CHSA Elects 2020 Board of Directors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 6, 2020
Philip Bennett, Communications Director: (310) 384-5815, Philip.Bennett@mail.house.gov
Washington, D.C. - The Congressional Hispanic Staff Association completed their annual elections for their new Board of Directors on February 28, 2020. CHSA is proud to begin Women’s History Month by electing the first ten person, all-Latina Board! The new officers assume their positions today, Friday, March 6, 2020.
The Board of Directors are as follows:
Christine Godinez, President
Christine Godinez currently serves as a Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01). She works on a broad array of domestic policy issues including homeland security, immigration, health care, education, nutrition, seniors and family issues, and more. She started her career on Capitol Hill as an intern for Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) in February 2015. She then became a Staff Assistant for the House Committee on Education and the Labor Democratic staff under Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) before being promoted to Policy Associate. Outside of work, Christine enjoys taking foreign language classes and playing softball with fellow CHSA members as part of the Chili Dogs during the summer months.
Jessica Vallejo, Vice President
Jessica Vallejo currently serves as Deputy Floor Director in the Office of the Majority Whip, James E. Clyburn. Previously, she served in a variety of roles, including staff assistant, scheduler, and legislative aide, for her hometown congressman and former Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Joe Crowley. Jessica began her career on Capitol Hill as a Running Start fellow in then-Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's office. Jessica was born and raised in Queens, NY. She is a proud Boston College graduate and a lover of all things hot sauce.
Jenna Valle-Riestra, Placement Director
Jenna Valle-Riestra serves as the Digital Assistant for Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), acting as the Senator's principle spokesperson for online media, and previously served as a Staff Assistant and then Press Assistant / Scheduler for Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA). Jenna is a proud California native whose background includes public relations, editorial work, and social media management. As Placement Director, she looks forward to supporting CHSA members' professional goals, and fostering a bicameral and bipartisan Capitol Hill hiring infrastructure that celebrates our diversity.
Tammy Zapata, Treasurer
Tammy Zapata currently serves as a Staff Assistant for Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17). She holds a legislative portfolio covering Native American Issues, Arts, Animal Issues, Tax, Finacial Services, and Science. Originally from Aurora, IL, Tammy is a first-generation college graduate (majoring in International Business and Political Science) with a passion for advocacy, theatre, and reading. She is elated to join this historic all Latina CHSA board and hopes to be able to contribute ideas and methods to promote Hispanic representation both on and off the Hill. As treasurer, she plans to not only keep all of CHSA's finances in line but will work to make membership more beneficial and obtainable.
Celia Olivas, Communications Director
Celia Olivas currently serves as a Press/Digital Assistant for Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15). Originally from Stockton, CA, the UC Santa Cruz graduate started her career on the Hill as an intern with Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) in the UCDC Washington Program. She’s also an alumni of NALEO’s Staff Up Congress Communications Academy and currently participating in the Democratic Digital Academy. As Communications Director, she looks forward to helping CHSA’s mission to advance Latino staffers in Congress by executing a robust digital strategy, raise CHSA’s public profile both on and off the Hill, and supporting and empowering her colleagues.
Annmarie Goyzueta, Social Events Director
Annmarie Goyzueta currently serves her home state of Connecticut as Scheduler for Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and oversees the Congresswoman’s immigration portfolio. Prior to joining team Hayes, Annmarie worked as a communications staffer for Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51). This is her second term on the CHSA Board of Directors and she is eager to continue in her role as Social Events Director. She hopes to foster a greater sense community and empower Latinx staffers to reach their full potential on and off the Hill.
Hannah Ceja, Professional Development Director
Hannah Ceja currently serves as a Legislative Assistant for Representative Juan Vargas (CA-51), covering various issue areas including financial services, housing, labor, taxation and economics. After graduating from Barnard College with a degree in economics, she began her career as a paralegal for the Legal Aid Society in the South Bronx, where she worked with tenants to end their eviction proceedings. She then worked in financial analysis and research for public infrastructure projects as a Fulbright Binational Business Scholar in Mexico, and later became involved in various political campaigns. CHSA members helped bring Hannah onto the Hill and made her feel welcome, and she is eager to give back. Hannah looks forward to building on CHSA’s successes within the professional development program, to ensure more members are positioned to reach their career goals.
Patricia Odaz, Recruitment Director
Patricia Ordaz currently serves as a Legislative Aide in the Office of Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) covering the immigration and judiciary portfolios. Previously, she served in the Office of Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) where she covered the health care, immigration and judiciary portfolio's. Patricia began her career on Capitol Hill in 2015 as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Legislative Intern where she was placed in Senator Bennet's office. Prior, to moving to D.C., she interned in the Food and Nutrition Services Regional Administrator's Office at the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program.
Patricia was born in Mexico City and was brought Denver, Colorado (where she calls home) by her parents at the age of six. Her favorite pastimes
include spending time with her family and friends, and meeting new people. As Recruitment Director, she looks forward to supporting CHSA's recruitment efforts and implementing inclusive initiatives to grow and retain our community.
Maria Robayo, Programming Director
Maria Robayo currently serves as a Legislative Correspondent for Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14). Prior to joining Team Castor, Maria worked on state and city-level campaigns as a finance consultant. Born and raised in Colombia, the bilingual staffer -- who is fluent in English and Spanish -- obtained her master’s degree in Global Governance and Diplomacy from the University of Siena, in Italy, and has taught English to students in South Korea. As Programming Director, she hopes to continue helping the Hispanic community by increasing engagement, accessibility, and transparency. As well as to bolster relationships with other staff associations, highlighting Hispanic diversity and continue to empower Hispanics both on and off Capitol Hill.
Maru Vazquez, Secretary
Maru Vazquez currently serves Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35)as a Staff Assistant. Responsibilities include managing interns, handling constituent’s tour requests, placing flag request taking constituent calls, booking and leading tours, and presidential greetings. She is from the Inland Empire in Southern California, and a graduate of the University of California Riverside.