The representation gap – even more significant for women of color – poses a huge barrier to ensuring policies that support state-level abortion access WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 28, 2023 – In a newly released report, Democracy & Abortion...
Women’s economic security and health are essential to their full participation as equal members of society.
It is time to eliminate the barriers women continue to face in their pursuit of whole, healthy and economically secure lives.
Women’s contributions — and ability to adequately care for themselves and America’s families — depend on stronger policies that promote family supports, economic equality, freedom from discrimination, and access to affordable, quality, comprehensive health care, including reproductive health care.
Our team of congressional relations specialists combines expertise in these policy areas with their extensive experience working in the executive branch, legislative branch, and issue advocacy community. Our deep expertise with the policy-making process, combined with our position in the women’s economic and health advocacy communities, can help bridge gaps and facilitate communication and coordination to achieve shared policy goals.
- Offer policy expertise and messaging guidance for women and families;
- Bring together diverse coalitions around an issue or legislative proposal;
- Provide strategic direction on advancing legislative priorities;
- Communicate and distill the latest research for easy consumption; and
- Give technical assistance with bill drafting.
MEET THE TEAM
Lelaine Bigelow is the vice president for social impact and congressional relations at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she is responsible for creating and executing strategy to turn our policy work into social change. She shapes the direction of the National Partnership’s congressional relations and corporate outreach programs to translate day to day meetings into effective relationships and long-term policy wins.
Prior to this role, Lelaine was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Relations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama Administration. Her Capitol Hill experience includes working for Rep. Judy Chu and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Corrine Brown, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler. In 2012, she was named a Champion for Children by First Focus and established a National Commission on Children and Disasters in 2008. She also worked for a political communications firm and a federal agency focused on promoting the growth and development of minority businesses.
Lelaine graduated from the University of Florida and the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University. She lives a quaint city life in Capitol Hill with her husband and son. A true Filipina, she loves to cook and eat and proudly passed those same values to her energetic son.
Jaclyn hails from Dallas, Texas, and is the proud daughter of Taiwanese immigrants. She is the Director of Congressional Relations, Reproductive Health, at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she manages the organization’s relationships on the Hill and its key legislative priorities on abortion and contraception. Jaclyn is passionate about working with Congress on reproductive rights through an intersectional and racial justice lens that centers the full lived experiences of people who can become pregnant.
Prior to joining the National Partnership, Jaclyn was the Policy and Government Affairs Director at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, where she worked at the intersection of reproductive health and immigrant rights. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco and worked for Annie’s List, which helps elect pro-choice, Democratic women to statewide office in Texas.
Jaclyn holds a BA in Political Science and Sociology from Rice University and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. Outside of work, she can be found working author events with Loyalty Bookstore in DC, reading, bouldering, doing yoga, crocheting, and caring for her houseplants and fluffy orange cat.
Michelle Feit is Director, Congressional Relations, Economic Justice, at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she manages day-to-day federal policymaker relationships and develops and leverages partner relationships to advance the National Partnership’s legislative agenda. Michelle is primarily focused on educating Congress about the issues within the National Partnership’s workplace and economic security agenda: paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, equal pay, pregnancy discrimination, workplace harassment and fighting harmful proposals that erode workers’ and women’s economic rights.
Prior to joining the National Partnership, Michelle spent almost five years on Capitol Hill serving on the policy teams for Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Jackie Speier. While on Senator Mikulski’s team, she led the effort to bring the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument into the National Park System.
Outside of work, Michelle is an active member of Jews United for Justice, served as a volunteer leader for the DC Paid Family Leave Campaign, and has volunteered on various national and local campaigns. She also founded the Columbia Heights chapter of Swing Left, one of the most active chapters in the country, which helped elect Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-07). Michelle lives in Washington, D.C., and holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Maryland.
Jessi Leigh Swenson is Director, Congressional Relations, Health Justice, at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she manages the National Partnership’s federal government relations and cross-movement strategic partnerships on reproductive health, rights and justice issues. She joined the National Partnership in 2015 as the senior policy counsel for reproductive health and rights. Jessi Leigh has nearly a decade of experience in building effective coalitions to move federal policies forward for women and families. Prior to her work at the National Partnership, she was the Federal Policy Director at the National Abortion Federation, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Rights4Girls, and was an If/When/How and Georgetown Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow. Jessi Leigh hails from Maine and attended Hampshire College and UC Hastings College of the Law. She loves climbing, boxing, reading and spending time with her partner and their beautiful strong daughter.
Jesse Matton is the director of corporate social impact policies on the congressional relations and social impact team. Jesse builds alliances with corporations and other private sector stakeholders to identify common policy priorities and develop partnerships that further joint policy goals and systems change. Jesse also leads the National Partnership’s Business Working Group for Gender Equity and works collaboratively with the Economic Justice and Health Justice teams to make an impact in the private sector.
Jesse comes to the National Partnership with over 10 years of nonprofit experience, which covered partnerships, operations, and programming related to social investments, corporate citizenship and ESG strategy. Jesse was the Director of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center where she led strategic programming and partnership opportunities to further the business communities’ impact on women’s economic empowerment, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality, supplier diversity, and inclusive entrepreneurship.
Jesse hails from Northern Virginia and attended University of Tennessee where she studied International Business, Russian, and Economics. She lives in Richmond, VA with her husband, son, and dog.
Informational Materials for the 117th Congress
We provide these resources to demonstrate how policymakers can bend the moral arc toward justice, fairness, and inclusivity and to enable women to prosper. Learn more
Committee Testimony, Statements, and Position Letters
The National Partnership’s prepared testimony, statements for the record, and position letters that have been submitted to Congressional committees and members of Congress. Learn more