Margaret headshotMargaret Babayan, Betty Jane Narver policy fellow

Margaret is on the policy and research team. She is in her final year of graduate school in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program at the University of Washington.

Prior to her graduate studies, Margaret served as a co-chair on the Seattle Human Rights Commission. She was active in community and campus organizing efforts as an undergraduate in public health at UW, especially with Health Equity Circle. She has also taught abroad with the Fulbright Student Program, worked in case management with the Chinese Information and Service Center, and supported statewide civil engagement efforts with Win/Win Network.

Contact: margaretb(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org 

April Dickinson, communications and operations coordinator

April headshotApril works on the communications team, and she helps coordinate the operations at the Center. She previously served as legislative assistant to Representative Eric Pettigrew at the Washington State Legislature, and she served on the policy and government affairs teams at Community Health Plan of Washington.

April has also held roles at Seattle Children’s and Care USA. She has a bachelor’s degree in law, societies, and justice from the University of Washington. She was born and raised in Seattle, and she enjoys hiking with her two sons. She is also active in the zero waste movement.

Contact: aprild(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Matt Mirarchi, development manager 

Matt Mirarchi headshotMatt helps grow the Center’s base of support through strategic fundraising campaigns and community partnerships. A transplant from the “other coast,” Matt enjoys engaging with donors and community partners, and aligning their interests with the Budget & Policy Center’s programs and initiatives. He values how fundraising helps build diverse communities of support. 

Previously, Matt wore a few different development hats, including at the LGBT Center of Raleigh, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA), and Northwest Center. He holds a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Andrew Nicholas, associate director of fiscal policy

Andy 2017 headshot

Andy specializes in state budget and tax policy. Since joining the Budget & Policy Center in 2009, he has served on a Legislative Task Force on Tax Preference Reform and has conducted numerous analyses of Washington’s tax code.

Andy worked at the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he performed extensive research on state fiscal policy. Additionally, Andy taught English in China. He holds a Master of Public Policy from American University’s School of Public Affairs.

Contact: andyn(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Liz Olson, State Priorities Partnership policy fellow

Liz O headshot

Liz works on research and analysis to advance our policy agenda. Her fellowship is offered through the State Priorities Partnership – a national network of state fiscal policy organizations run by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

She has a master’s degree in public policy and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies from Brandeis University. While at Brandeis, she worked as a research assistant at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy, focusing on economic security, work-family policy, and workforce development. Liz has also held roles in community-based advocacy and direct service with Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives and Raphael House in Oregon.

Contact: lizo(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Kelli Smith, senior policy analyst

Kelli professional headshotKelli is part of the research and policy team, and she focuses on state budget and revenue policy. Prior to joining the Budget & Policy Center, she was a senior policy associate at the Economic Opportunity Institute. Her research focused on higher education policy and the impact of race and ethnicity on economic outcomes. 

Her experience also includes providing legal representation to low-income clients in a range of areas. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Davis.

Contact: kellis(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Jennifer Tran, senior policy analyst

Jennifer 2017 headshot

As part of the research and policy team, Jennifer focuses on social policy. Prior to joining the Budget & Policy Center, Jennifer was a senior analyst in the San Francisco Mayor’s Office's Our Children, Our Families Council. She was formerly a senior associate at PolicyLink and a data analyst at the University of Southern California Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. 

Her past research has focused on economic growth and resiliency, regional equity, immigrant integration, environmental justice, and issues related to children, youth, and families. Jennifer holds a master’s degree in urban planning from UCLA.

Contact: jennifert(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

KerriLyn Vander Heyden, bookkeeper

KerriLyn VH headshotKerriLyn oversees the bookkeeping and plays a key role in drafting and administering the budget of the Center. She is a senior accounting professional with a background in full charge of bookkeeping and financial management.

Her nonprofit experience stems from years of board work on behalf of her local public school and as the deputy director of Operation Nightwatch, an organization serving homeless men, women and children. She holds a bachelor of arts in political science and communication from the University of Arizona.

Contact: kerrilynv(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Sumayyah Waheed, director, All In for Washington 

Sumayyah Waheed headshotSumayyah leads a multi-year campaign convened by the Budget & Policy Center, Progress Alliance, FUSE Washington, and the Sound and Spokane Alliance that seeks to change the cultural "common sense" about public investments and the role of government.

Sumayyah has held a range of campaign manager and policy director roles, and has worked in organizations including the Seattle Office for Civil Rights and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact: sumayyahw(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Julie Watts, deputy director

Julie Watts headshotJulie helps to implement the organization’s strategic vision and oversees a range of research, policy, and external relations initiatives. Julie was previously a lecturer at the University of Washington School of Social Work, teaching courses in poverty and inequality, public policy, and community and organizational change.

Her experience also includes serving as lead public policy staff for the Statewide Poverty Action Network and the Washington Association of Churches (now the Faith Action Network), leading statewide campaigns to address poverty and inequality and advocate for creating a progressive tax structure in Washington state. Julie holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington. 

Contact: juliew(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Misha Werschkul, executive director

Misha Werschkul headshotAs the leader of the Budget & Policy Center, Misha guides the organization’s strategic vision and ensures its position as a leading voice shaping the debate around budget priorities.

She previously worked in a range of roles with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Washington, DC, and SEIU 775 in Seattle – most recently serving as 775’s legislative and policy director.

Misha has a master's degree in public policy and women's studies from George Washington University and held two research fellowships with the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington D.C. In recent years, she has crafted positions and built coalitions in support of progressive statewide campaigns, including making improvements in the health and long-term care system, raising the minimum wage, and advancing revenue solutions.

Contact: mishaw(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Melinda Young-Flynn, director of communications 

Melinda headshot formatted

Melinda helps build the reputation of the center as a respected source of information and analysis on state budget and fiscal issues.

Previously, Melinda led the communications program at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy. In that role, she helped publicize a wide range of public health and patient advocacy initiatives championed by the school’s faculty and students.

Her background also includes working at area nonprofits like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.

Contact: melinday(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

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Thank you for attending Budget Matters

Our Budget Matters 2018 policy conference took place on November 13 at Seattle Center. john a. powell from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and Gov. Jay Inslee were the keynotes. Stay tuned for the TVW coverage.  

Our policy priorities

Washington state should be a place where all our residents have strong communities, great schools, and the chance for a bright future. Our 2017-2019 Legislative Agenda outlines the priorities we are working to advance.

Testimonies in Olympia

Misha TVW
Watch our 2018 legislative session testimonies on TVW: