In Washington, Congresswoman Porter has remained committed to putting Orange County families first. As a member of House Financial Services Committee and the House Oversight and Reform Committee, she’s asked tough questions of bank CEOs and administration officials to hold them accountable to the American people. She has also been a key supporter of legislation to reduce the influence of dark money in politics and restore ethics to Washington.
As a single working mom, Rep. Porter knows firsthand about the challenges faced by working families. She’s introduced bipartisan legislation to allow families to set aside more pre-tax income for dependent care. She’s continued to press for a repeal of the limits on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction, which has hit California’s middle-class families especially hard.
Before coming to Congress, Porter spent nearly two decades taking on the special interests that dominate American politics and drown out the voices of working families. As California’s independent watchdog against the banks, she made sure the big banks that had cheated Orange County homeowners followed through on their promise to help affected families get back on their feet. As a consumer finance expert, Congresswoman Porter also helped Congress pass the original Credit CARD Act in 2009, which enacted federal protections from abusive credit card fees.
@RepKatiePorter (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook)
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Event: Kickoff Event – State of Student Debt in California (Thursday, November 19 at 9:30am PST)
On January 24, 2017, Xavier Becerra was sworn in as the 33rd Attorney General of the State of California, and is the first Latino to hold the office in the history of the state.
The State’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Becerra has decades of experience serving the people of California through appointed and elected office, where he has fought for working families, the vitality of the Social Security and Medicare programs and issues to combat poverty among the hardworking families. He has also championed the state’s economy by promoting and addressing issues impacting job generating industries such as health care, clean energy, technology, and entertainment.
Attorney General Becerra previously served 12 terms in Congress as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. While in Congress, Attorney General Becerra was the first Latino to serve as a member of the powerful Committee on Ways And Means, served as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and was Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security.
Prior to serving in Congress, Attorney General Becerra served one term in the California Legislature as the representative of the 59th Assembly District in Los Angeles County. He is a former Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice. The Attorney General began his legal career in 1984 working in a legal services office representing the mentally ill.
Born in Sacramento, California, Attorney General Becerra is the son of working-class parents and was the first in his family to receive a four-year degree, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School. His mother was born in Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States after marrying his father. He is married to Dr. Carolina Reyes, and they are the proud parents of three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia and Natalia.
Twitter & Facebook: @AGBecerra
Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) Event: Kickoff Event – State of Student Debt in California (Thursday, November 19 at 9:30am PST)
Assemblymember Mark Stone represents the people of California’s 29th Assembly District, which includes portions of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Monterey Counties. Now in his fourth term as a state legislator, he has earned his reputation as a leader helping California’s most vulnerable residents.
For the last several years, Mark has served as Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which reviews legislation on issues including family law, product and tort liability and immunity, immigration, commercial contracts, court and jury procedures, and civil practice. He has written several laws to protect the civil rights of members of the LGBT+ community, sexually exploited youth, and immigrants.
As a long-time member of the Assembly Human Services Committee, Mark has successfully fought to transform group homes for foster youth into places where youth can access intensive therapy and services, create a California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) for working families, assist low-income pregnant women better prepare for the arrival of their babies, and protect critical benefits for poor families.
As an environmental champion, Mark has fought to curb illegal coastal development, reduce plastic pollution, and clean up drinking water supplies. In his capacity as Chair of the Select Committee on Coastal Protection and Access to Natural Resources, he has held hearings investigating oil spill prevention efforts, plastic garbage effects on the coastal environment, offshore fracking, beach erosion, and coastal access for all Californians.
As a member of the Banking and Finance Committee, Mark has fought for consumer protections and against predatory practices. This includes authoring and the passage of AB 376 (2020) which gives Student Loan Borrowers a Bill of Rights and stops predatory practices by these agencies.
Mark has written numerous laws to help people released from prison reintegrate into society as part of his commitment to criminal justice reform. He has worked to help juveniles in the justice system get the mental health services they need, and to ensure that they can succeed in their communities when they are released.
Before his service in the Assembly, Mark represented the Central Coast in various capacities. He was elected twice to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, where he worked on health care, education, youth issues and the environment. While there, he held leadership roles on the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, and the First 5 Commission. Additionally, Mark led an overhaul of the Santa Cruz County child welfare system. He was an outspoken supporter of the Queer Youth Task Force and fought to halt discrimination of LGBT youth. As an environmental defender at the local level, he spearheaded the successful effort to ban single-use plastic bags. In addition to his duties as a County Supervisor, Mark served the entire Central Coast as Vice Chair of the California Coastal Commission.
Prior to his work at the County, Mark was a trustee of the Scotts Valley Unified School District, eventually being elected President. Before entering public service, Mark worked as an attorney in the tech industry and as a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School. Mark lives in Scotts Valley with his wife Kathy. They have two adult children. Stone is an avid open water swimmer. ###
Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) Event: Kickoff Event – State of Student Debt in California (Thursday, November 19 at 9:30am PST)
Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris represents California’s 74th Assembly District – Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, and portions of Irvine & Huntington Beach.
Cottie Petrie-Norris is a businesswoman and community leader who was elected to the State Assembly in 2018. In her first term, Cottie has secured millions of dollars in funding for projects in our district and introduced important legislation to combat sea level rise, improve services for veterans and help small businesses.
Cottie serves as Chair of the Assembly’s Accountability and Administrative Review Committee and as Chair of the Select Committee on Student Debt. She also serves on the Assembly’s committees for Appropriations, Revenue & Taxation and Veterans Affairs.
Cottie grew up in San Diego County and is a graduate of Yale University. Prior to being elected to the Assembly, Cottie had a successful career in finance and technology. She has helped build businesses and lead teams at Fortune 500 corporations, small companies and start-ups.
Cottie lives in Laguna Beach with her husband, Colin, their two sons Dylan & Hayden and their rescue dog Flounder.
Michael Torpey Event: Student Debt Workshop – Quiz Show Host for Cash Prizes (Friday, November 20 at 11:30am PST).
Michael Torpey was the host and creator of Paid Off, a game show made to fight the student debt crisis. His other credits include Orange Is The New Black, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Red Oaks, Sneaky Pete, Veep, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Week Tonight and as a frequent guest performer on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Natalia Abrams – Executive Director, Student Debt Crisis Event: State of Student Debt in America panel (Thursday, November 19 at 10:30am PST); Student Debt Workshops (Friday, November 20 at 11:30am PST and at 5pm PST).
As executive director, Abrams has advocated for student loan debt reform, and the creation of lending solutions for all borrowers and students pursuing affordable and accessible higher education.
Through her work with SDC Abrams has appeared on CNBC, Fox News, NBC, “CBS Sunday Morning,” and numerous other television outlets. Her writings have appeared in The Nation and The Huffington Post. Abrams has often been cited as a subject matter expert discussing the economic injustices facing students and borrowers in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Politico, Reuters, the AP, and elsewhere.
Twitter: @nataliaabrams & @debtcrisisorg
Lindsay Clark – Director of Partnership, Savi Events: Student Debt Workshops (Friday, November 20 at 11:30am PST and at 5pm PST)
Lindsay is a fierce champion for the student loan borrower – having accumulated enormous student debt over the course of her undergraduate and graduate studies at Yale and Columbia, respectively. Having worked in advocacy and financial technology for nearly a decade, Lindsay brings a deep understanding of the urgency behind providing solutions for student loan borrowers. As Director of External Affairs, Lindsay built and continues to lead our front line efforts to assist America’s 46 million borrowers. She conducts webinars amassing thousands of attendees, travels coast to coast leading workshops and connecting with borrowers 1:1, and contributes thought leadership to The Nation.
Facebook and Instagram: @bysaviusa Twitter and LinkedIn: @bysavi
Erin Conley – Lead Organizer, California Federation of Teachers Event: The Future Landscape for Student Borrowers panel (Thursday, November 19 at 1pm PST)
Erin Conley is Lead Organizer for the southern region of the California Federation of Teachers. She helps teachers and classified professionals make bold changes to their communities through collective action and advocacy. Erin is also staff liaison for the CFT committee on Labor and Climate Justice in the Schools where she works with activists striving to bring experiential learning on these vital topics to California schools.
Erin is a committed educator with experience teaching writing at the college level and coaching high school policy debate. Before joining the CFT, Erin was a graduate student in the English department at UCLA and worked as a Teaching Associate in the UCLA Center for Community Learning. She also served as the statewide President of UAW Local 2865, the union for teachers, tutors, and readers in the UC system.
Twitter: @CFTunion Instagram: laborintheschools
Tariq Habash – Head of Investigations, Student Borrower Protection Center Event: Real Talk – How Students Actually Pay for College (Friday, November 20 at 2:30pm PST)
Head of Investigations, Student Borrower Protection Center
Tariq Habash is the Head of Investigations at the Student Borrower Protection Center, where he leads the investigative priorities to protect student loan borrowers. Prior to joining SBPC, Tariq was a Senior Policy Associate at The Century Foundation working on higher education affordability, accountability, and consumer protection. Tariq’s expertise and research on the predatory practices of the for-profit college industry, including the rampant use of forced arbitration, led to important student protections in federal regulations.
At The Century Foundation, Tariq developed and led the organization’s FOIA work, where he utilized public records laws to acquire, analyze, and build datasets from federal and state agency information centers, constructing the nation’s first comprehensive, institution-level dataset on borrower defense complaints. When government agencies failed to comply with the law, Tariq supported litigation efforts to produce important documents, like the Department of Education staff analysis of the failing ACICS, to the public. His research has been cited in The New York Times, Associated Press, The Washington Post, and numerous other national publications. Additionally, Tariq advises cohorts from the New Leaders Council, a progressive leadership development organization that equips members to run for office and effect change in their communities. Tariq graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Miami, and his master’s in Higher Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Charlotte Hancock – Director of Communications and Digital Strategy, Generation Progress Event: State of Student Debt in America panel (Thursday, November 19 at 10:30am PST)
Charlotte Hancock is the director of communications and digital strategy for Generation Progress. She is an experienced strategist with a background in creating, implementing, and managing digital advocacy campaigns, brand voice, and organizational storytelling for international nonprofits.
She also oversees GP’s Higher Ed, Not Debt campaign, previously serving as its program director and as its digital director. The campaign is a multi-year, multi-organizational project dedicated to ensuring that affordable higher education is affordable and accessible to all, without the burden of debt or financial hardship.
Twitter: @higherednotdebt and @genprogress
Ashley Harrington – Federal Advocacy Director, Center for Responsible Lending Event: The Future Landscape for Student Borrowers panel (Thursday, November 19 at 1pm PST)
Federal Advocacy Director and Senior Counsel, Center for Responsible Lending
Ashley Harrington is federal advocacy director and senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), a non-profit policy and research organization dedicated to eliminating abusive lending practices and advancing financial opportunities for people of color and low-income individuals. Ms. Harrington leads CRL’s federal advocacy efforts, helping to shape fair lending and consumer protection reforms to address the racial wealth gap. Her portfolio includes a range of consumer lending issues, with a focus on student debt reform.
Ms. Harrington has previously worked at UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) and in the Office of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. She is the author of articles and reports on student debt, particularly as it affects Black borrowers; a frequent media contributor; and she has provided testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee and Small Business Committee.
Ms. Harrington received her B.A. in Public Policy Analysis from UNC-Chapel Hill where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar and a Gates Millennium Scholar. Ashley earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law where she was a Derrick Bell Public Service Scholar and an Articles Editor of the New York University Law Review. She is admitted to practice law in New York.
Twitter: @achesquire and @CRL-Online
Nicole Hisatomi – Deputy Commissioner of Legislation, Department of Financial Protection and Innovation Event: Kickoff Event – State of Student Debt in California (Thursday, November 19 at 9:30am PST)
Nicole Hisatomi is Deputy Commissioner of Legislation at the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI), formerly known as the Department of Business Oversight. The DFPI protects California consumers by licensing, overseeing and regulating a variety of financial services, products, and professionals, including student loan servicers. As deputy commissioner at the department, she works as a bridge between the department, stakeholder groups, and the Legislature to ensure the Legislature understands the impact legislation could have on the Department. Prior to her role at DFPI, Nicole worked in the California State Assembly, first as a Legislative Aide, then as a Legislative Director, focusing on a variety of issues that include consumer financial protection.
Twitter and Facebook: @CaliforniaDFPI
Cody Hounanian – Program Director, Student Debt Crisis Event: Student Debt Workshops (Friday, November 20 at 11:30am PST and at 5pm PST).
As program director, Hounanian has tackled such issues as for-profit colleges, student loan refinancing and consumer protection policies. Hounanian maintains the organization’s social media presence and online engagement, speaking to and on behalf of those struggling with excessive student loan debt.
Hounanian has written about the need for fair educational loan policies for The Nation and Blue Nation Review. He has also spoken about the impact of rising student loan debt with NBC, the Los Angeles Times, Fusion, and the International Business Times. His contributions have allowed SDC to grow its powerful digital presence and online advocacy. Hounanian’s leadership and digital expertise led to the success of SDC’s social media campaign, “Without Student Debt”, in partnership with Michael Moore.
Twitter: @chounanian & @debtcrisisorg
Bonnie Latreille – Director of Research and Advocacy, Student Borrower Protection Center Event: State of Student Debt in America panel (Thursday, November 19 at 10:30am PST)
Bonnie Latreille is the Director of Research and Advocacy at the Student Borrower Protection Center. Prior to joining SBPC, Bonnie served in the Office for Students and Young Consumers at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where she specialized in student loan servicing compliance and consumer complaint data. Bonnie led the Bureau’s work on servicing compliance under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and her work identifying consumer harm to borrowers pursuing PSLF led to Congress dedicating $700 million in 2018 to expand the program. Prior to her work in the Office for Students, Bonnie worked as an investigator at the CFPB, focusing on mortgage and debt collection compliance.
Bonnie previously worked for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation designing and implementing oversight for accountable care organizations, and in legal aid handling class action litigation stemming from the 2008 mortgage crisis. Bonnie received a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Texas at Dallas and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Max Lubin – CEO, Rise
Event: The Future Landscape for Student Borrowers panel (Thursday, November 19 at 1pm PST)
Max is the CEO of Rise, Inc. a graduate student at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a former Obama Administration appointee at the U.S. Department of Education. At the U.S. Department of Education, Max helped shape more than $1 billion in annual investments in innovative schools, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education nationwide. Previously, Max worked on local, state, and national electoral and advocacy campaigns focused on advancing equity and opportunity. Max is originally from Los Angeles, CA.
Kristin McGuire- Western Region Director, Young Invincibles Event: The Future Landscape for Student Borrowers panel (Thursday, November 19 at 1pm PST)
Kristin McGuire is the Western Region Director at young invincibles, a national nonprofit that focuses on higher education and health care policy for young people.
Kristin is a long-time champion for health care and higher education equity. She’s played a large role in shaping laws that benefit people who need it most; from smoke free parks and multiunit housing in Compton to the Student Borrowers Bill of Rights and the Student Civic and Voter Empowerment Act. Committed to public service, Kristin currently serves as a steering committee member for the California Asset Building Coalition, a member of Los Angeles African American Women in Public Policy, and is appointed to the California Workforce Pathways Joint Advisory Committee.
Kristin McGuire is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. and a newly elected Governing Board member for Charter Oak Unified School District. She resides in Southern California with her husband, an Air Force veteran, and two daughters, one in middle school and the other is a freshman at UCLA studying neuroscience.
Kristin’s favorite quote is “I am and always will be a catalyst for change.” -Shirley Chisholm
Andrew Nickens –Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Student Senate for California Community Colleges Event: Real Talk – How Students Actually Pay for College (Friday, November 20 at 2:30pm PST)
Andrew Nickens is a student leader passionate about public policy and governance in Folsom. He is a political science student studying at Folsom Lake College and UC Davis. Before getting involved in student governance, he was active in his community through Boy Scouts, eventually attaining the Eagle Award. Once he started attending community college, he became the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Associated Students of Folsom Lake College before joining the SSCCC. He hopes to continue his work as a public servant in the area of public policy after attaining a postgraduate degree.
Joshua Ochoa – AS Vice President of External Affairs, Associated Students at SFSU Event: Real Talk – How Students Actually Pay for College (Friday, November 20 at 2:30pm PST)
Hello! My name is Joshua and I’m currently a senior studying Political Science and Urban Studies at SFSU! I grew up in Orange County, California in a single-parent, working-class family where money was always a concern since I was young. I currently serve as the AS VP of External Affairs at SFSU, where I focus on student advocacy, voter registration efforts, and work with student groups to create a student-oriented policy agenda. I also have lots of student loan debt, yay!
Twitter: @joshuarudyochoa Instagram: @joshuaochoa.as and @_joshuaochoa_
Christopher Sanchez – Policy Advocate, CHIRLA Event: The Future Landscape for Student Borrowers panel (Thursday, November 19 at 1pm PST)
Christopher Sanchez is the Policy and Advocacy Manager for CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, California’s largest immigrant rights organization with a statewide grassroots membership and is based in their Sacramento office. Christopher is responsible for the organization’s overall advocacy in Northern California and the Central Valley regions in addition to advancing the organization’s state policy platform by lobbying policy makers and state agencies in Sacramento. As a Sacramento advocate Mr. Sanchez was instrumental in the passage of key legislation expanding services for undocumented students, including the creation of the Dreamer Service Centive Grant and the expansion of the California Dream Loan, and secured critical funding to provide immigration legal services for immigrant students, faculty, and staff. Mr. Sanchez serves on the steering committee of Californians for Economic Justice which took on the predatory lending industry and enacted landmark legislation that placed rate caps on predatory high dollar loans.
Mike Saunders – Director of Military and Consumer Policy, Veterans Education Success Event: The Future Landscape for Student Borrowers panel (Thursday, November 19 at 1pm PST)
Mike Saunders leads our consumer protection policy work, including servicemembers’ protections under the Military Lending Act and Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and veterans’ student loan rights, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness and victories forcing the Education Department to honor disabled veterans’ rights to student loan relief. As an attorney, Mike also helps advocate for the rights of individual veterans who come to us for free help. Mike joined Veterans Education Success as Director of Military & Consumer Policy in July 2018, bringing professional experience as a long-time policy advocate for veterans at The Retired Enlisted Association.
An Army veteran, Mike has degrees in history and economics from the College of William & Mary in Virginia, and a law degree from the University of Richmond.
Twitter: @advocate_mike and @gibillrights
Samantha Seng – Policy Advisor, NextGen Policy Event: Kickoff Event – State of Student Debt in California (Thursday, November 19 at 9:30am PST);
Student Debt Workshop (Friday, November 20 at 11:30am PST);
Real Talk – How Students Actually Pay for College panel (Friday, November 20 at 2:30pm PST)
Samantha covers all areas of education policy for NextGen California, including early childhood education, K through 12th grade education, and higher education. Her work includes building coalitions and advocating for policies that promote prosperity for all students at every stage of their educational career.
Samantha previously worked for various Assembly Members in the California State Assembly on a diverse range of issues as a legislative aide. She is a proud daughter of immigrants, first generation college graduate, and the first in her family to hold a Master’s Degree – in education from Lesley University.
Twitter: @seng_sam Twitter: @NextGen_Policy
Robyn Smith – Senior Attorney, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Of Counsel, National Consumer Law Center Event: Student Debt Legal Aid Workshop (Friday, November 20 at 1pm PST)
Robyn Smith currently works as a senior attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, where she concentrates on student loan and for-profit school issues. She also concentrates on these issues as Of Counsel with the National Consumer Law Center. Prior to this, Ms. Smith worked as a Supervising Deputy Attorney General at the California Attorney General’s office where she investigated and prosecuted fraudulent for-profit colleges. She previously represented low-income consumers as the Directing Attorney of the Consumer Law Project at Public Counsel in Los Angeles and as the Managing Attorney of the Windward Branch of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii on the island of Oahu. She clerked for the Honorable Judith N. Keep of the Southern District of California, U.S. District Court, and received her J.D. from University of Southern California in 1992.
Laura Szabo-Kubitz – Associate California Program Director, TICAS Event: Real Talk – How Students Actually Pay for College (Friday, November 20 at 2:30pm PST)
Associate California Program Director, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS)
As Associate California Program Director at The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), Laura Szabo-Kubitz works to eliminate equity gaps and enable all Californians to attend and succeed in college by identifying and addressing college affordability challenges across the state. Along with research, policy analysis, and advocacy, Laura leads Californians for College Affordability, a diverse coalition of two dozen organizations united in strengthening need-based financial aid for the state’s underserved, underrepresented students. She received her BA in English from Oberlin College, and her MA in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Twitter: @Laurask81 and @TICAS_org
Lauren Valles – Fund the UC Campaign Vice-Chair, UC Student Association
Lauren Valles is a 3rd year student at UCLA passionate about making higher education more affordable and accessible. As this year’s Fund the UC Campaign Vice Chair for the UC Student Association, she’s committed herself to the student-elected goals of doubling the Pell Grant and expanding aid to undocumented students. When she’s not in the Zoom Room, Lauren can be found hiking and running around her home in the Bay Area.
Twitter: @fund_theuc and @ucstudents
Persis Yu – Director Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project, National Consumer Law Center Event: State of Student Debt in America panel (Thursday, November 19 at 10:30am PST)
Persis S. Yu is a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center and the director of NCLC’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. She is a contributing author to NCLC’s Student Loan Law and Fair Credit Reporting. She has also authored several reports including: Voices Of Despair: Student Borrowers Trapped In Poverty When The Government Seizes Their Earned Income Tax Credit and Pushed into Poverty: How Student Loan Collections Threaten the Financial Security of Older. Prior to joining NCLC, Persis was a Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellow at Empire Justice Center in Rochester, New York.