Meet the Team

Liz Watson

Executive Director

Liz comes to the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center after having served as the Labor Policy Director and Chief Labor Counsel on the House Education and Labor Committee, the Executive Director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, and the Director of the Workplace Justice Program at the National Women’s Law Center. In 2018, she was the Democratic nominee for Congress in her home district of IN-09 and ran a bold, progressive, grassroots-led campaign.

 

Alan Barber

Policy Director

At the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center, Alan leads the policy team and the Center's Policy and Research Council, a coalition of think tanks, advocates and experts dedicated to strengthening the progressive movement. Prior to joining the CPC Center, he supported communications and policy efforts at the Center for Economic and Policy Research on a wide range of economic issues. He was a proud member and former president of IFPTE Local 70, the “Union for Non Profit Workers”. He earned degrees in Government and Psychology from Georgetown University and lives in Washington, DC with his wife and daughter.

 

Laura Collins

Digital Outreach Associate

Launching politically progressive digital initiatives has developed into a habit for Laura. In late 2016, Laura successfully convened a National Organization for Women chapter in Monroe County, Indiana, using her digital media expertise to quickly grow its membership. In 2017-18, Laura served as the Liz for Indiana congressional campaign’s Digital Content Producer; she built and launched the Liz for Indiana website, social media accounts, and designed all media for each digital marketing campaign. Also in 2017, Laura became the first Digital Communications Specialist for the City of Bloomington, Indiana. Laura has also previously held positions as an editorial assistant and a television production assistant. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Indiana University in Bloomington.

 

John Cook

Finance & Operations Director

John comes to the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center after over a decade as the director of finance and administration for the Economic Policy Institute, where he was responsible for accounting, finance, IT, business operations, compliance and human resources. John was previously the business manager at Community Action Partnership, where he secured the award of and implemented a complete association management system and technology refresh. Prior to that he was CFO of the Wild Bird Centers of America, and spent a number of years in real estate and consulting. He has an M.B.A. in Accounting and Economics from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in History and English from the University of Richmond.

 

Matt Hayward

Legislative Affairs Director

Matt comes to the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center with a wealth of experience in the House and Senate. Most recently, he served as Rep. Jan Schakowsky's Legislative Director and Floor Assistant. Prior to that, he worked as a legislative staffer for Sen. Al Franken and research assistant at the Federal Reserve Board. He got his start on Capitol Hill as an intern for Rep. Keith Ellison while studying at the University of Minnesota. In 2018, he finished traveling to all 50 states.

 

Karam Johal

Development Associate

Karam comes to the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center from Sandino Consulting, a political consulting and fundraising firm where she worked with candidates including the California State Treasurer and Controller, state legislators, and the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. As a proud intersectional feminist, she began her career in activism as a canvasser for Grassroots Campaigns, Inc., where she became the Assistant Canvass Director, leading a team of 20-30 to raise funds for LGBTQ equality and voting rights. She went on to become the top Voter Registration Organizer for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) during the 2016 election cycle and worked as PPAC's Manager of Executive Services and Board Liaison. Karam is a staunch advocate for gender and racial equity, and a musical theatre and Harry Potter enthusiast. She holds a Bachelors’ degree in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.

 

Hebah Kassem

Organizing Associate

Hebah joins the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center with diverse experience in community & grassroots organizing, political strategy and health equity. Prior to joining the CPC Center, she supported the political and legislative efforts at Emgage, a national civic engagement organization dedicated to empowering Muslim Americans. She also held leadership roles on numerous progressive campaigns. Previously, she focused on evaluating health policies and providing services to eliminate disparities aimed to achieve health equity for diverse communities. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan.

 

Jessica Juarez Scruggs

Communications Director

Jessica comes to the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center with more than a decade of experience in political communications, organizing and progressive policy. Most recently, she served as Interim Policy and Legislative Director for People’s Action Institute, a grassroots network active in 30 states that fights for racial, economic and gender justice on issues including healthcare, housing justice, the climate crisis, fighting toxic contamination, mass liberation and consumer protection. She has a Masters in Political Communication from American University and a Bachelor's in public policy and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 
 

Amber Singh

Office Manager & Executive Assistant

Amber Singh joins the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center from SMYAL, an organization dedicated to providing housing and support services to homeless LGBTQ youth. Amber is a recent graduate of George Washington University where she dual majored in Political Science and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Amber was an activist on her college campus on issues ranging from sexual violence prevention to improving wages and working conditions for hourly workers at GW.