Arizona: Governor Katie Hobbs Announces Policy Team Focused On Tackling Education, Water, Health, Economic Prosperity and More

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PHOENIX— Following up on her promise to make a significant impact in the lives of families and communities of Arizona, Governor Katie Hobbs is announcing her team of experienced policy staff, who will be led by Director of Policy Tracy Lopes.

"I'm committed to lowering costs, investing in public education, securing our water future, tackling the affordable housing crisis and other real issues impacting Arizonans. This team of talented and experienced policy staffers have the expertise to find the solutions we need," said Governor Katie Hobbs. "The people of Arizona have sent our administration here to find solutions to these issues, and that's exactly what this dedicated policy team will be focused on."

Policy Staff:

Selianna Chang–P-12 Education Policy Advisor
Selianna R. Chang is the proud daughter of two lifelong educators from San Luis, Arizona. She earned her bachelor's degree in political science and master's degree in public administration from Arizona State University. Selianna previously served in the Obama Administration at the Department of Homeland Security and is an experienced legislative staffer having previously staffed the Senate Democratic Caucus and House Democratic Caucus at the Arizona State Legislature for eight years.

Julieta Cruz–Transportation Policy Advisor With more than thirteen years of professional experience working in the public sector, Julieta Cruz has developed a passion for advancing transit projects. As part of the Government Relations team at Valley Metro, Julieta constantly leveraged her expertise in strategic messaging, cross-discipline coordination, and project management. This has led Julieta to build meaningful partnerships with the local community and business leaders to move current and future infrastructure projects in Maricopa County, including the $1 billion South Central/Downtown Hub light rail project. Before joining Valley Metro, she worked with the City of Phoenix's Mayor's Office, addressing constituent and neighborhood needs through outcome-focused initiatives. Starting her career as a community organizer in South Phoenix, Julieta developed parent leaders who spearheaded a campaign that secured more than $12 million in additional school funding and elected education champions to represent students' interests. Through partnership and collaboration, Julieta is committed to working with community leaders to help provide all Arizonans with access to transportation.

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Zaida Dedolph Piecoro–Health Policy Advisor Zaida Dedolph Piecoro believes that every Arizonan deserves access to the tools and resources they need to live well. Zaida joins the Governor's Office from Children's Action Alliance, where she has served as health policy director since 2019. Previously, she held positions at several Arizona nonprofit organizations advocating for an end to poverty, hunger, financial exploitation, and domestic violence. Zaida earned her bachelor's degree in anthropology and bioethics from Loyola University Chicago and a master's degree in public health from the University of Arizona.

Erin Hart–Higher Education Policy Advisor Throughout her career, Erin Hart has been a coalition-builder, working across sectors and communities to create shared leadership, decisions, and responsibility that lead to co-creating and achieving common goals for P-20 education. She has spent more than two decades advancing P-20 education at the state and national levels in policy and advocacy roles, serving most recently as the Senior Vice President & Chief of Policy and Community Impact at Education Forward Arizona. Erin is a sought-out thought leader on education issues by the media and the community. She serves on various P-20 policy committees and boards, is a graduate of Valley Leadership Institute and the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy, and received a 40 Under 40 award. She graduated with honors from Arizona State University where she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees.

Kennesha Jackson–Public Safety and Military Affairs Policy Advisor  Kennesha Jackson recently served nine years as the State Victims' Rights Administrator (SVRA) at the Arizona Attorney General's Office (AGO) and a member of the management team presented the National Crime Victims' Rights Award by the United States Department of Justice. As the SVRA, she directed the administration and monitoring of the Victims' Rights Fund awarded to criminal justice agencies at all levels of government and oversaw uniformity of victim opt-in forms distributed by law enforcement agencies and county attorney offices. In this role, she also served on the AGO Victims' Rights Advisory Committee and led statewide workgroups to address victims' rights issues through evaluation of legislation and implementation of victims' rights statutes. She started her career as a victim advocate at the Attorney General's Office where she gained ample exposure to victims' rights by monitoring criminal cases through her direct involvement with case management in both the pre- and post-conviction phases. Kennesha holds a master's degree from Arizona State University's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

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May Mgbolu–Financial Institutions/Real Estate/Revenue Policy Advisor May Mgbolu's career has focused on policy solutions to state fiscal and economic challenges. She joins the governor's office from the Arizona Center for Economic Progress where she was a policy director providing leadership on state budget and tax policies to improve equity and boost opportunity for all Arizonans. Recently she served as the chair of the Policy Advisory Committee for the State Priorities Partnership, an initiative of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. May earned a bachelor's degree in political science at the University of Arizona and holds a master's degree in public policy from Arizona State University.

Molly Murphy–Judiciary and Corrections Policy Advisor Molly, a fourth generation Arizonan, has dedicated her career to public service. In 2018, she started her career as a field organizer for the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (ADLCC), successfully flipping a House seat in LD28. After earning her bachelor's degree in economics from Arizona State University, she served as an economist for the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, focusing on tax, retirement, and unemployment policy. Molly is finishing her master's degree in economics, where she is studying the economic implications of restricting access to abortion. With expertise in state budgeting, Molly understands exactly where and who our state has failed to invest in the past.

Ian O'Grady–Trade/Commerce/Tourism/Arts Policy Advisor Ian O'Grady has worked to help capital flow to communities for more inclusive economic development. At the Nowak Metro Finance Lab, Ian co-authored the Innovative Finance Playbook, funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. In past work, he helped create Phoenix's COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grants and the Transform Tucson Fund, implement the City of Phoenix sustainability and affordable housing goals, and co-founded Phoenix's first food cooperative. A proud product of Arizona public schools, Ian earned his bachelor's degree at Claremont McKenna College and studied as a Marshall Scholar at the University of Oxford.

John Owens–Regulatory Affairs Policy Advisor John Owens is a native Arizonan who is passionate about building a dynamic future for the state and its communities. He currently spearheads downtown redevelopment efforts for the City of Chandler. Prior to this role, he was a researcher at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and has previously served in the office of the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Colorado House of Representatives. John earned his undergraduate degree from Tulane University and has masters degrees in Urban Planning and Public Policy from Arizona State University. He lives in Phoenix with his wife, Haleigh.

Andrew Sugrue–Human Services Policy Advisor Andrew M. Sugrue has spent his entire career focused on how government and public policy can do better by people. Recently he was a director of economic policy with the Arizona Center for Economic Progress, where in addition to state budget and tax issues, he focused on anti-hunger, housing, and safety-net policy. He has served in previous roles with the Arizona Department of Child Safety and at various federal agencies.

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