Chris Austin has 10 years experience in the Federal Government, including seven years on Capitol Hill, honing a mastery of the “Three P’s:” politics, policy, and process. As the Acting Chief of Staff/Legislative Director for Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Mr. Austin manages a budget of $1.3 million and a staff of 20 personnel, while maintaining responsibility for developing and implementing the Congressman’s legislative agenda. Uniquely for a Member in the minority party, Rep. Garamendi serves on three prestigious committees: Agriculture; Armed Services; and Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I). In addition to advancing key legislation through these committees, Mr. Austin works closely with Congressman Garamendi’s public relations team to ensure a robust communications strategy that accurately reflects the Congressman’s work. In order to properly advise Rep. Garamendi on sensitive national security matters, Mr. Austin holds active “Top Secret” and “Q” security clearances. In his Chief of Staff capacity, Mr. Austin is responsible for constant coordination between Mr. Garamendi’s official and campaign duties, and is involved with his fundraising operation. Mr. Austin has been recognized as a leader among his peers on Capitol Hill, having been invited to speak at Democratic District Director fly-ins, and was one of four Congressional staffers invited to participate in the 2012 Young Leadership Dialogue, a policy forum for young American and Australian political and business leaders held in Washington, D.C.
Additionally, Mr. Austin served as a Legislative Assistant for Congressman (Ret.) Phil Hare (D-IL), for whom he managed his assignments to the T&I and Veterans committees, and as an Executive Assistant for the Veterans committee, touching every aspect of committee business.
Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, Mr. Austin served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya (2003-2005), where he worked on programs promoting HIV/AIDS awareness, including President Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In 2013, Mr. Austin was selected to participate in a U.S. State Department channel interview reflecting on PEPFAR’s 10th Anniversary. He is actively involved in the Peace Corps community, having served as President of the nonprofit, The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. (2011-2013) where he orchestrated the Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary ceremonies held at Arlington National Cemetery on September 25, 2011, a $25,000 operation attended by over 5,000 people.
Mr. Austin also served as an AmeriCorps Member in Fulton, Missouri (2002-2003). He holds a BA in Geography from the University of Missouri (2002) and an MPA from American University (2012). Mr. Austin volunteered for the Obama for America campaign (2008 and 2012), at the Democratic National Convention in Denver (2008) and in Charlotte (2012), and for the successful Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign (2012).