Michael Cassidy is the President and CEO of The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a nonprofit think tank focused on providing independent research, analysis and public education on budget and tax issues, with emphasis on the impact of fiscal decisions on low- and moderate-income Virginians. Before joining The Commonwealth Institute, Michael conducted program evaluations as an analyst at the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget. He also worked for several years as a budget analyst at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget where he handled policy development, regulatory and legislative review and budgetary process and execution for a wide variety of social policy programs. He began his career in tax policy for the federal government and also worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in their government consulting practice. Michael graduated from Georgetown University, and has a master’s degree in public policy from the College of William and Mary, where he was a Thomas Jefferson Fellow.
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Mitchell Cole is a Research Assistant at the Institute. He provides research and analytical support for the Institute across a number of areas of the state budget and tax policy. He graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Economics from the College of William and Mary.
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Jeff Connor-Naylor is the Program Director of the Northern Virginia office. Jeff leads our effort to work with diverse stakeholders in this critical region, identify key issues of concern, and expand and better inform the work of The Commonwealth Institute. Prior to joining The Commonwealth Institute, Jeff was the Lead Community Organizer at a statewide policy advocacy organization working to end family homelessness in Massachusetts. He has also worked as an employment specialist with an organization assisting homeless individuals and as an operations manager at a Colorado Springs, Colorado soup kitchen. Jeff holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Hiram College and a Masters in Social Work from Boston College.
Patrick Getlein is the Director of Communications for the Institute. He works with the Institute’s staff to communicate the Institute’s work to the media and the public. Prior to his work with The Commonwealth Institute, Patrick worked in a variety of positions in strategic communications. From 1989-1993 he served at Christchurch School where he was an admissions officer and then director of publications and media relations with the alumni and development office. From 1993-2000 he served in a variety of roles with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia: managing editor of the diocese’s monthly newspaper , the Virginia Episcopalian (1993-1996); assistant secretary of the diocese (1996-1998); director of communications and editor of the paper (1998-2000). From 2000-2002 he was a freelance writer, publishing articles on food, wine and restaurant criticism in a variety of publications including Style Weekly, The Washington Golf Monthly, The Washington Post, and the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2001 he joined the creative team at Bergman Group ad agency where he was a copywriter. In 2002 he returned to the staff of the Diocese of Virginia as Secretary and Registrar and coordinator of diocesan staff serving also as director of communications and spokesperson. Patrick has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Hampden-Sydney College.
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Laura Goren is a Policy Analyst with the Institute. Laura conducts research and analysis on the state budget, tax policies and macroeconomic conditions in Virginia. Laura’s prior experience includes working as a research assistant at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, where she conducted research on housing finance issues. Laura has a B.A. in Sociology from Towson University and prior to joining the Institute was a PhD student in the Sociology program at the City University of New York.
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Sara Okos is the Policy Director at the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, where she analyzes and conducts research on a wide array of tax policies, the overall budget process, labor and wage issues, and education. Prior to joining The Commonwealth Institute in 2007, Sara worked in the Executive Office of Governor Jennifer Granholm in Lansing, Michigan. Sara has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Economics from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master’s of Public Policy from the College of William and Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy, where she was a Schroeder Fellow in Health Policy.
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Benjamin Paul is a Health Care Advocacy Coordinator with the Institute. He leads the coordination and execution of the Institute’s health care advocacy efforts. In his role, Ben staffs the Healthcare for All Virginians Coalition, a collection of 106 organizations working to help create and advocate for accessible and affordable quality health care for all Virginians. Prior to joining the Institute, he worked on Senator Tim Kaine’s United States Senate race in the Compliance and Operations department. Ben holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Richmond. He will pursue his Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Virginia in the fall.
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Hope Richardson is a Policy Analyst with the Institute. Hope’s research focuses on identifying actionable policy recommendations to increase all Virginia students’ access to a quality education. Prior to joining The Commonwealth Institute, Hope was a Policy Analyst at the California Budget Project in Sacramento, California. Her prior experience also includes positions with the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center and San Francisco Human Services Agency. Hope graduated from Wellesley College, and holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
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Massey Whorley is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Institute, where he conducts research related to health care policy. Prior to joining The Commonwealth Institute, Massey worked for Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (2008 – 2012), the General Assembly’s program evaluation agency. Massey has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from the College of William and Mary. He also earned a Master’s in Public Policy from the College of William and Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy, where he was a Schroeder Fellow in Health Policy.
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