculum writer for Fruitful Minds, a Bay Area nonprofit working to improve childhood nutrition and health. Yesenia graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor’s degree in English and religious studies.



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

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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.



Amy Rose, Policy Analyst

Amy Rose joined the Budget Center in June 2017 and focuses on criminal justice reform and higher education. She recently completed her master’s degree in public policy and administration, with an emphasis on behavioral economics, from Northwestern University. Amy received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked in various government and nonprofit institutions at the local, state, and federal levels. Amy is passionate about education, social justice, and community development.


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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.


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Janis Yee, Development Manager

Janis Yee joined the Budget Center as communications associate in 2015 and became development manager in March 2016. 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.