2018 FoCE Spring Forum Speakers


Kiyana Asemanfar, Policy Outreach Coordinator, California Common Cause
Kiyana Asemanfar is the Policy Outreach Coordinator for California Common Cause, based in the Los Angeles office. Kiyana’s work focuses on implementation and outreach on issues including elections, redistricting, and money in politics. She also develops strategy, events, and materials for public education efforts on these issues. Before joining Common Cause, Kiyana worked on field and political issues for elections and campaigns in several states, including Iowa, Nevada, and California. Kiyana is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Business Administration.

Kimi Lee, Director, Bay Rising
With over 25 years of organizing and alliance building experience, Kimi Lee is the Director of Bay Rising. Kimi was the National Coordinator of the United Workers Congress, a strategic alliance to build power for excluded workers and their national independent worker alliances. She was a Senior Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center, with a focus on building national strategic alliances and creating intersections for different social movements. She was the co-founder and Executive Director of the Garment Worker Center in Los Angeles.

Eric McGhee, Research Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)
Eric McGhee is a research fellow at PPIC, where he focuses on elections, legislative behavior, political reform, and surveys and polling. His research on elections and electoral reform has appeared in numerous academic journals, and his work has been profiled on National Public Radio, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Economist. He is the creator of the “efficiency gap”—a widely used measure of gerrymandering—and coauthor of a legal test based on the measure that has been presented before the US Supreme Court in recent high-profile litigation. He is an occasional contributor to the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog on politics. Before joining PPIC, he was assistant professor of political science at the University of Oregon and served as a congressional fellow through the American Political Science Association. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Emily Rusch, Executive Director, CALPIRG
State Director Emily Rusch has worked with U.S.PIRG, the federation of state PIRGs, since 2001. In 2008 she ran CALPIRG’s successful statewide field campaign to pass Prop 1A and invest in the nation’s first true high-speed rail line. She’s represented CALPIRG on numerous issues in the legislature and co-authored research reports on transportation, energy, and tax and budget policies. Prior to joining CALPIRG’s staff, Emily worked for four years as New Jersey PIRG’s Energy Advocate, where she ran successful campaigns to require New Jersey’s power companies to increase clean, renewable energy like wind and solar power, and to pass legislation to set minimum energy efficiency standards for common products like air conditioners and traffic lights. She graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, in 2001. She’s based in the CALPIRG Oakland office.

Luis Sanchez, Co-Executive Director, Mobilize the Immigrant Vote
Over the last 25 years, Luis has dedicated himself to building a movement for educational, social and economic justice in California. Prior to joining Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, Luis was a Senior Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center. In that capacity, he led the Boys and Men of Color work and the Building Healthy Communities Statewide Youth Engagement Initiative with the California Endowment. Through his consulting practice, EC Strategy, Luis has served as a strategic planning, organizational development, and media and political consultant for foundations, political candidates, campaigns, non-profit organizations, elected officials and labor unions. He was also the founding Executive Director of InnerCity Struggle, an organization that works to improve education and the quality of life in East Los Angeles. Luis is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in English and holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Cal State Northridge.

Moderator: Astrid Ochoa, Executive Director, Future of California Elections
Astrid Ochoa is the Executive Director of Future of California Elections. Ms. Ochoa has over a decade of experience in policy analysis, government and public relations and developing strategic partnerships. She was the first full-time hire of Future of California Elections and helped build the organization from the ground-up. Ms. Ochoa holds master’s degrees in public affairs and urban and regional planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Pomona College. Ms. Ochoa serves as Co-Chair to the California Secretary of State Language Accessibility Advisory Committee and is a former member of the Governing Board of the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni.