U.S. Delegates to LFP Conference (MENA)

Delegation for the Legislative Fellows Program (LFP) Capstone Conference. April 10 -18, 2014. LFP links community leaders in a two-way exchange that strengthens mutual understanding of the legislative and policymaking processes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and U.S.

Peter Torkildsen1. The Honorable Peter G. Torkildsen (Former Member of Congress and Business Development and Government Relations Consultant)

Peter G. Torkildsen is a government relations consultant.  His career experience includes elective office, appointed office, and the private sector. Torkildsen has also served as Director of Business Development for an ophthalmology research and development firm, and Chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party.

Torkildsen was elected to two terms in the United States Congress, representing the Sixth District, and three terms as a state representative for the 13th Essex District. In the U.S. Congress, Torkildsen served on the House Armed Services Committee, the Natural Resources Committee, and chaired the Small Business sub-committee overseeing the Small Business Administration.  In Massachusetts, Torkildsen was also appointed to senior level positions in the administrations of Governors Weld, Cellucci, Swift, and Romney.

Torkildsen has traveled with the Congress to Campus program in Turkey in 2012.  He was part of an official delegation of the Republican National Committee attending the inauguration of President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan in 2008.  Torkildsen was an election observer in Ukraine in 2004, primarily in the Kherson Oblast.  While a Member of Congress, Torkildsen was part of the Congressional Delegation traveling with President Clinton on his trip to Ireland in 1995, and traveled to Israel with a large group of newly elected lawmakers.

Yvonne B Burke2. Hon. Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (Former Member of Congress and Current Director of the Amtrak Board)

Nominated by President Barack Obama as a Director of the Amtrak Board in March 2012. Confirmed by the U.S. Senate in January 2013. Yvonne Brathwaite Burke is from Los Angeles, CA. She is currently a member of the California Transportation Commission. She served as a Los Angeles County Supervisor representing the 2nd District (1992 – 2008) and served as the Chair three times (1993 – 94, 1997 – 98, 2002 – 03).

On December 1, 2008, she retired form the Board of Supervisors. She also served for 16 years on the Los Angeles Metro Board of Directors, serving as Chair for one term. In 1973, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and was the first African-American woman to represent the West Coast in Congress.

During her Congressional tenure, she served on the House Select Committee on Assassinations and the House Committee on Appropriations; during her tenure on the Appropriations Committee, she introduced as amendment to the Alaskan Pipeline legislation to establish a new precedent that provided for a set aside for minority and women business to participate in federal contracts.

In 1973, with the birth of her daughter Autumn, Burke became the first Congresswoman to give birth while in office and the first to be granted maternity leave by the Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives. She did not seek re-election to Congress in 1978 but instead ran for Attorney General of California. She won the Democratic nomination over Los Angeles City Attorney Burt Pines but was defeated in the general election by Republican State Senator George Deukmejian. 

Meredith McGehee3. Meredith McGehee (Policy Director, Campaign Legal Center & Principal, McGehee Strategies)

Meredith McGehee is an experienced public interest advocate with a wide range of proven skills, including communications, nonprofit management, fundraising, and board relations.  McGehee specializes in public speaking, writing, and strategic-thinking.  She has been at the center of impressive legislative victories, often against great odds, and is known for her unique ability to work with both sides of the aisle.  She has been described as one of the most “in-the-know” people about lobbying and the D.C. scene.

McGehee, founder of McGehee Strategies, has been named six times by The Hill newspaper as one of the top nonprofit/grassroots lobbyists in Washington. She speaks at universities and organizations around the country, has testified before Congress, appears on local and national television and is frequently quoted in national newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Village Voice, Salon, Broadcasting & Cable, The Washington Times and the Des Moines Register. She also has appeared on national news shows, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Bloomberg TV, C-Span and MSNBC.

Prior to joining the Campaign Legal Center, McGehee served as President of the Alliance for Better Campaigns and Senior Vice President and Chief Lobbyist for Common Cause.  She was Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Lane Evans of Illinois and a legislative aide to U.S. Representative Dante Fascell of Florida.

Richard Markowitz4. Richard Markowitz (Senior Legislative Director to Congressman Thomas Petri (R-Wi))

Richard Markowitz has served on the Washington staff of U.S. Rep. Thomas E. Petri (R-WI) since 1980.  Congressman Petri is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and a senior member of the Committee on Education and Labor.

In his career, Richard has been involved in nearly all aspects of congressional office operation, including a wide range of legislative and policy areas.  During the early 1990s, he assisted in the development of market-oriented deposit insurance reform legislation designed to keep bank losses in the private sector.  He was responsible for telecommunications issues during consideration of the landmark 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act and has continued his involvement in this field as the global economy has transitioned from analog to digital technologies.

Currently, Richard serves as the senior legislative aide for Rep. Petri.  He is responsible for covering a variety of economic, financial, and business related issues affecting both individuals and institutions.  These include tax policy, international trade, financial services, retirement and savings policy, telecommunications, and federal government budgeting.  The expansion of global commerce in the past decade has drawn Richard into a variety of issues relating to the opportunities and difficulties resulting from increased trade.  Richard works with Rep. Petri on other domestic policy issues, including Social Security, campaign finance, welfare policy, and election reform.  .

Regina Davis Moss5. Regina Davis Moss (PhD, MPH, MCHES)

Regina Davis Moss is the associate executive director of public health policy and practice for the American Public Association where she oversees a broad portfolio of programs and activities ranging from continuing education to global health. She has nearly 20 years experience managing national health promotion and disease prevention initiatives addressing areas such as reproductive health, obesity prevention, healthy aging, health policy, and sustained capacity in public health.

Formerly, Davis Moss held a senior management position for a healthy eating and active living education effort for the federal government. Prior to that, she worked for the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) where she helped launched the Kaiser Health News online, information service and served as the senior producer.  Davis Moss came to KFF after serving as a supervisor for one of the first U.S. research studies to investigate the prevalence of uterine fibroid tumors.  She also served as a public health service fellow in the Office on Women’s Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Davis Moss is a master certified health education specialist; a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Public Health Society; and has authored several journal articles and reports focusing on gestational weight gain, health communications, and family health policy. She is a member of the Executive Board of the National Healthy Start Association and is an appointed member of the District of Columbia Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Nutrition.

Chithra Jeyram6. Chithra Jeyram (Filmmaker and instructor, The George Washington University)

Chithra Jeyaram is a self-directed, enthusiastic and creative professional with a demonstrated ability to produce compelling video stories that actively engage stakeholders in order to drive social change. She is an award winning documentary filmmaker and educator based in Washington D.C.

She is the technical instructor at the Institute for Documentary Filmmaking at George Washington University and is a master instructor at Arlington Independent Media where she teaches Documentary Production and Video Editing Courses. Her short film – Mijo was aired on KLRU TV, PBS online film festival and in more than 50 film festivals around the world. She is currently finishing her debut feature documentary and is in pre-production for an interactive documentary project titled – 1001 Breast Cancer Nights.

She is the recipient of the 2014 Creative Arts Fellowship and BAVC National Mediamaker Fellowship for 1001 Breast Cancer Nights; 2013 Docs in Progress Fellowship for Foreign Puzzle; 2012 Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Your Worldview Documentary grant for Mijo and Dina Sherzer Award for Social Awareness for her documentary Refugee Musings.

Her first exposure to filmmaking began in 2004 with a failed attempt to fund a film about an explosive water-sharing dispute between two southern states in India. Deeply affected by that experience, she quit a decade-long career as Physical Therapist and enrolled in film school.  In 2012, she received an MFA in Film Production from the University of Texas at Austin. Her formative years in India, Kuwait and USA gives her multicultural sensibilities that helps to navigate different worlds with ease and bring divergent viewpoints to any discussion naturally. Through her socially conscious films she hopes to break societal barriers, build bridges, change attitudes and enable people.

Ira Kaufman7. Dr. Ira Kaufman PhD (Professor or Media Marketing at Lynchburg College and Small Business Owner)

Ira Kaufman’s 35 years of marketing experience spans three worlds—business, nonprofit and education. Through his business, Entwine Digital, he crafts social branding and integrated digital marketing strategies for SMEs. As advisor to non-profit Legacy International, he helps to develop cultural sensitivity, integrating values and sustainability into strategy.

Kaufman views consulting and training as an interactive, two-way conversation. He says, “It requires listening to the needs and interests of the participants and sharing my experience with small and midsize businesses and nonprofits (US and international). We learn from each other. I strive for excellence in each venue weaving my passion and knowledge with the ability to speak to clients/participants in their language and integrating hands-on cases that will prepare them for their future endeavors.”

Dr. Kaufman is co-author of Digital Marketing: Integrating Strategy, Tactics with Values (Routledge, July 2014). He writes, I designed and wrote a guidebook that draws on the latest digital tactics and strategic insights to help organizations generate sustainable growth through digital integration. It provides a roadmap to adopt a digital mindset, incorporate digital trends strategically, and integrate the most effective digital tactics and tools with core values to achieve competitive advantage. It is digital in content, delivery and interactivity.”

Kaufman has a PhD in Marketing from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, where he advanced initiatives in social marketing with Professor Philip Kotler. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at Lynchburg College School of Business and Economics innovating courses on Digital Marketing.

Emily Schlichting8. Emily Schlichting (Staff Assistant for U.S. Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee)

Emily is a Staff Assistant for the U.S. Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee where she provides logistical support to senior policy staff and fellows, drafts speeches and legislative memos on diverse health policy issues, and manages the intern program. During her time with the Committee, she has worked on issues ranging from public health, support services for the elderly, the Affordable Care Act, various issues relating to food and drug regulation, and mental and rural health. Prior to joining the HELP Committee under Chairman Tom Harkin in 2013, she was a Truman-Albright Fellow in the Office of Rural Health Policy in the Department of Health and Human Services, where she staffed the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services and was lead author on policy briefs that the committee sent to the Secretary of HHS. In addition, she was responsible for reviewing all waivers for states seeking to alter their Medicaid and/or CHIP programs. Emily also authored a health information technology (HIT) workforce development grant to develop HIT training programs in rural areas.

Emily is a 2011 Truman Scholar and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a double major in Political Science and Communication Studies and a minor in Latin. As a ten-year veteran of speech and debate, competing for two years at the collegiate level, Emily has strong written and verbal communication skills. In addition, Emily previously interned at the Center for American Progress, and in the Nebraska state legislature for Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, where she worked on a variety of healthcare issues and drafted speeches and talking points for the Senator.

Emily served on the Board of Directors for several organizations over the past few years. She served for three years on the Board of Bold Nebraska, a non-profit that aims to restore the political balance in Nebraska. Emily served for one year on the Board of the National Campus Leadership Council (NCLC), which she also co-founded. Emily worked to plan NCLC’s inaugural Leadership Summit with the White House, which bought student leaders to Washington, DC to discuss challenges facing young people with policymakers. Finally, Emily currently serves on the Board of Dream Outside the Box, a nonprofit that aims to cultivate and mobilize collegiate leaders to engage and propel K-5 youth toward higher education.

Beyond her professional history, Emily has been personally involved the promotion of the Affordable Care Act by sharing her story as a young autoimmune patient. This advocacy has involved speaking at press events with Congressional leadership, working the White House and Obama for America, and testifying before the Senate HELP Committee about the law’s effect on her life.