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Downing introduces new members of his policy/community relations staff
March 22, 2013

PITTSFIELD – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) is pleased to announce the following staff changes within his office and reintroduce the six members of his team to all residents of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden district. 
Downing’s policy staff works out of his Beacon Hill office in the Massachusetts State House:
Bethann S. Steiner has served as Downing’s Chief of Staff since his first term in 2007. Ms. Steiner, a Dalton native, has 13 years of state government experience. Prior to joining Downing’s staff she served as the Legislative Director and then the Director of the Public Affairs Department for the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. She began her state service as Research Analyst for former State Representative Daniel E. Bosley (D- North Adams). Ms. Steiner holds a MSW - Policy & Planning from the University Of Connecticut School Of Social Work and a BSW from Marist College. She attended St. Joseph Central High School. 
Christopher Gilrein, the Senator’s Legislative & Budget Director, is from Charlton and holds a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from UMass Boston. He will complete his Masters of Public Affairs from the same university in May of this year. Prior to joining Downing’s staff in 2009, Mr. Gilrein served as a student intern in the offices of State Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D- Barre) and Governor Deval Patrick and worked in Visitor Services at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.   
Christina Fisher joined Senator Downing’s staff as Committee Counsel for the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy in December 2012.  Ms. Fisher grew up in Holden and holds degrees from American University (BA in Political Science) and Suffolk University Law School (JD). She is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts.  Prior to working for Senator Downing, Ms. Fisher was Senior Research Analyst for the Joint Committee on Revenue under State Representative Jay Kaufman (D- Lexington).
Todd Foy was hired to serve as Downing’s Legislative Aide in January. Mr. Foy, from Hadley, graduated from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and public policy.  While at MCLA he interned for former U.S. Senator John F. Kerry in his D.C. office, working on social welfare and health care policy; held a senior leadership position in the MCLA Student Government Association and was active in public higher education advocacy across Massachusetts.
Downing’s district staff works out of his local office in downtown Pittsfield:
Christine Monska was recently promoted to the position of Senior District Aide/Director of Casework. Ms. Monska, who is originally from Easthampton and now lives in Stockbridge, manages the Senator’s local office and serves as his casework manager, assisting constituents as they navigate the bureaucracy associated with state government programs and services. Ms. Monska is a graduate of Smith College (B.A. in Government and International Relations). Before joining the office in 2011 she served as a student intern for the Department of Justice, Office of Legislative Affairs and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Elizabeth Connor, the newest member of the Senator’s team, began her position this week as Downing’s District Aide/Scheduler after serving six months as the district office intern. Ms. Connor is responsible for managing Downing’s public calendar and schedule, assisting with local events and other district office matters. Born and raised in Dalton, she graduated from Wahconah Regional High School and is currently attending Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She is expected to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Policy in May 2014.  
All constituents are welcome and encouraged to contact Downing’s policy staff for assistance with matters related to healthcare casework or policy; pending budget and legislative proposals; issues before the Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy Committee; or media inquiries. All non-healthcare constituent casework inquiries and scheduling requests should be referred to the district office. 
Both the State House and District offices are open Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Walk-ins are always welcome.
Boston Office:                                                              District Office:
State House, Room 413-F                                                7 North Street, Suite 307
Boston, MA 02133                                                           Pittsfield, MA 01201
P: (617) 722-1625                                                           P: (413) 442-4008
F: (617) 722-1523                                                           F: (413) 442-4077, Downing’s online office, is frequently updated and serves as a portal to the Senator’s various social media pages.


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