Staff

Precious Butiu, outreach and operations coordinator   

Precious

Precious coordinates outreach strategies and keeps the office running smoothly. Her experience includes community organizing and event coordination at GABRIELA Seattle, theater production at API Chaya, and fundraising at Social Justice Fund NW.

Precious has worked in restaurant and theater management. She has a bachelor's degree from Seattle University. 

Contact: preciousb(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Matt Mirarchi, development manager 

Matt Mirarchi headshotMatt helps grow the Center’s base of support through strategic fundraising campaigns and community partnerships. A transplant from the “other coast,” Matt enjoys engaging with donors and community partners, and aligning their interests with the Budget & Policy Center’s programs and initiatives. He values how fundraising helps build diverse communities of support. 

Previously, Matt wore a few different development hats, including at the LGBT Center of Raleigh, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA), and Northwest Center. He holds a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Andrew Nicholas, associate director of fiscal policy

Andy

Andy specializes in state budget and tax policy. Since joining the Budget & Policy Center in 2009 he has served on a Legislative Task Force on Tax Preference Reform and has conducted numerous analyses of Washington’s tax structure.

Andy worked at the DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), where he performed extensive research on state fiscal policy. Additionally, Andy taught English in China. He holds a Master of Public Policy from American University’s School of Public Affairs.

Contact: andyn(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Kelli Smith, policy analyst

Kelli professional headshotKelli is an analyst on the research and policy team, and she focuses on state budget and revenue policy. Prior to joining the Budget & Policy Center, she was a senior policy associate at the Economic Opportunity Institute. Her research focused on higher education policy and the impact of race and ethnicity on economic outcomes. 

Her experience also includes providing legal representation to low-income clients in a range of areas. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Davis.

Contact: kellis(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Jennifer Tran, senior policy analyst

Jennifer Tran headshotAs part of the research and policy team, Jennifer focuses on social policy. Prior to joining the Budget & Policy Center, Jennifer was a senior analyst in the San Francisco Mayor’s Office's Our Children, Our Families Council. She was formerly a senior associate at PolicyLink and a data analyst at the University of Southern California Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. 

Her past research has focused on economic growth and resiliency, regional equity, immigrant integration, environmental justice, and issues related to children, youth, and families. Jennifer holds a master’s degree in urban planning from UCLA.

Contact: jennifert(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

KerriLyn Vander Heyden, bookkeeper

KerriLyn VH headshotKerriLyn oversees the bookkeeping and plays a key role in drafting and administering the budget of the Center. She is a senior accounting professional with a background in full charge of bookkeeping and financial management.

Her nonprofit experience stems from years of board work on behalf of her local public school and as the deputy director of Operation Nightwatch, an organization serving homeless men, women and children. She holds a BA in political science and communication from the University of Arizona.

Contact: kerrilynv(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Sumayyah Waheed, director, All In for Washington 

Sumayyah Waheed headshotSumayyah leads a multi-year campaign convened by the Budget & Policy Center, Progress Alliance, FUSE Washington, Sound and Spokane Alliance, and OneAmerica that seeks to change the cultural "common sense" about public investments and the role of government.

Sumayyah has held a range of campaign manager and policy director roles, and has worked in organizations including the Seattle Office for Civil Rights and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact: sumayyahw(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Julie Watts, deputy director

Julie Watts headshotJulie helps to implement the organization’s strategic vision and oversees a range of research, policy, and external relations initiatives. Julie was previously a lecturer at the University of Washington School of Social Work, teaching courses in poverty and inequality, public policy, and community and organizational change.

Her experience also includes serving as lead public policy staff for the Statewide Poverty Action Network and the Washington Association of Churches (now the Faith Action Network), leading statewide campaigns to address poverty and inequality and advocate for creating a progressive tax structure in Washington state. Julie holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington. 

Contact: juliew(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Misha Werschkul, executive director

Misha Werschkul headshotAs the leader of the Budget & Policy Center, Misha guides the organization’s strategic vision and ensures its position as a leading voice shaping the debate around budget priorities.

She previously worked in a range of roles with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Washington, DC, and SEIU 775 in Seattle – most recently serving as 775’s legislative and policy director.

Misha has a master's degree in public policy and women's studies from George Washington University and held two research fellowships with the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington D.C. In recent years, she has crafted positions and built coalitions in support of progressive statewide campaigns, including making improvements in the health and long-term care system, raising the minimum wage, and advancing revenue solutions.

Contact: mishaw(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

Melinda Young-Flynn, director of communications 

Melinda headshot formatted

Melinda helps build the reputation of the center as a respected source of information and analysis on state budget and fiscal issues.

Previously, Melinda led the communications program at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy. In that role, she helped publicize a wide range of public health and patient advocacy initiatives championed by the school’s faculty and students.

Her background also includes working at area nonprofits like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.

Contact: melinday(at)budgetandpolicy(dot)org

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HIGHLIGHTS

Our Policy Priorities

Washington state should be a place where all our residents have strong communities, great schools, and the chance for a bright future. Our 2017-2019 Legislative Agenda outlines the priorities we are working to advance to build a better Washington.

Budget Beat!

Check out the Budget Beat webinars we hosted throughout the 2017 legislative session, including our most recent Budget Beat about federal budget proposals, featuring Louisa Warren of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, on our YouTube channel

Testimonies in Olympia

To advance our legislative priorities, the Budget & Policy Center team was in the state capitol throughout session testifying on a wide range of bills. Watch our testimonies on TVW:
Misha TVW