Meet Our Staff


National Board Chair

Jessica Arrigoni

Responsible for Vote Smart's National Board. Jessica has a master's in political science from Truman State University and formerly served as the Director of Vote Smart's National Political Awareness Test (now the Political Courage Test).


"I lived in Vote Smart's only cabin without running water for two years."

President

Richard Kimball

Responsible for fundraising and the integrity of Board-approved policies and standards. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Richard served on the staffs of Congressman Morris K. Udall, Senator Walter F. Mondale, and Senator Daniel P. Moynihan. He is also a former Arizona State Senator and Corporation Commissioner.


"Has a world class collection of Daffy Ducks"

Senior Advisor, Founding Board Member

Adelaide Kimball

Responsible for Major Giver Development and Media. Adelaide is a graduate of the University of Texas and holds master's degrees in American history and library science from the University of Arizona. She is a former archivist for the Arizona Historical Society and has previously directed Vote Smart's National Political Awareness Test (now the Political Courage Test).


"Former Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year award winner"

National Director

Walker McKusick

Responsible for day-to-day oversight of all Vote Smart programs, staff, operations, facilities and administration. Walker is originally from Charlottesville, VA. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013 with degrees in History and Economics. After graduation, he taught History and Politics in England for a year. He joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.


"I've scored cricket for the Royal Household at Windsor, for a spot of tea."

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Office Manager and Internship Coordinator

Mackenzie Carlson

Responsible for coordinating our Internship Program, including outreach, recruitment, and intern placement. She is also responsible for office management. In 2018, Mackenzie graduated with her B.A. in Political Science from DePaul University. Her passion for politics and love of information brought her to Vote Smart in April 2019.


"I named my cat after a song in Hamilton."

Information Technology Director

Travis Flatt

Responsible for web development, user support, and system administration. Travis lives in and works remotely from San Antonio, TX. His first programming experience was in BASIC on a Commodore 64.


" I started performing live music at age 18."

Full Stack Developer

Matt Dublin

Responsible for web development, user support, and system administration. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Matt's previous areas of focus have been bioinformatics and media asset management.


"I'm a big fan of spoonerisms."

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SysAdmin/DevOps

Mark Mangoba


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Development and Communications Director

Jacob Petterson

Responsible for handling donations and membership communications. Jacob was born and raised in Ankeny, IA, and graduated with a degree in English and Writing from the University of Iowa in December of 2014. He joined the Vote Smart Team in Des Moines in March of 2017.


"I drank so much milk as a little kid I'm almost positive my bones are indestructible now."

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Social Media Communications Associate

Tessa DeConcini


Responsible for social media outreach. Tessa is a high school student in Tucson, Arizona, and works remotely from there. Although she was born and raised in Virginia, it wasn’t until moving to Tucson in the ninth grade that she found her passion for politics and government. Tessa joined the Vote Smart family in January of 2018.


"I was a member of a professional children’s theatre company in middle school. "

Development & Communications Associate

Murphy Burke

Murphy grew up in Des Moines, IA and received a degree in Public Relations from Western Kentucky University in May of 2018. She joined Vote Smart in March of 2019.


"I once won 56 cents from a trivia gameshow app!"

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Director of Officials Research

Annie Petersen

Responsible for leading the Research programs that collect and maintain the organization's public statements, legislative information, and special interest group ratings for all U.S. elected officials. Annie graduated from the University of Iowa in 2013 with a B.A. in Journalism and International Studies, with an emphasis in human rights. She worked as a freelance copyeditor and as an assistant manager in a clothing store before joining Vote Smart in March 2017.


"I chased Tom Brokaw down on the street for an autograph when I was 13."

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Legislative Research Associate

Thomas Stone

Thomas is responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in congress and all 50 states. Thomas graduated early from Iowa State University in 2017 with a B.S. in History and a Minor in Sociology. Originally from Des Moines, Thomas is a Projectionist for the IMAX Theater at the Science Center of Iowa and first joined the VoteSmart team as an intern before starting full time in July.


"I walked across the stage at my college commencement ceremony before I turned 21."

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Research Associate

Nick Gerhardt

Nick is responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. Nick graduated from Iowa State University in 2017 with a degree in Political Science. He grew up in Ankeny and joined Vote Smart in July of 2017.


"I finished my Undergrad in just under 3 years."

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Research Associate

Chelsea Hoye

Chelsea grew up in West Des Moines, IA. She graduated from the University of Iowa where she received a B.A. in political science with an emphasis in political behavior, and a minor in sociology. She is responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in Congress and all 50 states. Chelsea joined Vote Smart in April of 2018.


"I once ruptured an eardrum while scuba diving in Fiji."

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Research Associate

Neal Jensen

Responsible for updating ratings and endorsements from special interest groups. Originally from California, Neal has a degree in Political Science from the University Of Montana.


"I've played guitar for 16 years."

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Research Associate

Andrew Havens

Andrew is responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. Andrew graduated from Cornell College in 2017 with a degree in Politics. He is originally from Illinois and joined Vote Smart in February of 2019.


"I collect Presidential campaign buttons in my spare time."

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Research Associate

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca grew up in Houston, Texas. She graduated from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor with a BA in History and a Minor in Mass Communication. She is responsible for researching elected officials and organizing their public statements. Rebecca joined Vote Smart February of 2019.


"I studied abroad in London and am a 100% Anglophile. "

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Research Associate

Johanan Tai


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Research Associate

Conner Tiland

Conner is involved with researching and categorizing elected official's public statements. He studied Political Science at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. Conner joined Vote Smart in May of 2019.


"I lived in Taipei, Taiwan, for four years of my youth."

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Research Associate

Celia Ringstrom

Celia is originally from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California in 2017 with degrees in Anthropology and Psychology. After graduation, she worked in the Middle East teaching English and with Grassroots Campaigns. She joined Vote Smart in the summer of 2019. Celia is responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in congress and all 50 states


"My first two languages are Spanish and French."

Director of Elections and Candidates Research

James Wypych

Responsible for leading the Research programs that monitor elections, track candidate biographical information, and research state/federal candidates' issue positions. James was born in Wellington, New Zealand. He graduated from Drake University in 2016 in International Relations and joined Vote Smart in March 2017.


"I was an Academic-All American at Drake University for soccer!"

Research Associate

Takuya Amagai

Responsible for monitoring elections at the federal and state level. Takuya graduated from Carleton College in Spring, 2016 before joining the Vote Smart team.


"I believed in Santa Claus until age 18."

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Research Associate

Holly Thayer


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Research Associate

Luke Bascom

Luke grew up not far from the Vote Smart headquarters in Des Moines. He graduated from the University of Denver in 2019 with a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in French. Luke joined the Vote Smart team in 2019 and is responsible for maintaining candidate profiles.


"I've recorded drums through a sound board that had been previously used at Abbey Road by George Harrison, Joni Mitchell, and others."

Research Associate

Davin Johnson

Davin graduated from Western Washington University in June 2019 with a B.A. in Political Science and Minor in Sociology. He joined Vote Smart in 2019, and he works on maintaining candidate profiles.


" I came second place in a competition to win a Segway."

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