Since joining the firm in 2016, Laura has shepherded legislation into law, spearheaded many successful applications for federal funding, and consistently ensured that clients’ voices are heard at every level of government.
Areas of policy expertise:
- Budget and Appropriations
- Public Safety
- Emergency Management
- K-12 Education
- Higher Education
- Natural Resources
- Veterans and Military Families
- Housing and Homeless
- Economic Development
- Legislative Analyst, Health Agency, Department of Defense
- Program Analyst, Office of Warrior Care Policy, Department of Defense
- Legislative Aide, Senator Dianne Feinstein
- Staff Assistant, Senator Dianne Feinstein
- Laura parlayed her knowledge of the justice system and relevant legal challenges, her mastery of the federal appropriations process, and her close relationships with the Department of Justice COPS Office developed over years of close work together into a perfect record of five successful COPS Hiring grant applications in the last round, totaling over $6.6 million for California cities.
- Laura’s keen knowledge of California public agencies has demonstrably improved local governments’ budgets. For example, Laura identified language in a federal coronavirus aid package that specifically hurt California cities – because California cities tend to structure pensions differently than cities in other states, California cities were inadvertently left out of reimbursement for unrelated coronavirus-related expenses, potentially causing deficits in the millions of dollars in local budgets. Laura informed national organizations of the issue, but because the loophole only impacted California, they were unwilling to get involved. Because of her quick response, her collaborative relationships with committee staff, and her knowledge of the process, Laura was able to work with policymakers to close the California city loophole and protect local budgets in times of crisis.
- Laura is an expert in the federal budget process, and her dedication to demystifying and engaging with the appropriations process in a post-earmarks age has paid dividends for clients. For example, Laura used her knowledge of federal department culture and bureaucracy, combined with her close relationships with appropriators, to insert language that prioritized clients’ projects for federal funding, without running afoul of the current earmark ban.
- Laura has consistently influenced policy by proactively identifying important policy developments. For example, using her familiarity with State legislative proposals, Laura identified dangerous draft federal legislation modeled on a failed State bill that would have stripped municipal decision-making authority. She used her connections to obtain an unreleased copy of a draft legislative proposal, and armed with a comprehensive understanding of the issue, began to immediately work with congressional staff to mitigate the worst provisions in the draft text, before other public agencies even knew the threat they faced. Because of her proactivity, TPA clients were the first with the opportunity to weigh in on the federal proposal, and continue to be instrumental as Laura and congressional members drafted and introduced opposing legislation currently pending in the House and Senate.
- Laura has worked with multiple city clients to influence key federal legislation, especially legislation that governs financial distribution formulas that have a direct impact on City budgets. Most recently, Laura worked with elected officials on what formulas would be most fair and advantageous to distribute much-needed coronavirus aid funds, and to remove any roadblocks that prevented speedy and effective use of those funds.
- Laura is cognizant of the difficulties in marrying local issues with federal priorities, and knows exactly which levers to pull when urging federal action. Recently, Laura used momentum on an opioid addiction package to move potentially-controversial legislation urging the Department of Health and Human Services to take on more responsibility in identifying false representations in drug treatment centers. Laura intervened to eliminate more political alternatives that would have sunk the conversation, and worked with key congressional allies to ensure that the provision would be included in the House and Senate versions of the package.
- Laura works consistently to strategize and identify funding streams for major local infrastructure projects. Laura worked with the Department of Transportation to identify an opportunity for up to $100 million in federal funding for a major Northern California regional transit project.
- As a California native, Laura knows how important emergency management is, and how California’s beautiful geography specifically contributes to its natural disaster risk factor. That’s why Laura identified a key piece of standalone legislation that would make up to $1 billion available for local public agencies to harden their infrastructure ahead of future natural disasters and ensure the safety of evacuation routes. Laura swiftly laid out a plan for getting the standalone bill included in an upcoming surface transportation reauthorization, and successfully advocated for its inclusion in the Senate package.
- Laura supported the City of Costa Mesa in developing an application for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program – Coronavirus Supplemental, which was rapidly set up as the coronavirus pandemic was in its early weeks. Laura’s work developing the City’s application resulted in $79,125 to reimburse for coronavirus PPE expenses.
- Laura is keyed in to how Executive Branch actions can impact clients. From 2016-2020, Laura helped clients navigate an ever-changing landscape of Executive Branch actions against “sanctuary cities” that had disparate impacts – impacting some cities who did not even identify as such, and completely avoiding others that did. Laura partnered with key agency contacts and legal experts to advise clients on ways to receive federal funding without triggering their own disqualification, thereby saving city budgets millions of dollars in competitive and formula funds.
Housing and Economic Development:
- Laura leveraged her relationships with newly-appointed political directors to create a key collaboration between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of Oakland. Through this collaborative effort, the City was chosen to receive technical assistance on homelessness policy and prevention at no cost to the City Budget, saving the City critical funds.
Laura graduated from the University of California, Davis where she received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Film Studies in 2011.