About Project Vote Smart
Meet Our Staff
Jessica ArrigoniNational Board Chair
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).Fun Fact: "I lived in Vote Smart's only cabin without running water for two years."
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.Fun Fact: Has a world class collection of Daffy Ducks
Adelaide KimballSenior Advisor, Founding Board Member
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).Fun Fact: Former Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year award winner
Walker McKusickNational Director
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.Fun Fact: "I've scored cricket for the Royal Household at Windsor, for a spot of tea."
Kirsten WallaceInternship Coordinator
Responsible for coordinating our Internship Program, including outreach, recruitment, and intern placement. Kirsten graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with two degrees in International Studies and Religion. She is an alumni of Americorps, NCCC, FEMA Corps and The Episcopal Urban Intern Program in Los Angeles, CA. She joined Vote Smart in spring, 2016.Fun Fact: I met Mark Wahlberg in a Target in West Hollywood, he was buying a Halloween costume.
Development and Communications
Cassie ReedDevelopment and Communications Director
Responsible for handling outgoing/online communications and donations. Cassie is originally from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a degree in communications from Penn State University in December 2015. She worked as a Vote Smart intern during summer 2015, and joined the team as staff in April 2016.Fun Fact: I worked at a dog kennel for 5 years when I was in high school.
Alejandro OrtizDevelopment and Communications Associate
Responsible for handling outgoing/ online communications and donations. Alejandro was born and raised in Sioux City, IA and received his B.B.A. in Business Management and Business Analytics & Information Systems from the University of Iowa in December of 2016. He joined the Vote Smart Team in Des Moines in February of 2017.Fun Fact: "Every time I sneeze I sneeze at least 2-3 times consecutively—I don't think that I have ever sneezed just once."
Jacob PettersonDevelopment and Communications Associate
Responsible for handling outgoing/online communications and donations. 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.Fun Fact: I drank so much milk as a little kid I'm almost positive my bones are indestructible now.
Mike ShultzInformation Technology Director
Responsible for web development, user support, and system administration. Mike has been with Project Vote Smart since 2007.Fun Fact: "I once pet a sting ray."
Responsible for web and mobile development. Travis lives in and works remotely from San Antonio, TX.
His first programming experience was in BASIC on a Commodore 64.
Elections and Candidates Research
Peter McLaughlinDirector of Elections and Candidates Research
Responsible for leading the Research programs that monitor elections, track candidate biographical information, and research state/federal candidates' issue positions. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 2016 with a degree in Government and International Studies. He joined Vote Smart initially as an intern in 2015 and returned as a staff member in 2016.Fun Fact: "I've been to three of the four corners of the customary world map."
Jesus OrtizResearch Associate
Responsible for the PCT program, including making issue position determinations for political candidates. Jesus grew up in Baldwin Park, CA. He graduated from the University of California - Davis with a degree in Political Science in 2012 and recently finished one year of service with Americorps NCCC-FEMA Corps. He joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.Fun Fact: "I lived in an abandoned Sam's Club for about a month."
Takuya AmagaiResearch Associate
Responsible for monitoring elections at the federal and state level. Takuya graduated from Carleton College in Spring, 2016 before joining the Vote Smart team.Fun Fact: I believed in Santa Claus until age 18.
Jesse FischerResearch Associate
Researching biographical data as well as issue positions of candidates running for office or currently in office. Jesse graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Secondary Education - Social Studies and joined Vote Smart in spring 2016.
Britton FraserDirector of Officials Research
Responsible for leading the Research programs that collect and maintain the organization's public statements, legislative, and interest group information on all U.S. elected officials. Britton graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin with a major in Political Science. Originally from Connecticut, he joined the Vote Smart team in 2015.Fun Fact: I'm a surprisingly decent cook.
Paige LeeLegislative Research Associate
The Legislative Research program tracks, analyzes, and summarizes major legislation in Congress and all 50 states. Paige graduated from Knox College in 2015 with a B.A. in Political Science. She recently completed a year serving with Teach For America on Rosebud Indian Reservation before joining Vote SmartFun Fact: I have lived in 9 states and 2 countries.
Annie PetersenLegislative Research Associate
Responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in Congress and all 50 states. 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.Fun Fact: I chased Tom Brokaw down on the street for an autograph when I was 13.
Kathleen PowersLegislative Research Associate
Responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in all 50 states. Kathleen earned a degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and studied Spanish at the University of Málaga. Originally from Illinois, she joined the Vote Smart team in 2017.Fun Fact: “I’ve driven the same car for 14 years.”
Rachael AndersonResearch Associate
Responsible for updating ratings and endorsements from special interest groups. Rachael is originally from Minnesota and graduated from Dickinson College in 2014 with degrees in Political Science and Spanish. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2015 after completing an internship with the organization.Fun Fact: "I have picnicked on top of a glacier."
Kayla DayResearch Associate
Responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. Kayla is originally from Minnesota and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with degrees in public relations and politics. She joined Vote Smart in February 2017.Fun Fact: "I'm allergic to kiwi."
James WypychResearch Associate
Responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. James was born in Wellington, New Zealand. He graduated from Drake University in 2016 in International Relations and joined Vote Smart in March 2017.Fun Fact: I was an Academic-All American at Drake University for soccer!
Lara NetolickyResearch Associate
Responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. Lara is originally from Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa in 2014 with degrees in Political Science and Journalism. She joined Vote Smart in 2017Fun Fact: I have a fake tooth.