Meet our Board of Directors
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Congressional Staff Association (CSA) elects a board of directors each year in February in accordance with our by-laws. The board consists of a president, a vice president, four directors and two at-large directors. Below are the names, positions and short bios of our board members
Chris Cunningham, President
Chris works as a Legislative Assistant for Representative Ben McAdams of Utah, advising the Congressman on health care, transportation, and other domestic policy matters before the House. The CSA provided Chris with a tremendous support network that helped him get his career started on the Hill, and he’s excited to help continue the organization’s success. Chris grew up in Meridian, Idaho and earned his B.S. in Economic and Finance from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to moving to D.C., Chris also worked on local Democratic campaigns in Utah.
Hector Colón, Vice President
Hector serves as Legislative Assistant for U.S. Representative Max Rose of New York. Aside from LGBTQ+ issues, he handles financial services, tax, immigration, campaign finance reform, and other issues for New York’s 11th District. He previously worked for former House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley. Hector has been on the Hill for almost three years, and is a proud alumnus of The City College of New York.
From Queens, New York, Hector is passionate about racial and economic justice. He strives to continue to advance diversity in the CSA, and build equity for minority members.
Hector is a certified LSAT Instructor, and his favorite section of the test is Logical Reasoning. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games and watching Terrace House with his partner.
Austin Laufersweiler, Communications Director
Austin Laufersweiler serves as Communications Director for Congressman Andy Levin from Michigan. Austin first came to the Hill in 2014 as a press intern for former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, and later joined Congresswoman Doris Matsui’s office as Staff Assistant.
Austin has spent the last few years between D.C. and the Midwest, doing year-long stints of campaign work in Missouri and Iowa. He’s so grateful to be back in D.C. and among friends in the LGBT CSA, where he has served once previously on the Board of Directors as the Communications Director .
Austin is a native of Marietta, GA, and a graduate of the University of Georgia. When he’s not at work, he might be playing board games or same-sex country partner dancing.
Matthew Ramirez, Professional Development Director
Matthew works as an Outreach Advisor for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Matthew received his Bachelor's degree in Political Economy from Evergreen State College. Prior to his current role, Matthew worked for Senator Patty Murray, Congressman Ted Lieu, and in the Washington State Legislature. Matthew has also worked on several state and local Democratic campaigns.
Born and raised in Northern California, Matthew comes from a strong union and veteran family.
Rina Patel, Social Events Director
Rina is the Legislative Aide for the Congressional Equality Caucus, she helps all 8 openly LGBTQ+ members of the house, who serve as equal Co-Chairs with their Caucus responsibilities. Prior to her current role she worked for Representative Madeleine Dean, and Senator Claire McCaskill on her Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee staff. Rina is an alum of Bryn Mawr college and is a native of Illinois.
Lauren Hughes, Membership Director
Lauren wears many hats in Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.’s office. Her main role is Scheduler, but she dabbles in legislative portfolios and office managing for the Second District of Georgia. She has worked for Congressman Bishop since June 2017, after serving as his Press Intern in the fall of 2015, and various private sector jobs in between.
Born and raised in Arkansas, Lauren received her B.A. in Journalism, Emphasis on Public Relations and a minor in Criminal Justice at the University of Arkansas. She is a proud Alpha Delta Pi alumna and Razorbacks fan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, taking care of her plants, and her cat.
Howard Ou, At-Large Director
Howard is a Policy Advisor for Representative Gil Cisneros of California, handling the Congressman’s energy, immigration, judicial, international relations, science & tech, veterans and other issues for California’s 39th District. Prior, Howard was a Policy and Press Advisor for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, APAICS Legislative Fellow for Congresswoman Judy Chu, and a defense staffer for Congressman Scott Peters based in San Diego. Howard hails from Walnut, California and is a Truman National Security Project Political Partner. In his free time, you can find Howard exploring DC adding to his food Instagram.
Andrés Bascumbe, At-Large Director
Andrés Bascumbe serves as Counsel to Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California. Prior to his current role, Andrés worked for Rep. Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia and also served as a clerk to former Chairman Henry Waxman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
A native of Washington D.C., Andrés earned a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law and a B.A. in Mass Communications and Spanish from Florida State University. Andrés spends his free time playing for the Washington Scandals Rugby Football Club or watching reruns of the Office.