Our Team

Arnold Sowell Jr.

Arnold Sowell Jr.

Executive Director

Arnie Sowell is Executive Director of NextGen Policy (NGP), a non-profit organization that works to advance progressive policy solutions across a range of areas including: climate change, affordable housing, healthcare, education, criminal justice, immigration, mental health, voting rights, food insecurity, and income inequality. Arnie leads the NGP team and manages their legislative, political, advocacy, and programmatic activities.

Before joining NextGen, Arnie spent over two decades in the California State Assembly, serving as Policy Director for five Assembly Speakers. Prior to that, he held various positions in state and local government including as Undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency during the Governor Davis Administration and as a Budget Manager in the San Francisco Mayor's office. Arnie started his career in the Legislative Analyst Office.

He is an Oregon State alum, a Sloan Foundation Fellow, and holds a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Washington. Arnie is a proud father of three and a new grandfather. He is the son of a career military officer and has lived in numerous states and overseas.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Deputy Director

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa is the Deputy Director of NextGen Policy and directly assists in team management and daily operations. Her policy areas of emphasis include: immigration, women's issues, and environmental justice (e.g. drinking water in low-income communities). She also serves as the NGP liaison to the ethnic, women's, and LGBT caucuses of the CA State Legislature.

Before joining the NextGen Policy team, Adriana spent 18 years working in the California Legislature in various key positions. She worked for four Assembly Speakers and, in her last job with the Assembly, was the Director of International Relations and Protocol. In addition, Adriana has worked extensively with the California Latino Caucus.

Adriana has a Bachelor’s degree from UC Davis in International Relations and Political Science with a minor in Spanish. She is the proud mother of three daughters and has two beautiful grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves gardening, restoring old furniture and traveling with her husband. She is a proud immigrant and is fully bilingual in Spanish.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Stacey Smith

Stacey Smith

Special Projects Director

Stacey Smith serves as the Special Projects Director for NextGen Policy, assisting with team management, political operations, and advocacy campaigns — she also handles policy work in the veterans affairs area. She previously worked for NextGen America as Director of Outreach, managing legislative advocacy and the California political team’s electoral work at the Congressional level.

Prior to NextGen, Stacey was the Deputy State Director and State Press Liaison for United States Senator Barbara Boxer (D- CA), serving as the Senator’s liaison in northern California, overseeing six field offices, and managing press events across California.

Stacey proudly attended public schools from kindergarten through college and holds a BA in Government-Journalism from California State University, Sacramento. In her personal time she enjoys exploring California with her husband and two young sons, and coaching youth soccer.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Dave Weiskopf

Dave Weiskopf

Senior Policy Advisor

David Weiskopf is the NGP Senior Policy Advisor for climate and environmental issues including: climate change, clean energy, natural resources, and ending our dependence on fossil fuels. His work is focused on designing policy solutions that prioritize social equity and environmental integrity.

Prior to joining NextGen Policy, Dave advocated for clean energy and energy efficiency with Midwestern electric utilities and governments. Dave holds a JD from Stanford Law School, an MS from Stanford School of Earth Sciences, and an MA in Philosophy from Catholic University of America. He is also a member of the CA and IL State Bars.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Ken Spence

Ken Spence

Senior Policy Advisor

Ken Spence works on criminal justice, consumer financial protection, and public banking issues for NextGen Policy. Before joining NextGen, Ken was Director of Policy and Legislation at the Department of Pesticide Regulation, Deputy Director of the Senate Office of Research, and a consultant in the Assembly Speaker's Office, covering public safety and the Select Committee on Boys and Men of Color.

Ken earned a doctorate in Entomology from UC Davis, and a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Spanish from Morehouse College. He loves traveling, yard-farming, and outdoor activities.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Annie Ndama

Annie Ndama

Policy Staff Assistant

Annie Ndama supports the team in various policy and research capacities. She joined NextGen Policy as a policy intern, assisting in monitoring healthcare, housing, and higher education areas. Currently, she spends much of her time on disability rights issues.

Prior to joining NextGen, Annie worked as a certified autism technician, providing behavioral therapy and parent training for children on the spectrum. She holds a BA in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento. Annie is a proud immigrant, coming to the US from Liberia.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Courtnie Thomas

Courtnie Thomas

HR Manager & Policy Advisor

Courtnie Thomas works on mental health issues for NextGen Policy. Her work includes coalition building, advocacy, program development and policy analysis, and, most importantly, listening to those who have lived experiences in this space. She is also the Human Resources Manager for NGP.

She joined NextGen after working for various Speakers and Assemblymembers in the California State Assembly. Prior to her stint at the State Capitol, Courtnie came from the local government world of Sacramento City Hall, where she worked tirelessly to change the social and economic landscape of the Oak Park neighborhood where she grew up.

She is a proud first-generation college graduate, a proud daughter of a single mother, and a proud mother of a wonderful child.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Dustin Moon

Dustin Moon

Digital Manager

Dustin Moon is the Digital Manager at NextGen Policy. He is an experienced communications professional specializing in digital management and digital content for the NGP Facebook page, Twitter account, and organization website including graphics, still photography, and video.

Prior to working for NextGen, Dustin worked in the public sector managing digital outreach strategies to effectively communicate organizational messaging. He holds a BA in Communication Design from Chico State and enjoys spending his time away from the office with his wife and daughter.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Elena Santamaria

Elena Santamaria

Policy Advisor

Elena Santamaria specializes in health, human services, and homelessness policy issues. She has led NextGen's efforts to defend the Affordable Care Act, extend services to undocumented communities, ensure patients have access to affordable prescription drugs, and expand progressive healthcare policies both nationally and in California.

Prior to working at NextGen Policy, Elena worked in the California State Legislature for a number of Assembly Members and also intermittently spent time on various legislative campaigns.

Elena holds a Bachelors of Science in Political Science from the University of California, Davis.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Milena Paez

Milena Paez

Communications Manager

Milena Paez manages the strategic communications operation for NextGen Policy and is responsible for amplifying the organization's wide range of legislative, policy, programmatic, advocacy, and community engagement initiatives. She administers all press and media communications and supervises the digital outreach program.

She began her career community organizing in rural Central America as a Program Supervisor for an international non-profit, Amigos de las Americas, which sparked her passion for civic engagement. Prior to joining NextGen Policy, she worked on outreach and communications initiatives for the California Secretary of State and the California Assembly Speaker's Office.

Milena holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Political Science from California State University, Sacramento and was a 2017 HOPE Leadership Institute Fellow. Se habla español.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Samantha Seng

Samantha Seng

Policy Advisor

Samantha Seng covers education policy - early childhood, K - 12th grade, and higher education for NextGen Policy. The work includes advocating for policies and programs that promote access, equity, and student success at every stage of their educational career.

Samantha joined NextGen after a stint in the California State Assembly, working on a wide range of issues for several different elected officials. Before moving to Sacramento, Samantha came from the non-profit sector, teaching, mentoring, and tutoring low-income and at-promise youth throughout the Bay Area.

Samantha is a proud daughter of immigrants, a first-generation college graduate, and the first family member to hold a Master’s Degree - in Education from Lesley University. Samantha holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley.

Susi Galyon

Susi Galyon

Policy Advisor

Susi Galyon is responsible for following cannabis policy issues and also manages finance and operations for Fahr LLC. Before joining the NextGen Policy team, she worked for the Department of Defense as Command Secretary and Assistant to the Commodore for US Navy Logistics Command Task Force 53 in Manama, Bahrain.

Prior to working in the Middle East, she was a Business Manager for Mass Mutual in San Francisco. She is a Sacramento State alum, earning a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Intercultural Communication.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Tiffany Germain

Tiffany Germain

Research & Policy Advisor

Tiffany Germain specializes in high-level public policy analysis and political research. Her primary areas of emphasis include tackling food insecurity, providing more healthy school meals in California schools, and developing California's food system networks.

Before joining NextGen Policy, Tiffany was the Deputy Research Director at NextGen America, where she focused on statewide and national political races. Prior to her work at NextGen, she served as Research Manager for the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, D.C. She also spent time on Capitol Hill working for United States Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), proudly serving the people of her home state of North Carolina.

Tiffany holds a BA in Political Science from East Carolina University and an MA in Public Management from Johns Hopkins University.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Amy Hamblin

Amy Hamblin

Policy Advisor

Amy Hamblin is a Policy Consultant at NextGen Policy and is responsible for the following areas: voting rights, 2020 census, local government, and labor issues.

Before joining NextGen Policy, Amy worked as a policy advisor on Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign. She brings over 10 years of experience in advocacy, communications and civic engagement. She began her career on the 2008 Obama campaign, managing an online community of nearly two million supporters. She is passionate about strengthening civic engagement at home and abroad. She has served as an international election observer in Ukraine, Russia, Egypt and Macedonia. In addition to her work at NextGen, Amy also teaches in the Political Science Department at Contra Costa College.

Amy holds a Master’s degree in International Relations with a specialization in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Northwestern University.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Chris Fadeff

Chris Fadeff

Legal Advisor

Chris Fadeff has worked with NextGen Policy since 2013, serving as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Legal Affairs for NextGen Policy, NextGen America, and Need to Impeach.

Before returning to NextGen, Chris served as chief operating officer for Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign.

Prior to NextGen, Chris worked on Jerry Brown’s campaign for governor and served on his transition team. Chris is a Truman National Security Project partner and serves on an advisory committee for the Tides Foundation. Chris graduated from Sonoma State University and University of California Hastings College of Law.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Chris Lehman

Chris Lehman

Policy Advisor

Chris Lehman is an Political Advisor to NextGen Policy — advising on political, advocacy, and messaging activities in the legislative and ballot measure areas.

Chris has over 20 years of experience in California state government and has held leading strategy, messaging, and management roles on over 50 national, statewide, ballot measure, candidate, and political campaigns including Tom Steyer for President 2020. His career started in 1998 in the Office of Senator John Vasconcellos, one of the longest serving legislators in California history. Chris has been an advisor to four consecutive leaders of the California State Senate: Don Perata, Darrell Steinberg, Kevin DeLeon, and Toni Atkins.

Chris holds degrees in Political Science and Physics from UC Davis. He hails from the rugged and rural North Coast of California. Chris is a father of three, and in his spare time loves being present with his kids, exploring his faith, and considers serving others his life’s work.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Radha Seshagiri

Radha Seshagiri

Policy Advisor

Radha Seshagiri is a Policy Consultant with NextGen Policy. Her policy areas of emphasis include: housing, income inequality, and taxes.

Radha worked as the Policy Director for Tom Steyer's presidential campaign before joining NextGen Policy. She brings over fifteen years of management and leadership experience in global development, philanthropy, and federal policy.

She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University, with an emphasis in International Relations, and a certificate in International Management from Oxford University. She speaks Tamil and is proficient in Spanish.

Arnold Sowell Jr.

Arnold Sowell Jr.

Executive Director

Arnie Sowell is Executive Director of NextGen Policy (NGP), a non-profit organization that works to advance progressive policy solutions across a range of areas including: climate change, affordable housing, healthcare, education, criminal justice, immigration, mental health, voting rights, food insecurity, and income inequality. Arnie leads the NGP team and manages their legislative, political, advocacy, and programmatic activities.

Before joining NextGen, Arnie spent over two decades in the California State Assembly, serving as Policy Director for five Assembly Speakers. Prior to that, he held various positions in state and local government including as Undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency during the Governor Davis Administration and as a Budget Manager in the San Francisco Mayor's office. Arnie started his career in the Legislative Analyst Office.

He is an Oregon State alum, a Sloan Foundation Fellow, and holds a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Washington. Arnie is a proud father of three and a new grandfather. He is the son of a career military officer and has lived in numerous states and overseas.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Deputy Director

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa is the Deputy Director of NextGen Policy and directly assists in team management and daily operations. Her policy areas of emphasis include: immigration, women's issues, and environmental justice (e.g. drinking water in low-income communities). She also serves as the NGP liaison to the ethnic, women's, and LGBT caucuses of the CA State Legislature.

Before joining the NextGen Policy team, Adriana spent 18 years working in the California Legislature in various key positions. She worked for four Assembly Speakers and, in her last job with the Assembly, was the Director of International Relations and Protocol. In addition, Adriana has worked extensively with the California Latino Caucus.

Adriana has a Bachelor’s degree from UC Davis in International Relations and Political Science with a minor in Spanish. She is the proud mother of three daughters and has two beautiful grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves gardening, restoring old furniture and traveling with her husband. She is a proud immigrant and is fully bilingual in Spanish.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Stacey Smith

Stacey Smith

Special Projects Director

Stacey Smith serves as the Special Projects Director for NextGen Policy, assisting with team management, political operations, and advocacy campaigns — she also handles policy work in the veterans affairs area. She previously worked for NextGen America as Director of Outreach, managing legislative advocacy and the California political team’s electoral work at the Congressional level.

Prior to NextGen, Stacey was the Deputy State Director and State Press Liaison for United States Senator Barbara Boxer (D- CA), serving as the Senator’s liaison in northern California, overseeing six field offices, and managing press events across California.

Stacey proudly attended public schools from kindergarten through college and holds a BA in Government-Journalism from California State University, Sacramento. In her personal time she enjoys exploring California with her husband and two young sons, and coaching youth soccer.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Dave Weiskopf

Dave Weiskopf

Senior Policy Advisor

David Weiskopf is the NGP Senior Policy Advisor for climate and environmental issues including: climate change, clean energy, natural resources, and ending our dependence on fossil fuels. His work is focused on designing policy solutions that prioritize social equity and environmental integrity.

Prior to joining NextGen Policy, Dave advocated for clean energy and energy efficiency with Midwestern electric utilities and governments. Dave holds a JD from Stanford Law School, an MS from Stanford School of Earth Sciences, and an MA in Philosophy from Catholic University of America. He is also a member of the CA and IL State Bars.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Ken Spence

Ken Spence

Senior Policy Advisor

Ken Spence works on criminal justice, consumer financial protection, and public banking issues for NextGen Policy. Before joining NextGen, Ken was Director of Policy and Legislation at the Department of Pesticide Regulation, Deputy Director of the Senate Office of Research, and a consultant in the Assembly Speaker's Office, covering public safety and the Select Committee on Boys and Men of Color.

Ken earned a doctorate in Entomology from UC Davis, and a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Spanish from Morehouse College. He loves traveling, yard-farming, and outdoor activities.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Annie Ndama

Annie Ndama

Policy Staff Assistant

Annie Ndama supports the team in various policy and research capacities. She joined NextGen Policy as a policy intern, assisting in monitoring healthcare, housing, and higher education areas. Currently, she spends much of her time on disability rights issues.

Prior to joining NextGen, Annie worked as a certified autism technician, providing behavioral therapy and parent training for children on the spectrum. She holds a BA in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento. Annie is a proud immigrant, coming to the US from Liberia.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Courtnie Thomas

Courtnie Thomas

HR Manager & Policy Advisor

Courtnie Thomas works on mental health issues for NextGen Policy. Her work includes coalition building, advocacy, program development and policy analysis, and, most importantly, listening to those who have lived experiences in this space. She is also the Human Resources Manager for NGP.

She joined NextGen after working for various Speakers and Assemblymembers in the California State Assembly. Prior to her stint at the State Capitol, Courtnie came from the local government world of Sacramento City Hall, where she worked tirelessly to change the social and economic landscape of the Oak Park neighborhood where she grew up.

She is a proud first-generation college graduate, a proud daughter of a single mother, and a proud mother of a wonderful child.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Dustin Moon

Dustin Moon

Digital Manager

Dustin Moon is the Digital Manager at NextGen Policy. He is an experienced communications professional specializing in digital management and digital content for the NGP Facebook page, Twitter account, and organization website including graphics, still photography, and video.

Prior to working for NextGen, Dustin worked in the public sector managing digital outreach strategies to effectively communicate organizational messaging. He holds a BA in Communication Design from Chico State and enjoys spending his time away from the office with his wife and daughter.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Elena Santamaria

Elena Santamaria

Policy Advisor

Elena Santamaria specializes in health, human services, and homelessness policy issues. She has led NextGen's efforts to defend the Affordable Care Act, extend services to undocumented communities, ensure patients have access to affordable prescription drugs, and expand progressive healthcare policies both nationally and in California.

Prior to working at NextGen Policy, Elena worked in the California State Legislature for a number of Assembly Members and also intermittently spent time on various legislative campaigns.

Elena holds a Bachelors of Science in Political Science from the University of California, Davis.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Milena Paez

Milena Paez

Communications Manager

Milena Paez manages the strategic communications operation for NextGen Policy and is responsible for amplifying the organization's wide range of legislative, policy, programmatic, advocacy, and community engagement initiatives. She administers all press and media communications and supervises the digital outreach program.

She began her career community organizing in rural Central America as a Program Supervisor for an international non-profit, Amigos de las Americas, which sparked her passion for civic engagement. Prior to joining NextGen Policy, she worked on outreach and communications initiatives for the California Secretary of State and the California Assembly Speaker's Office.

Milena holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Political Science from California State University, Sacramento and was a 2017 HOPE Leadership Institute Fellow. Se habla español.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Samantha Seng

Samantha Seng

Policy Advisor

Samantha Seng covers education policy - early childhood, K - 12th grade, and higher education for NextGen Policy. The work includes advocating for policies and programs that promote access, equity, and student success at every stage of their educational career.

Samantha joined NextGen after a stint in the California State Assembly, working on a wide range of issues for several different elected officials. Before moving to Sacramento, Samantha came from the non-profit sector, teaching, mentoring, and tutoring low-income and at-promise youth throughout the Bay Area.

Samantha is a proud daughter of immigrants, a first-generation college graduate, and the first family member to hold a Master’s Degree - in Education from Lesley University. Samantha holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley.

Susi Galyon

Susi Galyon

Policy Advisor

Susi Galyon is responsible for following cannabis policy issues and also manages finance and operations for Fahr LLC. Before joining the NextGen Policy team, she worked for the Department of Defense as Command Secretary and Assistant to the Commodore for US Navy Logistics Command Task Force 53 in Manama, Bahrain.

Prior to working in the Middle East, she was a Business Manager for Mass Mutual in San Francisco. She is a Sacramento State alum, earning a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Intercultural Communication.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Tiffany Germain

Tiffany Germain

Research & Policy Advisor

Tiffany Germain specializes in high-level public policy analysis and political research. Her primary areas of emphasis include tackling food insecurity, providing more healthy school meals in California schools, and developing California's food system networks.

Before joining NextGen Policy, Tiffany was the Deputy Research Director at NextGen America, where she focused on statewide and national political races. Prior to her work at NextGen, she served as Research Manager for the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, D.C. She also spent time on Capitol Hill working for United States Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), proudly serving the people of her home state of North Carolina.

Tiffany holds a BA in Political Science from East Carolina University and an MA in Public Management from Johns Hopkins University.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Amy Hamblin

Amy Hamblin

Policy Advisor

Amy Hamblin is a Policy Consultant at NextGen Policy and is responsible for the following areas: voting rights, 2020 census, local government, and labor issues.

Before joining NextGen Policy, Amy worked as a policy advisor on Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign. She brings over 10 years of experience in advocacy, communications and civic engagement. She began her career on the 2008 Obama campaign, managing an online community of nearly two million supporters. She is passionate about strengthening civic engagement at home and abroad. She has served as an international election observer in Ukraine, Russia, Egypt and Macedonia. In addition to her work at NextGen, Amy also teaches in the Political Science Department at Contra Costa College.

Amy holds a Master’s degree in International Relations with a specialization in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Northwestern University.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Chris Fadeff

Chris Fadeff

Legal Advisor

Chris Fadeff has worked with NextGen Policy since 2013, serving as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Legal Affairs for NextGen Policy, NextGen America, and Need to Impeach.

Before returning to NextGen, Chris served as chief operating officer for Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign.

Prior to NextGen, Chris worked on Jerry Brown’s campaign for governor and served on his transition team. Chris is a Truman National Security Project partner and serves on an advisory committee for the Tides Foundation. Chris graduated from Sonoma State University and University of California Hastings College of Law.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Chris Lehman

Chris Lehman

Policy Advisor

Chris Lehman is an Political Advisor to NextGen Policy — advising on political, advocacy, and messaging activities in the legislative and ballot measure areas.

Chris has over 20 years of experience in California state government and has held leading strategy, messaging, and management roles on over 50 national, statewide, ballot measure, candidate, and political campaigns including Tom Steyer for President 2020. His career started in 1998 in the Office of Senator John Vasconcellos, one of the longest serving legislators in California history. Chris has been an advisor to four consecutive leaders of the California State Senate: Don Perata, Darrell Steinberg, Kevin DeLeon, and Toni Atkins.

Chris holds degrees in Political Science and Physics from UC Davis. He hails from the rugged and rural North Coast of California. Chris is a father of three, and in his spare time loves being present with his kids, exploring his faith, and considers serving others his life’s work.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Radha Seshagiri

Radha Seshagiri

Policy Advisor

Radha Seshagiri is a Policy Consultant with NextGen Policy. Her policy areas of emphasis include: housing, income inequality, and taxes.

Radha worked as the Policy Director for Tom Steyer's presidential campaign before joining NextGen Policy. She brings over fifteen years of management and leadership experience in global development, philanthropy, and federal policy.

She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University, with an emphasis in International Relations, and a certificate in International Management from Oxford University. She speaks Tamil and is proficient in Spanish.

Arnold Sowell Jr.

Arnold Sowell Jr.

Executive Director

Arnie Sowell is Executive Director of NextGen Policy (NGP), a non-profit organization that works to advance progressive policy solutions across a range of areas including: climate change, affordable housing, healthcare, education, criminal justice, immigration, mental health, voting rights, food insecurity, and income inequality. Arnie leads the NGP team and manages their legislative, political, advocacy, and programmatic activities.

Before joining NextGen, Arnie spent over two decades in the California State Assembly, serving as Policy Director for five Assembly Speakers. Prior to that, he held various positions in state and local government including as Undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency during the Governor Davis Administration and as a Budget Manager in the San Francisco Mayor's office. Arnie started his career in the Legislative Analyst Office.

He is an Oregon State alum, a Sloan Foundation Fellow, and holds a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Washington. Arnie is a proud father of three and a new grandfather. He is the son of a career military officer and has lived in numerous states and overseas.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Deputy Director

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa is the Deputy Director of NextGen Policy and directly assists in team management and daily operations. Her policy areas of emphasis include: immigration, women's issues, and environmental justice (e.g. drinking water in low-income communities). She also serves as the NGP liaison to the ethnic, women's, and LGBT caucuses of the CA State Legislature.

Before joining the NextGen Policy team, Adriana spent 18 years working in the California Legislature in various key positions. She worked for four Assembly Speakers and, in her last job with the Assembly, was the Director of International Relations and Protocol. In addition, Adriana has worked extensively with the California Latino Caucus.

Adriana has a Bachelor’s degree from UC Davis in International Relations and Political Science with a minor in Spanish. She is the proud mother of three daughters and has two beautiful grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves gardening, restoring old furniture and traveling with her husband. She is a proud immigrant and is fully bilingual in Spanish.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Stacey Smith

Stacey Smith

Special Projects Director

Stacey Smith serves as the Special Projects Director for NextGen Policy, assisting with team management, political operations, and advocacy campaigns — she also handles policy work in the veterans affairs area. She previously worked for NextGen America as Director of Outreach, managing legislative advocacy and the California political team’s electoral work at the Congressional level.

Prior to NextGen, Stacey was the Deputy State Director and State Press Liaison for United States Senator Barbara Boxer (D- CA), serving as the Senator’s liaison in northern California, overseeing six field offices, and managing press events across California.

Stacey proudly attended public schools from kindergarten through college and holds a BA in Government-Journalism from California State University, Sacramento. In her personal time she enjoys exploring California with her husband and two young sons, and coaching youth soccer.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Dave Weiskopf

Dave Weiskopf

Senior Policy Advisor

David Weiskopf is the NGP Senior Policy Advisor for climate and environmental issues including: climate change, clean energy, natural resources, and ending our dependence on fossil fuels. His work is focused on designing policy solutions that prioritize social equity and environmental integrity.

Prior to joining NextGen Policy, Dave advocated for clean energy and energy efficiency with Midwestern electric utilities and governments. Dave holds a JD from Stanford Law School, an MS from Stanford School of Earth Sciences, and an MA in Philosophy from Catholic University of America. He is also a member of the CA and IL State Bars.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Ken Spence

Ken Spence

Senior Policy Advisor

Ken Spence works on criminal justice, consumer financial protection, and public banking issues for NextGen Policy. Before joining NextGen, Ken was Director of Policy and Legislation at the Department of Pesticide Regulation, Deputy Director of the Senate Office of Research, and a consultant in the Assembly Speaker's Office, covering public safety and the Select Committee on Boys and Men of Color.

Ken earned a doctorate in Entomology from UC Davis, and a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Spanish from Morehouse College. He loves traveling, yard-farming, and outdoor activities.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Annie Ndama

Annie Ndama

Policy Staff Assistant

Annie Ndama supports the team in various policy and research capacities. She joined NextGen Policy as a policy intern, assisting in monitoring healthcare, housing, and higher education areas. Currently, she spends much of her time on disability rights issues.

Prior to joining NextGen, Annie worked as a certified autism technician, providing behavioral therapy and parent training for children on the spectrum. She holds a BA in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento. Annie is a proud immigrant, coming to the US from Liberia.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Courtnie Thomas

Courtnie Thomas

HR Manager & Policy Advisor

Courtnie Thomas works on mental health issues for NextGen Policy. Her work includes coalition building, advocacy, program development and policy analysis, and, most importantly, listening to those who have lived experiences in this space. She is also the Human Resources Manager for NGP.

She joined NextGen after working for various Speakers and Assemblymembers in the California State Assembly. Prior to her stint at the State Capitol, Courtnie came from the local government world of Sacramento City Hall, where she worked tirelessly to change the social and economic landscape of the Oak Park neighborhood where she grew up.

She is a proud first-generation college graduate, a proud daughter of a single mother, and a proud mother of a wonderful child.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Dustin Moon

Dustin Moon

Digital Manager

Dustin Moon is the Digital Manager at NextGen Policy. He is an experienced communications professional specializing in digital management and digital content for the NGP Facebook page, Twitter account, and organization website including graphics, still photography, and video.

Prior to working for NextGen, Dustin worked in the public sector managing digital outreach strategies to effectively communicate organizational messaging. He holds a BA in Communication Design from Chico State and enjoys spending his time away from the office with his wife and daughter.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Elena Santamaria

Elena Santamaria

Policy Advisor

Elena Santamaria specializes in health, human services, and homelessness policy issues. She has led NextGen's efforts to defend the Affordable Care Act, extend services to undocumented communities, ensure patients have access to affordable prescription drugs, and expand progressive healthcare policies both nationally and in California.

Prior to working at NextGen Policy, Elena worked in the California State Legislature for a number of Assembly Members and also intermittently spent time on various legislative campaigns.

Elena holds a Bachelors of Science in Political Science from the University of California, Davis.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Milena Paez

Milena Paez

Communications Manager

Milena Paez manages the strategic communications operation for NextGen Policy and is responsible for amplifying the organization's wide range of legislative, policy, programmatic, advocacy, and community engagement initiatives. She administers all press and media communications and supervises the digital outreach program.

She began her career community organizing in rural Central America as a Program Supervisor for an international non-profit, Amigos de las Americas, which sparked her passion for civic engagement. Prior to joining NextGen Policy, she worked on outreach and communications initiatives for the California Secretary of State and the California Assembly Speaker's Office.

Milena holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Political Science from California State University, Sacramento and was a 2017 HOPE Leadership Institute Fellow. Se habla español.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Samantha Seng

Samantha Seng

Policy Advisor

Samantha Seng covers education policy - early childhood, K - 12th grade, and higher education for NextGen Policy. The work includes advocating for policies and programs that promote access, equity, and student success at every stage of their educational career.

Samantha joined NextGen after a stint in the California State Assembly, working on a wide range of issues for several different elected officials. Before moving to Sacramento, Samantha came from the non-profit sector, teaching, mentoring, and tutoring low-income and at-promise youth throughout the Bay Area.

Samantha is a proud daughter of immigrants, a first-generation college graduate, and the first family member to hold a Master’s Degree - in Education from Lesley University. Samantha holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley.

Susi Galyon

Susi Galyon

Policy Advisor

Susi Galyon is responsible for following cannabis policy issues and also manages finance and operations for Fahr LLC. Before joining the NextGen Policy team, she worked for the Department of Defense as Command Secretary and Assistant to the Commodore for US Navy Logistics Command Task Force 53 in Manama, Bahrain.

Prior to working in the Middle East, she was a Business Manager for Mass Mutual in San Francisco. She is a Sacramento State alum, earning a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Intercultural Communication.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Tiffany Germain

Tiffany Germain

Research & Policy Advisor

Tiffany Germain specializes in high-level public policy analysis and political research. Her primary areas of emphasis include tackling food insecurity, providing more healthy school meals in California schools, and developing California's food system networks.

Before joining NextGen Policy, Tiffany was the Deputy Research Director at NextGen America, where she focused on statewide and national political races. Prior to her work at NextGen, she served as Research Manager for the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, D.C. She also spent time on Capitol Hill working for United States Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), proudly serving the people of her home state of North Carolina.

Tiffany holds a BA in Political Science from East Carolina University and an MA in Public Management from Johns Hopkins University.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Amy Hamblin

Amy Hamblin

Policy Advisor

Amy Hamblin is a Policy Consultant at NextGen Policy and is responsible for the following areas: voting rights, 2020 census, local government, and labor issues.

Before joining NextGen Policy, Amy worked as a policy advisor on Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign. She brings over 10 years of experience in advocacy, communications and civic engagement. She began her career on the 2008 Obama campaign, managing an online community of nearly two million supporters. She is passionate about strengthening civic engagement at home and abroad. She has served as an international election observer in Ukraine, Russia, Egypt and Macedonia. In addition to her work at NextGen, Amy also teaches in the Political Science Department at Contra Costa College.

Amy holds a Master’s degree in International Relations with a specialization in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Northwestern University.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Chris Fadeff

Chris Fadeff

Legal Advisor

Chris Fadeff has worked with NextGen Policy since 2013, serving as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Legal Affairs for NextGen Policy, NextGen America, and Need to Impeach.

Before returning to NextGen, Chris served as chief operating officer for Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign.

Prior to NextGen, Chris worked on Jerry Brown’s campaign for governor and served on his transition team. Chris is a Truman National Security Project partner and serves on an advisory committee for the Tides Foundation. Chris graduated from Sonoma State University and University of California Hastings College of Law.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Chris Lehman

Chris Lehman

Policy Advisor

Chris Lehman is an Political Advisor to NextGen Policy — advising on political, advocacy, and messaging activities in the legislative and ballot measure areas.

Chris has over 20 years of experience in California state government and has held leading strategy, messaging, and management roles on over 50 national, statewide, ballot measure, candidate, and political campaigns including Tom Steyer for President 2020. His career started in 1998 in the Office of Senator John Vasconcellos, one of the longest serving legislators in California history. Chris has been an advisor to four consecutive leaders of the California State Senate: Don Perata, Darrell Steinberg, Kevin DeLeon, and Toni Atkins.

Chris holds degrees in Political Science and Physics from UC Davis. He hails from the rugged and rural North Coast of California. Chris is a father of three, and in his spare time loves being present with his kids, exploring his faith, and considers serving others his life’s work.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Radha Seshagiri

Radha Seshagiri

Policy Advisor

Radha Seshagiri is a Policy Consultant with NextGen Policy. Her policy areas of emphasis include: housing, income inequality, and taxes.

Radha worked as the Policy Director for Tom Steyer's presidential campaign before joining NextGen Policy. She brings over fifteen years of management and leadership experience in global development, philanthropy, and federal policy.

She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University, with an emphasis in International Relations, and a certificate in International Management from Oxford University. She speaks Tamil and is proficient in Spanish.

Arnold Sowell Jr.

Arnold Sowell Jr.

Executive Director

Arnie Sowell is Executive Director of NextGen Policy (NGP), a non-profit organization that works to advance progressive policy solutions across a range of areas including: climate change, affordable housing, healthcare, education, criminal justice, immigration, mental health, voting rights, food insecurity, and income inequality. Arnie leads the NGP team and manages their legislative, political, advocacy, and programmatic activities.

Before joining NextGen, Arnie spent over two decades in the California State Assembly, serving as Policy Director for five Assembly Speakers. Prior to that, he held various positions in state and local government including as Undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency during the Governor Davis Administration and as a Budget Manager in the San Francisco Mayor's office. Arnie started his career in the Legislative Analyst Office.

He is an Oregon State alum, a Sloan Foundation Fellow, and holds a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Washington. Arnie is a proud father of three and a new grandfather. He is the son of a career military officer and has lived in numerous states and overseas.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Deputy Director

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa is the Deputy Director of NextGen Policy and directly assists in team management and daily operations. Her policy areas of emphasis include: immigration, women's issues, and environmental justice (e.g. drinking water in low-income communities). She also serves as the NGP liaison to the ethnic, women's, and LGBT caucuses of the CA State Legislature.

Before joining the NextGen Policy team, Adriana spent 18 years working in the California Legislature in various key positions. She worked for four Assembly Speakers and, in her last job with the Assembly, was the Director of International Relations and Protocol. In addition, Adriana has worked extensively with the California Latino Caucus.

Adriana has a Bachelor’s degree from UC Davis in International Relations and Political Science with a minor in Spanish. She is the proud mother of three daughters and has two beautiful grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves gardening, restoring old furniture and traveling with her husband. She is a proud immigrant and is fully bilingual in Spanish.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Stacey Smith

Stacey Smith

Special Projects Director

Stacey Smith serves as the Special Projects Director for NextGen Policy, assisting with team management, political operations, and advocacy campaigns — she also handles policy work in the veterans affairs area. She previously worked for NextGen America as Director of Outreach, managing legislative advocacy and the California political team’s electoral work at the Congressional level.

Prior to NextGen, Stacey was the Deputy State Director and State Press Liaison for United States Senator Barbara Boxer (D- CA), serving as the Senator’s liaison in northern California, overseeing six field offices, and managing press events across California.

Stacey proudly attended public schools from kindergarten through college and holds a BA in Government-Journalism from California State University, Sacramento. In her personal time she enjoys exploring California with her husband and two young sons, and coaching youth soccer.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Dave Weiskopf

Dave Weiskopf

Senior Policy Advisor

David Weiskopf is the NGP Senior Policy Advisor for climate and environmental issues including: climate change, clean energy, natural resources, and ending our dependence on fossil fuels. His work is focused on designing policy solutions that prioritize social equity and environmental integrity.

Prior to joining NextGen Policy, Dave advocated for clean energy and energy efficiency with Midwestern electric utilities and governments. Dave holds a JD from Stanford Law School, an MS from Stanford School of Earth Sciences, and an MA in Philosophy from Catholic University of America. He is also a member of the CA and IL State Bars.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Ken Spence

Ken Spence

Senior Policy Advisor

Ken Spence works on criminal justice, consumer financial protection, and public banking issues for NextGen Policy. Before joining NextGen, Ken was Director of Policy and Legislation at the Department of Pesticide Regulation, Deputy Director of the Senate Office of Research, and a consultant in the Assembly Speaker's Office, covering public safety and the Select Committee on Boys and Men of Color.

Ken earned a doctorate in Entomology from UC Davis, and a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Spanish from Morehouse College. He loves traveling, yard-farming, and outdoor activities.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Annie Ndama

Annie Ndama

Policy Staff Assistant

Annie Ndama supports the team in various policy and research capacities. She joined NextGen Policy as a policy intern, assisting in monitoring healthcare, housing, and higher education areas. Currently, she spends much of her time on disability rights issues.

Prior to joining NextGen, Annie worked as a certified autism technician, providing behavioral therapy and parent training for children on the spectrum. She holds a BA in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento. Annie is a proud immigrant, coming to the US from Liberia.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Courtnie Thomas

Courtnie Thomas

HR Manager & Policy Advisor

Courtnie Thomas works on mental health issues for NextGen Policy. Her work includes coalition building, advocacy, program development and policy analysis, and, most importantly, listening to those who have lived experiences in this space. She is also the Human Resources Manager for NGP.

She joined NextGen after working for various Speakers and Assemblymembers in the California State Assembly. Prior to her stint at the State Capitol, Courtnie came from the local government world of Sacramento City Hall, where she worked tirelessly to change the social and economic landscape of the Oak Park neighborhood where she grew up.

She is a proud first-generation college graduate, a proud daughter of a single mother, and a proud mother of a wonderful child.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Dustin Moon

Dustin Moon

Digital Manager

Dustin Moon is the Digital Manager at NextGen Policy. He is an experienced communications professional specializing in digital management and digital content for the NGP Facebook page, Twitter account, and organization website including graphics, still photography, and video.

Prior to working for NextGen, Dustin worked in the public sector managing digital outreach strategies to effectively communicate organizational messaging. He holds a BA in Communication Design from Chico State and enjoys spending his time away from the office with his wife and daughter.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Elena Santamaria

Elena Santamaria

Policy Advisor

Elena Santamaria specializes in health, human services, and homelessness policy issues. She has led NextGen's efforts to defend the Affordable Care Act, extend services to undocumented communities, ensure patients have access to affordable prescription drugs, and expand progressive healthcare policies both nationally and in California.

Prior to working at NextGen Policy, Elena worked in the California State Legislature for a number of Assembly Members and also intermittently spent time on various legislative campaigns.

Elena holds a Bachelors of Science in Political Science from the University of California, Davis.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Milena Paez

Milena Paez

Communications Manager

Milena Paez manages the strategic communications operation for NextGen Policy and is responsible for amplifying the organization's wide range of legislative, policy, programmatic, advocacy, and community engagement initiatives. She administers all press and media communications and supervises the digital outreach program.

She began her career community organizing in rural Central America as a Program Supervisor for an international non-profit, Amigos de las Americas, which sparked her passion for civic engagement. Prior to joining NextGen Policy, she worked on outreach and communications initiatives for the California Secretary of State and the California Assembly Speaker's Office.

Milena holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Political Science from California State University, Sacramento and was a 2017 HOPE Leadership Institute Fellow. Se habla español.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Samantha Seng

Samantha Seng

Policy Advisor

Samantha Seng covers education policy - early childhood, K - 12th grade, and higher education for NextGen Policy. The work includes advocating for policies and programs that promote access, equity, and student success at every stage of their educational career.

Samantha joined NextGen after a stint in the California State Assembly, working on a wide range of issues for several different elected officials. Before moving to Sacramento, Samantha came from the non-profit sector, teaching, mentoring, and tutoring low-income and at-promise youth throughout the Bay Area.

Samantha is a proud daughter of immigrants, a first-generation college graduate, and the first family member to hold a Master’s Degree - in Education from Lesley University. Samantha holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley.

Susi Galyon

Susi Galyon

Policy Advisor

Susi Galyon is responsible for following cannabis policy issues and also manages finance and operations for Fahr LLC. Before joining the NextGen Policy team, she worked for the Department of Defense as Command Secretary and Assistant to the Commodore for US Navy Logistics Command Task Force 53 in Manama, Bahrain.

Prior to working in the Middle East, she was a Business Manager for Mass Mutual in San Francisco. She is a Sacramento State alum, earning a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Intercultural Communication.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Tiffany Germain

Tiffany Germain

Research & Policy Advisor

Tiffany Germain specializes in high-level public policy analysis and political research. Her primary areas of emphasis include tackling food insecurity, providing more healthy school meals in California schools, and developing California's food system networks.

Before joining NextGen Policy, Tiffany was the Deputy Research Director at NextGen America, where she focused on statewide and national political races. Prior to her work at NextGen, she served as Research Manager for the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, D.C. She also spent time on Capitol Hill working for United States Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), proudly serving the people of her home state of North Carolina.

Tiffany holds a BA in Political Science from East Carolina University and an MA in Public Management from Johns Hopkins University.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Amy Hamblin

Amy Hamblin

Policy Advisor

Amy Hamblin is a Policy Consultant at NextGen Policy and is responsible for the following areas: voting rights, 2020 census, local government, and labor issues.

Before joining NextGen Policy, Amy worked as a policy advisor on Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign. She brings over 10 years of experience in advocacy, communications and civic engagement. She began her career on the 2008 Obama campaign, managing an online community of nearly two million supporters. She is passionate about strengthening civic engagement at home and abroad. She has served as an international election observer in Ukraine, Russia, Egypt and Macedonia. In addition to her work at NextGen, Amy also teaches in the Political Science Department at Contra Costa College.

Amy holds a Master’s degree in International Relations with a specialization in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Northwestern University.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Chris Fadeff

Chris Fadeff

Legal Advisor

Chris Fadeff has worked with NextGen Policy since 2013, serving as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Legal Affairs for NextGen Policy, NextGen America, and Need to Impeach.

Before returning to NextGen, Chris served as chief operating officer for Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign.

Prior to NextGen, Chris worked on Jerry Brown’s campaign for governor and served on his transition team. Chris is a Truman National Security Project partner and serves on an advisory committee for the Tides Foundation. Chris graduated from Sonoma State University and University of California Hastings College of Law.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Chris Lehman

Chris Lehman

Policy Advisor

Chris Lehman is an Political Advisor to NextGen Policy — advising on political, advocacy, and messaging activities in the legislative and ballot measure areas.

Chris has over 20 years of experience in California state government and has held leading strategy, messaging, and management roles on over 50 national, statewide, ballot measure, candidate, and political campaigns including Tom Steyer for President 2020. His career started in 1998 in the Office of Senator John Vasconcellos, one of the longest serving legislators in California history. Chris has been an advisor to four consecutive leaders of the California State Senate: Don Perata, Darrell Steinberg, Kevin DeLeon, and Toni Atkins.

Chris holds degrees in Political Science and Physics from UC Davis. He hails from the rugged and rural North Coast of California. Chris is a father of three, and in his spare time loves being present with his kids, exploring his faith, and considers serving others his life’s work.

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Radha Seshagiri

Radha Seshagiri

Policy Advisor

Radha Seshagiri is a Policy Consultant with NextGen Policy. Her policy areas of emphasis include: housing, income inequality, and taxes.

Radha worked as the Policy Director for Tom Steyer's presidential campaign before joining NextGen Policy. She brings over fifteen years of management and leadership experience in global development, philanthropy, and federal policy.

She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University, with an emphasis in International Relations, and a certificate in International Management from Oxford University. She speaks Tamil and is proficient in Spanish.