Meet Team Howard
Rep. Donna Howard was first elected to the Texas House in 2006. She is currently in her fourth session as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees the state budget. As an Appropriations member, she also sits on the Article III Subcommittee – which handles education spending. Donna is Vice Chair of the House Administration Committee, which sets the rules and processes governing the Texas House of Representatives. She is also a longtime member of the Higher Education Committee. She is a leader on school finance, nursing, women's health and accountable government.
Jacob Cottingham, Chief of Staff
Jacob Cottingham was raised in Louisville, Kentucky and educated at Bard College and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. When he's not enjoying the thrilling experience of raising two small children, he relaxes by smoking meats, sipping bourbon and swapping stories with friends. After starting two publications in Savannah, Georgia he and his wife traveled the country for 10 months in a 1972 Airstream Land Yacht, after which they decided to call Austin home and promptly boon-docked in the Threadgill's parking lot. Since then, he's worked for the City of Austin, Travis County and the State of Texas. He was Legislative Director for Rep. Howard for the 83-85th Sessions.
Cristina Masters, Policy Aide &
Director of Constituent Services
Cristina is proud to be the product of military parents and has widely travelled the country and abroad. She earned her Masters degree in International Politics from the University of Edinburgh and has professional experience working in child welfare and education policy. She resides in HD 48 with her husband and two sons. Ask her about her cat.
Contact Cristina about: public education, child welfare, criminal justice,
Renzo Soto, Legislative Director
Jann Lorenzo Soto (Renzo, for short) was born and raised in Cabanatuan City, Philippines, for nearly seven years until immigrating to Harlingen, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. He then went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin before starting out at the Texas Capitol during the 85th Session. In his spare time, he loves binge watching shows with his two cats and trying out new foods.
Contact Renzo about budget, healthcare and nursing issues.
Alyssa Foy, Communications & Constituent Services Intern
Originally from the Dallas area, Alyssa is a student at Baylor University pursuing a degree in Journalism with a News-Editorial concentration, and plans to attend law school. She participates in on-campus organizations and in events with the local county Democratic Party. Through Baylor's Bob Bullock Scholar Program, she worked a session-long internship at the Texas State Capitol and will remain on staff through the summer.
Legislative Session Staff
Koby Ahmed - Scheduler. He was born in Houston, lives in Austin, and has also called both Dallas and San Antonio home. Koby is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and previously worked on statewide political campaigns as a coordinator and scheduler. When he's not moving among Texas metroplexes, he's planning a trip to Yosemite or being the best cat dad he can be to Percy and Marcel.
Laura Gorsky - Policy Aide focusing on healthcare, criminal justice, and insurance. She was raised in the Northern Virginia area and moved to Austin in 2017. She is currently in the last semester of pursuing her Masters of Public Affairs at the LBJ School and received her Bachelors in 2013 from The College of William and Mary. Laura has spent the majority of her career working in Democratic politics and for Nonprofits. In her free time, you can find Laura at catching a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse or enjoying the local food truck scene.
Elizabeth “Liz” Stitt - Policy Aide for environment, elections, technology and energy policy. She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Affairs at the LBJ School and received her bachelor’s degrees in 2011 from UC Davis in political science and international relations. Liz spent over six years in statewide politics in California where she most recently served as the communications director for the Senate Majority Leader. When she’s not in the Capitol or on campus, Liz is on a constant search for the best taco in the city of Austin.