Carol Hedges, Executive Director
Carol Hedges is the Executive Director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute. Carol has been an important part of the research, policy and advocacy community in Colorado for more than 15 years. She served as policy director for Governor Roy Romer in the late 1990s focusing on human service, education and budget policy. As program officer at the Piton Foundation in Denver, Carol directed the Denver Workforce Initiative, a project of the Annie E. Casey Jobs Initiative. While serving as a senior policy analyst with the Bell Policy Center, Carol authored Ten Years of TABOR, a comprehensive study of the effects of Colorado’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Most recently as the Director of the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, a project of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Carol’s work focused on creating an adequate, sustainable and equitable revenue system in Colorado. As a recognized expert on the effects of Colorado’s TABOR amendment, Carol has been involved in education efforts on TABOR-like proposals across the country. Prior to moving to Colorado, Carol served as staff for the Human Service committee and the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee for the National Governors’ Association. She started her policy career as policy advisor to Gov. John Carlin of Kansas. Carol graduated from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan., and earned a law degree from the University of Kansas. Carol serves on the Board of Directors of Progress Now Colorado Education and FRESC: Good Job, Strong Communities. She is a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee of the Colorado Nonprofit Association and was a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Colorado Civic Engagement Roundtable. Carol served as a technical advisor to Gov. Bill Ritter’s Blue Ribbon Transportation Panel and is a member of the Steering Committee for Gov. John Hickenlooper’s statewide civic engagement project—TBD. Carol also partners with the Colorado business community as a convener of the Colorado Reform Roundtable
Hometown: Topeka, Kan.
College: Emporia State University
Economist, data nerd or politico Carol would most like to have a beer with, dead or alive?: Paul Krugman, Nobel winner who has a worldwide platform for his insight.
Carol’s best kept Colorado secret: The weather – it is fabulous, but we can’t tell anyone.
Theme song: The Secret of Life by James Taylor
Kathy White, Deputy Director
A veteran advocate for working families, Kathy also brings operations, fundraising and administrative nonprofit experience to CFI.
Hometown: Lakewood, Colo.
College: University of Colorado Denver
Economist, data nerd or politico Kathy would most like to have a beer with, dead or alive: Max Weber, because that guy asked some really good questions about social systems and constructs.
Favorite source of tax and budget information: Nobody beats the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for tax and budget information, but I admit, I’m as likely to be caught checking the WAPO Wonkblog or @ezraklein on twitter.
Favorite thing about Colorado: An adventure could happen every day if you wanted.
Ali Mickelson, Esq., Director of Tax and Legislative Policy
Ali Mickelson is the Director of Legislative and Tax Policy at the Colorado Fiscal Institute. Ali’ s passion for advocacy began when she was involved in the low-income taxpayer clinic during law school at the University of Denver. While working at the tax clinic, she coordinated and participated in low-income volunteer tax sites. This is where Ali first began to see the benefits of targeted, equitable tax policy on Colorado families. After she graduated from DU with her J.D. and a LL.M. in Taxation, she worked in tax consulting for a short time before moving into policy at the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, a project of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. Since starting at COFPI in 2009, Ali has become a tax and budget resource for both elected officials and the community. Ali has also been involved in the passage of tax policies that support Colorado families, including a tax amnesty bill that put $14 million into the state education fund and a bill creating a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. She has authored a number of reports about state and federal tax policy and in 2012 she was selected by Governor Hickenlooper’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade as the budget expert on the Enterprise Zone Task Force. She has also appeared in local media including the Denver Post, the Denver Business Journal and Colorado Public Radio, and her work has also been featured in news articles and other publications across the country.
Hometown: Eugene, Ore./Littleton, Colo.
College: Colorado State University and University of Denver – but also Go Oregon Ducks!
Favorite source of tax and budget information: www.irs.gov/taxstats Check it out!
Number of Colorado towns with “Springs” in the name that Ali has been to: 7 – Poncha Springs, Pagosa Springs, Idaho Springs, Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs
If Ali were trapped in a TV show for a month, which would it be?: The Amazing Race
Chris Stiffler, Economist
Chris Stiffler is an economist at the Colorado Fiscal Institute. Chris has been working in the public policy and economic research business since May 2012. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond in 2009, after which he spent a year teaching high school Latin before moving to Colorado. He received his masters in economics from the University of Denver. His particular area of interest involves the combined field of psychology and economics, with a particular curiosity in how people’s mental quirks influence public policy and the public policy debate. Chris got his start explaining economics in 2009 writing an explanatory economics column for his small home town newspaper in western Pennsylvania. The column was geared at explaining complicated economic concepts in simple metaphorical terms that everyone could understand and showing how those economic concepts relate to policy discussions. Chris has spent the past four years researching a number of topics including: affordability of public transit around Denver, better ways to measure economic growth in Colorado, Colorado school finance, the Colorado state budget, TABOR, wage theft, immigration, paid family leave, minimum wage, and income inequality. He has appeared on National Public Radio, Colorado Public Radio’s “Colorado Matters” and KGNU’s “It’s the Economy.” He has had his research cited in various publications like the Denver Post, The Colorado Independent, Denver Business Journal, and the Associated Press. Chris is also a part-time adjunct professor teaching economics at the University of Denver.
Hometown: Bedford, Pa.
College: University of Richmond and University of Denver
Favorite sports team: Pittsburgh Pirates
If Chris were trapped in a TV show for a month, which would it be?: 30 Rock
Favorite Colorado activity: Hiking and climbing Colorado’s 14ers
Tim Hoover, Director of Communications
A longtime journalist who served as a member of the editorial board of The Denver Post, Tim has also worked as a state politics and government reporter for The Denver Post and The Kansas City Star. In addition to working in Colorado and Missouri, his 20-year newspaper career included reporting stints in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Much of his work for The Denver Post focused on the state budget, state fiscal policy and TABOR.
Hometown: Oklahoma City, Okla.
College: University of Oklahoma
Journalist or policy wonk Tim would love to have a beer with: Nate Silver, whom Tim interviewed once. Silver’s political insights are unmatched and are built on a foundation of data, not Sunday punditry.
Favorite thing about Colorado: Seriously, just one thing? It’s not humid here. You get to look at majestic mountains – all day long. People here embrace change and don’t shun outsiders (probably because so many of us are outsiders.) It’s sunny almost year round (shhh, don’t tell anyone else.) There are so many craft beers, you can become dizzy trying to choose one at a restaurant. Did we mention it’s not humid?
Caitlin Schneider, Public Engagement Coordinator
Before joining the Colorado Fiscal Institute in December 2012, Caitlin worked for Colorado Common Cause as the Just Vote Organizer. She has worked in coalition with dozens of state civic engagement organizations to recruit, train and coordinate hundreds of volunteers for the Just Vote! Colorado Election Protection program. Caitlin works to engage Coloradans around both federal and state fiscal policies.
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis.
College: University of Minnesota – Go Gophs!
Favorite sports team: The Green Bay Packers, hands down dreamiest team around
If you had super power, what would it be?: Teleportation
If you were trapped in a TV show for a month, which would it be?: “Laverne and Shirley.” What could be better than hanging out with your best friend all day? “Give us any chance, we’ll take it, give us any rule we’ll break it. We’re going to make our dreams come true, doing it our way!”
Thamanna Vasan, Economic Policy Analyst
Thamanna is an economic policy analyst at the Colorado Fiscal Institute. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science from Colorado College and studied developmental economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Thamanna is one of the data nerds at CFI and much of her work focuses on transit, immigration, transportation, medicaid and race. She is particularly interested in how different approaches to classical economic concepts that take into consideration psychology and environments (built or otherwise) can improve outcomes for communities.
Thamanna first joined CFI as a policy analyst and Public Interest Fellow in 2014. Prior to joining CFI, Thamanna served stints at the I-News Network at Rocky Mountain PBS, Community Resource Center, and Transplant Living Centers. She also works with local youth and Boys Hope Girls Hope Colorado. She is an avid traveler, photographer, reader and food eater.
Hometown: Aurora, Colo. (but a proud Indian!)
College: Colorado College
If you were trapped in a TV show for a month, which would it be? “Parks and Recreation” (or any quirky office comedy where the people are passionate about change and are good at what they do!)
Favorite sports team: Liverpool FC, you’ll never walk alone!
Your best kept Colorado secret: The food and drink… fresh and adventurous, like all true Coloradans.
Samantha Curran, Communications Associate
Samantha is the 2016-17 Public Interest Fellow at the Colorado Fiscal Institute. As a member of the CFI team, she assists primarily with communications and research.
Samantha graduated from Colorado College in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. During her time at CC, she enjoyed volunteering with Relay for Life and having an active role on the Student Athlete Community Service Team. Samantha was also a member of the Colorado College Women’s soccer team and on Team USA in the World University Games in South Korea last summer.
Hometown: Austin, Texas.
College: Colorado College.
If you were trapped in a TV show for a month, which would it be? “Friends”
Favorite thing about Colorado: The weather – it’s never too hot to be outside!