ACLU Welcomes Six New Dynamic Lobbyists To Washington Legislative Office

May 6, 2011 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON –The American Civil Liberties Union today proudly announced the addition of several new and influential lobbyists to its Washington Legislative Office (WLO), marking the office’s highest staff levels since its creation in 1952.
“Never in the history of the ACLU have we had such a broad and robust lobbying team,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. “We are excited to welcome our new lobbyists and anticipate they will have a tremendous and immediate impact on the legislative and executive branch work of the ACLU.”

“With these talented and influential new lobbyists joining our already top-notch team, our legislative advocacy for civil liberties on Capitol Hill and with the White House and executive branch agencies will be unparalleled,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU WLO. “From guarding religious and reproductive freedom, to ensuring LGBT Americans and racial minorities have equal protection under the law, to protecting Americans’ privacy, to fighting to maintain our freedoms in the national security arena, our dynamic team will work tirelessly to safeguard each and every individual’s rights in America. Our new staff will ensure the ACLU Washington Legislative Office is poised to become an even more influential force for civil liberties in the years to come.”

Devon Chaffee joins the WLO team as Legislative Counsel and will lobby Congress and the executive branch on ACLU priorities in the field of international human rights. Chaffee joins the ACLU after nearly five years as Advocacy Counsel at Human Rights First where she advocated for counterterrorism and national security policies that are consistent with human rights law. Chaffee served as an observer to the military commissions proceedings in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, testified before the Helsinki Commission and represented Human Rights First at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. Chaffee received her J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center (2006) where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar and her B.A. from Hampshire College (2001) in International Relations and Human Rights.

Kenneth Chandler will promote and advance the organization’s civil rights policy goals in his new role as ACLU Policy Counsel. Chandler joins the WLO from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where he was a public policy associate. At the Lawyers’ Committee, Chandler helped to develop legislative advocacy materials including drafting, reviewing and editing testimony, articles and reports on behalf of Lawyers’ Committee executive staff. Chandler also served as a liaison between the Lawyers’ Committee and Capitol Hill, tracking, promoting and researching relevant civil rights legislation. Chandler attended Vanderbilt University Law School where he received his J.D. and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he attained a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology.

Sarah Lipton-Lubet has joined the ACLU’s WLO as Policy Counsel and will work to advance the ACLU’s reproductive freedom and women’s rights priorities. Prior to joining the ACLU, Lipton-Lubet served as a legislative policy counsel in the DC office of the Center for Reproductive Rights, held a litigation fellowship at the Natural Resources Defense Council and clerked for the Honorable Richard Paez of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as well as for the Honorable Nancy Gertner of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Lipton-Lubet earned a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was Symposium Editor of the Yale Law Journal, Articles Editor of the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism and Vice President of the Yale Chapter of the American Constitution Society and a B.A. summa cum laude from Northwestern University in American Studies.

Jesselyn McCurdy returns to the WLO as a Senior Legislative Counsel after a nearly three-year stint as counsel with the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. McCurdy, previously with the WLO for five years, will continue to work on key criminal justice issues for the ACLU, moving the organization’s priorities through Congress and the executive branch. In her role with the House Judiciary Committee, McCurdy drafted legislation and represented the Committee and Subcommittee Chairs in meetings with advocates, constituents and congressional staff. McCurdy was also instrumental in the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 and worked on other historical pieces of legislation including the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009. Jesselyn received her J.D. from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law and a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Rutgers University.

Dena Sher has been named Legislative Counsel in the ACLU WLO. Formerly State Legislative Counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Sher will lead the ACLU’s legislative efforts in maintaining the separation of church and state. In her previous work, Sher worked with legislators, activists and coalition partners on legislation, policy and ballot initiatives that affected religious liberties, including school vouchers, healthcare refusals and religion in the workplace. She also served as an Equal Justice Works fellow in Americans United’s legal department. Sher received a B.S.F.S., or Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, from Georgetown University and a J.D., with honors, from the George Washington University Law School and.

Ian Thompson, a longtime WLO staffer, has been promoted to the ACLU’s lobbying team as Legislative Representative. Thompson will advance the organization’s civil liberties and civil rights agenda in Congress and the executive branch by focusing on LGBT rights, HIV/AIDS and sex education. Thompson previously worked as the Senior Legislative Assistant and started his ACLU career as a field assistant, where he helped organize ACLU members and activists across the country and collaborated with state affiliate offices in support of the ACLU’s national legislative agenda. Prior to joining the ACLU in January 2006, Thompson interned in the Washington, DC office of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and graduated from Penn State University with degrees in International Politics and English.

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