Sunday, January 8, 2017

Arizona House Democrats announce staff changes

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX The House Democrats today announced that Cynthia Aragon is the new Democratic chief of staff.  There are several additional changes to the staff this year.

"We have a great team going into this upcoming session, and I look forward to what we can accomplish," House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix (District 27), said.

Aragon has been a member of Democratic staff for eight years and previously worked as the advisor for the Committee on Federalism and Property Rights, the Committee on Children and Family Affairs and the Committee on Transportation. She has more than 15 years of experience in community engagement and empowerment. Aragon earned her bachelor's degree from Arizona State University and is currently working on her master's degree from University of Arizona.

"I am honored and humbled to serve as the House Democratic chief of staff. We are ready to support a group of thoughtful leaders who will work for the interests of Arizonans," Aragon said.

Magali Bearden will serve as a policy advisor. She is a Phoenix native who graduated from Northern Arizona University. She was an intern for the House Democratic staff during the 2013 legislative session.

Andrew Loucks was promoted to the position of policy advisor. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Arizona State University. He began his legislative career in 2015 as an intern for the House Democratic staff, and he has been on staff part time for around a year.

Jackie Sandoval also was promoted and will now serve as the communications and outreach liaison. She had been the executive staff assistant since 2014, which was the same year she earned her bachelor's degree from Northern Arizona University.

Paulino Valerio joins staff as a policy advisor. He was an intern for the Senate while attending Arizona State University in 2012. Valerio was the identification and recruitment coordinator for the Migrant Education Program at the Arizona Department of Education before joining the House Democratic staff.

Carmen Velarde has taken on the role of executive staff assistant. She has worked a total of 18 years at the Legislature in both the House and Senate chambers. She received her bachelor of arts degree from Northern Arizona University and will be receiving her certificate in paralegal studies from Phoenix College.

Following is a full list of House Democratic staff members and assignments:

Cynthia Aragon 
chief of staff

Rhonda Barnes
general counsel and deputy chief of staff
            Committee on Rules
            Committee on Government

Magali Bearden
policy advisor
            Committee on Commerce
            Committee on Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs

Alan Eder
policy advisor
Committee on Appropriations
Sub-committee on Appropriations – Education
Sub-committee on Appropriations – Health and Welfare
Sub-committee on Appropriations – Public Safety, Infrastructure and Resources

Brenden Foland
policy advisor and deputy intern coordinator
            Committee on Education
            Committee on Local and International Affairs

Jennifer Harris
senior policy advisor and intern coordinator          
            Committee on Health
            Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety

C. Murphy Hebert
communications director and senior advisor
Andrew Loucks
policy advisor
            Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources
            Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Jacqueline Sandoval
communications and outreach liaison

Jay Tomkus 
staff attorney and policy advisor                     
            Committee on Federalism, Property Rights and Public Policy
            Committee on Land, Agriculture and Rural Affairs

Paulino Valerio
policy advisor
            Committee on Ways and Means
            Committee on Banking and Insurance

Carmen Velarde
executive staff assistant