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Our Team

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Abimael Chavez-Hernandez, policy fellow

Abimael Chavez-Hernandez is a Policy Fellow with the Minnesota Budget Project. He researches the equity impacts of budget and tax policies to work towards a state where everyone can thrive.

His professional background includes municipal government legislative research support, census outreach, civic engagement reform, corporate racial equity, and public lands management. Additionally, Abimael holds an MPP from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He is excited to be a fellow with the Minnesota Budget Project because as a recipient of governmental aid in his youth he understands well the positive impacts well-designed public spending can have on many vulnerable communities. In his work he seeks to uplift the voices of these communities to co-create budgets and programs which drive equitable and sustainable growth.

When not advocating for equitable budget policies, Abimael likes to: hike; explore new cities and urban landscapes; spend time with family and friends; watch independent films; visit local coffee shops; taste different cuisines; and learn about international democratic processes.


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Clark Goldenrod, deputy director

Clark spends most of her time researching Minnesota's economic trends, working on more inclusive state policies for New Americans, and translating the state budget process. She's been at the Minnesota Budget Project for almost as long as she can remember, but in a former life she worked with the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.

She loves that this job allows her to apply her intense nerdiness and love of spreadsheets to make meaningful policy change. Clark earned a B.S. in public health from Tulane University in New Orleans, and a Master of Public Policy from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

In her spare time, she's either working to make walking and biking easy and fun for everyone, or she's busy making food-shaped ceramic and fiber art. 

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Betsy Hammer, policy advocate

Betsy conducts research and advocacy on public policies that reduce poverty and expand economic opportunity and security, focused primarily on affordable health care and affordable child care. Her professional background includes serving as an executive budget officer with Minnesota Management and Budget, as well as experience working in local government finance and environmental policy.

Betsy is passionate about using research and analysis to make Minnesota a better place for everyone to thrive. She holds a B.A. in political science from the University of the Pacific, and a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

When not wonking out, Betsy spends her time with family and friends enjoying nature, playing on a semi-successful trivia team, and making music in a local community band.

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Nan Madden, director

Nan has been the director of the Minnesota Budget Project since 1999. Her work combines deep and technical expertise of Minnesota tax policy with a drive to ensure everyday Minnesotans have a voice in the policy decisions being made at the Capitol.

The Minnesota Budget Project has contributed to significant policy achievements under her leadership, including the passage in 2013 of nation-leading tax reform that made Minnesota’s tax system more equitable and funded new investments in education, affordable college tuition, and other opportunities for low- and moderate-income Minnesotans to reach economic security. Madden is a recognized expert in tax policy, and has helped secure substantial improvements in Minnesota’s state Earned Income Tax Credit and Renters’ Credit.

Nan has a B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, and an M.A. from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

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Laura Mortenson, communications director

Laura manages media relations and communications that promote the research and advocacy efforts of the team. What Laura loves about her work is the intersection between communications and public policy. She’s energized by making policy solutions make sense to broader audiences, and then engaging Minnesotans in advocating for policies that directly improve their lives.

Her professional background includes serving as communications director for a St. Paul mayor and managing public and media relations for city organizations. Laura received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

When not communicating on policies that build broader prosperity, Laura enjoys the many outdoor activities Minnesota offers, like canoeing, hiking, and camping in our state parks.