Center for Effective Lawmaking

Center Affiliates

At the Center for Effective Lawmaking, we proudly support and highlight the work of our faculty affiliates, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate affiliates.
Below are the current affiliates of the CEL.

Faculty Affiliates

Andrew Clarke

Andrew Clarke, Lafayette College

Andrew Clarke is an Assistant Professor of Government & Law at Lafayette College. He studies legislative politics, with a focus on party factions in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prof. Clarke received a Ph.D. in Government from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in Political Science from Bucknell University. He has published research articles on American political institutions and policy making in journals such as Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Science Research and Methods, and the Journal of Public Policy.

Josh Clinton Vanderbilt

Josh Clinton, Vanderbilt University

Josh Clinton is the Abby and Jon Winkelried Chair and Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. His work uses statistical methods to better understand political processes and outcomes. His interests are wide-ranging and include: lawmaking in the U.S. Congress, campaigns and elections, political representation, public policy and the uses and abuses of statistical methods for understanding political phenomena. His research has recently appeared in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics among others. Josh is also an Editor-in-Chief of the Quarterly Journal of Political Science and he received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University.

Laurel Hardbridge-Yong

Laurel Harbridge-Yong, Northwestern University

Laurel Harbridge-Yong is an Associate Professor of Political Science and a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern. Her work focuses on how elections, institutions, and policy are connected in the United States Congress. Her 2015 book (Is Bipartisanship Dead?) explored declining bipartisan cooperation in Congress, changes in party strategy and the ramifications of these changes for the responsiveness of members to their constituents and for policy formation. Her current research examines legislative inaction and partisan conflict in Congress and American politics. This research includes projects on legislators' rejection of compromises that give them some but not all of what they seek, and how legislators' respond to gridlock by passing the buck to others.

Tim LaPira

Tim LaPira, James Madison University

Tim LaPira (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is associate professor of political science at James Madison University in Virginia. His expertise is on Congress, interest groups, and lobbying. He is the principal investigator of the 2017 Congressional Capacity Survey and co-author of Revolving Door Lobbying: Public Service, Private Influence, and the Unequal Representation of Interests (University Press of Kansas, 2017). His work has been generously supported by the National Science Foundation, the Sunlight Foundation, The Dirksen Congressional Center, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center, and the Hewlett Foundation. He previously worked as a legislative assistant to a member of Congress and as a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, where he was responsible for developing the Lobbying and Revolving Door databases on OpenSecrets.org.

Jen Lawless

Jennifer Lawless, University of Virginia

Jennifer L. Lawless is the Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the UVA faculty, she was a Professor of Government at American University and the Director of the Women & Politics Institute. Before that, she was an assistant and then associate professor at Brown. Jen’s research focuses on political ambition, campaigns and elections, and media and politics. She is the author or co-author of six books, including Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era (with Danny Hayes) and It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office (with Richard L. Fox). Her research, which has been supported by the National Science Foundation, has appeared in numerous academic journals, and is regularly cited in the popular press. She is co-editor of the American Journal of Politics Science, and holds an appointment as a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Jen graduated from Union College with a B.A. in political science, and Stanford University with an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science. In 2006, she sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Rhode Island’s second congressional district. Although she lost the race, she remains an obsessive political junkie.

Geoff Lorenz

Geoff Lorenz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Geoffrey Lorenz is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He studies the effectiveness of lobbying, advocacy, and other forms of policy entrepreneurship. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and was a postdoctoral fellow for the Center for Effective Lawmaking at the University of Virginia. His work has been published in Interest Groups and Advocacy and the Journal of Politics. Before entering academia, Geoff worked as a professional lobbyist at the Texas State Legislature, representing clients in a wide range of substantive domains.

Minta Minta

Michael Minta, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Michael D. Minta is an associate professor in Political Science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is one of the country’s leading experts in the study of the political representation of African American, Latino, and women interests in the United States. His book, Oversight: Representing Black and Latino Interests in Congress is a valuable guide that scholars, political leaders, and the legal community consult when assessing whether diversity in legislatures improves responsiveness to minority interests. Currently, Dr. Minta is working on a new project that examines the legislative effectiveness of minority interest groups and their congressional allies.

Bruce Oppenheimer

Bruce Oppenheimer, Vanderbilt University

Bruce Oppenheimer is a Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. He earned his B.A. from Tufts University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He has been an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow and a Fellow in Governmental Studies and Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution. Professor Oppenheimer’s research focuses on Congress, congressional and presidential elections, and public policy. He has published numerous books and journal articles throughout his professional career. His co-authored book, Sizing Up the Senate: The Unequal Consequences of Equal Representation, won the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library’s D.B. Hardeman Award as the best book on Congress. He is co-editor and contributor to the book, Congress Reconsidered, the eleventh edition of which was published in 2017. He has also written extensively on congressional struggles in developing energy policy over the past half century. In addition, he served as co-editor of Legislative Studies Quarterly.

Kathryn Pearson

Kathryn Pearson, Univeresity of Minnesota

Kathryn Pearson is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. She specializes in American politics; her research focuses on the United States Congress, women and politics, congressional elections, and political parties. Her research has recently appeared in The Journal of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, and Politics & Gender, and she has published several book chapters. Her book titled Party Discipline in the House of Representatives was published in 2015 by the University of Michigan Press. It combines quantitative data analysis and interviews of key elites to examine party leaders' strategic use of their legislative prerogatives to reward loyal party members and punish defectors. It is an extension of her dissertation that won the APSA Legislative Studies Section's Carl Albert Award for the best doctoral dissertation in the area of legislative studies. She is working on a new book project, Gendered Partisanship in the House of Representatives, analyzing congresswomen's pursuit of power in a partisan era. Pearson is a recipient of the Morse Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. In 2002-03, Pearson was a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and from 1993 to 1998, she worked on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Assistant for two members of Congress. Professor Pearson received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jessica Preece

Jessica Preece, Brigham Young University

Jessica Preece is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University. Her areas of expertise include gender, political parties, and candidate recruitment, with a methodological focus on experiments. This work has been published in top journals, including the American Journal of Political Science, the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Behavior, and Politics & Gender. As a Center for Effective Lawmaking affiliate, Jessica is expanding her research agenda to study gendered patterns of lawmaking and lobbying in the U.S. Congress. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Jessica was a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan and the Harvard Kennedy School's Women and Public Policy Program.

Molly Reynolds

Molly Reynolds, Brookings Institution

Molly Reynolds is a fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings. She studies Congress, with an emphasis on how congressional rules and procedure affect domestic policy outcomes. She is the author of the book, Exceptions to the Rule: The Politics of Filibuster Limitations in the U.S. Senate, which explores creation, use, and consequences of the budget reconciliation process and other procedures that prevent filibusters in the U.S. Senate. She also supervises the maintenance of Vital Statistics on Congress, Brookings’s long-running resource on the first branch of government. Reynolds received her Ph.D. in political science and public policy from the University of Michigan and her A.B. in government from Smith College, and previously served as a senior research coordinator in the Governance Studies program at Brookings. In addition, she has served as an instructor at George Mason University.

Kelsey Shoub 2

Kelsey Shoub, University of South Carolina

Kelsey Shoub is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina and faculty affiliate of the Center for Effective Lawmaking. Professor Shoub's research and teaching interests span American Politics, Public Policy, and Methodology. Her work, more specifically, examine public policy process, race and policy, framing, and Congress using text analysis, machine learning, and big data. She is a co-author of Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us About Race and Policing (2018, Cambridge University Press), which is a co-winner of the 2019 Pritchett Book Award from the APSA Law and Courts Section.

Sean Theriault

Sean Theriault, University of Texas, Austin

Professor Theriault, who is fascinated by congressional decision-making, is currently researching the distinction between ideological and war-making behavior in the U.S. Congress. He has published five books — most recently, Congress: The First Branch (with Mickey Edwards) and The Great Broadening (with Bryan Jones and Michelle Whyman) — and dozens of articles on subjects ranging from party polarization in Congress to the Pendleton Act of 1883. Professor Theriault’s latest research explores the social fabric in the U.S. Senate. He examines if social connectedness in the Senate has consequences on both the health of the Senate and the legislative effectiveness of the senators. Professor Theriault, whose classes include the U.S. Congress, Congressional Elections, Party Polarization in the United States, and the Politics of the Catholic Church, is passionate about teaching. He has received numerous teaching awards, including the Friar Society Teaching Fellowship (the biggest undergraduate teaching award at UT) in 2009, UT Professor the Year in 2011, and the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award in 2014. In 2012, he was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He has experienced no greater honor than “officiating” at two weddings for former students.

Danielle Thomsen

Danielle Thomsen, University of California, Irvine

Danielle Thomsen is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. She was previously an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University. During the 2018-2019 academic year, she was a research scholar at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University. Her research focuses on American politics, the U.S. Congress, and gender and politics. She is the author of Opting Out of Congress: Partisan Polarization and the Decline of Moderate Candidates. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Behavior, Political Research Quarterly, and State Politics & Policy Quarterly.

Sarah Treul

Sarah Treul, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Sarah Treul is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the recipient of the Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Honors Carolina’s Manekin Award for Teaching Excellence. Her research interests are broadly in the area of American political institutions, with her general focus being on the effect of institutional design and rules on political outcomes. Her research frequently focuses on how institutions affect decision-making - and more broadly- representation in the U.S. Congress. Her research agenda also examines the influence of elections (most frequently primary elections) on outcomes and behavior. Her most recent project explores the role of previous political experience in aiding (or, in today’s climate sometimes harming) candidates’ success in congressional primaries. Other ongoing projects examine the minority party’s strategy in today’s polarized Congress and the role of member inexperience in decreasing legislative capacity in Congress. Treul also recently published a book on state delegations in Congress with Cambridge University Press.

Gerry Warburg

Gerry Warburg, University of Virginia

Gerry Warburg teaches courses at the Batten School on Congress, U.S. foreign policy and advocacy strategies. He is the lead faculty member in the Batten School massive open online course (MOOC) “Public Policy Challenges of the 21st Century,” which is available on Coursera. His research interests include the study of best practices by non-governmental organizations and the evolution of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation policies. Warburg’s professional background encompasses a broad array of public service. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President of Cassidy & Associates, a leading government relations firm. Prior to that position, he worked as a legislative assistant for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives under Senate Whip Alan Cranston and Representative Jonathan Bingham. His stints teaching include Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication, the Brookings Institution and his alma maters of Stanford University and Hampshire College.

Hye Young You

Hye Young You, New York University

Hye Young You is Assistant Professor at the Wilf Family Department of Politics at New York University. Her primary research interest focuses on how organized interests and money influence democratic representation in the US, at both the national and local levels. In particular, her research explores the mechanism behind the lobbying process and sheds light on organized interest groups that play crucial roles in the political process, but have been understudied such as local governments and foreign interests. She is also interested in public finance and the quality of government services at municipal governments in the US. She received her PhD in political economy and government from Harvard University in 2014.

Post-Doctoral Affiliates

Peter Bucchianeri

Peter Bucchianeri, Vanderbilt University

Peter Bucchianeri is a PostDoctoral Fellow for the Center for Effective Lawmaking at Vanderbilt University. His expertise is in American politics, primarily in the areas of state and local government, legislative institutions, and representation. Prior to joining the Center, Peter completed his Ph.D in Government and Social Policy at Harvard University. He is a graduate of UCLA and the University of Pennslyvania.

Graduate Affiliates

Darrian Stacy

Darrian Stacy, Vanderbilt University

Darrian Stacy is a doctoral student in political science at Vanderbilt University and a Graduate Associate of the Center for Effective Lawmaking. He has research interests in American politics, with a particular substantive focus on Congress and congressional policy making, and is involved in data collection and analysis for many ongoing projects of the Center. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

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