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Team Downing

Team Downing is comprised of 4 professional and dedicated staffers who work hard each day to further Senator Ben Downing's policy agenda and be responsive to the needs and concerns of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District.  

Contact the Policy staff at the State House by calling (617) 722-1625; contact the District staff in the downtown Pittsfield office at (413) 442-4008.

Christopher Gilrein, Chief of Staff

Chris has worked for Senator Downing since June of 2009, first as a Legislative Aide, then as Legislative & Budget Director before taking over as Chief of Staff in late December 2015. A “Double Beacon”, Chris is a graduate of UMass Boston with a BA in Political Science and MPA from the John W. McCormack Graduate School for Public Policy. He previously held positions with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre), and Governor Deval Patrick’s Office of Boards and Commissions.

As Chief of Staff Chris serves as the Senator’s principal advisor, manages the staff and oversees all aspects of Senate operations in both the State House and Pittsfield offices. He serves as a liaison for Senator Downing with state and local officials. Contact Chris for assistance with media inquiries, scheduling requests, local issues, or for assistance with all other general office inquiries.

Christopher Dunne, Legislative & Budget Director

Chris joined Team Downing in the Spring of 2014 to serve as the Senator’s Legislative Aide and point person for healthcare policy and casework.  He now serves as Legislative & Budget Director, managing Senator Downing’s budget and policy agenda, as well as drafting, researching and advancing the Senator’s bills and budget priorities.  A graduate of Bennington College with a concentration in political science, Chris also studied abroad, taking classes at the London School of Economics and interning with a member of the UK Parliament.  After earning his Bachelor’s degree, Chris worked for former Senator Gale Candaras (D- Wilbraham), handling constituent casework in her district office.  Contact Chris Dunne for assistance with the legislative and budget process, for information on Senator Downing’s policy agenda and for assistance with home rule petitions.

Christina Fisher, Committee Counsel

Christina joined Team Downing as Committee Counsel for the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy (TUE) in December 2012.  A Holden native, Christina 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, Christina was Senior Research Analyst for the Joint Committee on Revenue under State Representative Jay Kaufman (D- Lexington). As Committee Counsel, Christina serves as the point person on all TUE Committee matters including reviewing and drafting legislation, staffing public hearings, coordinating with various stakeholders and advising the Senator and other Senate members on related policy matters.  Contact Christina for assistance with policy and constituent matters related to the TUE Committee.

Vasundhra Sangar, Constituent Services Director

Vasundhra joined Senator Downing’s staff in March 2014 as District Aide/Casework Manager. Promoted to Constituent Services Director in December 2015, Vasundhra, of Windsor, manages the Senator’s district office in downtown Pittsfield, assisting constituents as they navigate the bureaucracy associated with state government programs and services. She sits on the Board of Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC) as Senator Downing’s designee and serves as a liaison between the Senator’s office and other local programs and organizations. Vasundhra is a graduate of Boston University (B.A. in Classical Studies). Prior to joining Team Downing full time, she served as a student intern in Senator Downing’s district office, and also completed internships with the political campaigns of U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey. Contact Vasundhra for assistance with constituent matters pertaining to state agencies and programs, including requests for letters of support for local grant applications, as well as for information on the Senator’s Coffee & Conversation and Local Artist Exhibition Programs.

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