Common Good Iowa

Staff members

Tywana Butts

Office Assistant

Tywana has been at the organization since 2008. She answers phones and greets visitors, assists other staff members and provides general office support. She previously worked as an administrative assistant and child care provider. Tywana is a native of Des Moines and lives on the city’s east side. She enjoys...

Angelica Cardenas-Chaisson

Policy Advocate

Angélica works closely on issues of child welfare, primarily, issues regarding older foster youth. Angélica is the lead state evaluator of the 1st Five Healthy Development Initiative. Angélica received her B.A. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master's of Social Work, emphasizing children and families...

Anne Discher

Executive Director

Anne worked at the Child and Family Policy Center for 10 years before the merger with the Iowa Policy Project, serving as research associate, communication director, and most recently as executive director. She has a particular interest in using data, research and stories to make meaningful change for Iowa families...

Peter Fisher

Research Director

Peter provides overall supervision for research activities. He is directly involved in research, writing and outreach on state tax and budget issues, economic development policy, and work supports. He is also responsible for the biennial Cost of Living in Iowa reports. He has been a part of Common Good Iowa...

Sheila Hansen

Senior Policy Advocate/Government Relations Manager

Sheila concentrates her work on early childhood, primarily child care, preschool and home visitation. She also coordinates the advocacy and lobbying work at the state capitol. She has received numerous awards for her advocacy work around early childhood issues from the Iowa Head Start Association, the Association for the Education...

Tricia Lyman

Operations Manager

Tricia joined the staff of the Child and Family Policy Center (now Common Good Iowa) in June of 2015. She brings with her several years of experience in office administration and board staffing at non-profits such as the Iowa Community Action Association, the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Legal Services Corporation...

David Osterberg

Senior Researcher

David writes policy papers and speaks on energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power and climate change policy. He also does similar work on water quality and public health policy in the state, especially around animal agriculture. He is a former Iowa state representative who chaired the House Energy and Environmental...

Mike Owen

Deputy Director

Mike coordinates fiscal policy work with other issue priorities at Common Good Iowa, engaging staff and partners to advance policy ideas that equitably and sustainably address the concerns of all Iowans. He is part of the communications team developing messages and strategies to better reach policy makers, advocates and the...

Nathan Shepherd

Development Associate

Nathan works out of the Iowa City office providing operational and development support for the organization. He also contributes to the energy and environmental policy work of the organization. Nathan received a B.S. degree in General Agriculture - Environmental Studies from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He has two amazing...

Mary Nelle Trefz

Policy Coordinator

As a health policy advocate Mary Nelle performs research on various health policy issues to help inform legislation and develop evidence-based policies that protect and promote the health and well-being of children. Mary Nelle received her B.S. in Health Policy and Management from Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, and...

Natalie Veldhouse

Policy Advocate

Natalie Veldhouse works to advance policy that secures food and income assistance for Iowans through a combination of community engagement, policy analysis and advocacy strategies. She coordinates CGI’s Kids Count initiative, using data and community-identified priorities to advocate for policy that improves child well-being in Iowa. Natalie received her Master’s...

Stephen Dykstra

Our beloved colleague Stephen Dykstra passed away on May 3. Stephen was our communication associate — his responsibilities included this website — so if it seems unusually drab, his absence is why. Stephen was a consistently positive presence at Common Good Iowa — eager to pitch in on any task,...

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