Monday March 25, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, has announced the following staff changes within his office and reintroduces the six members of his team to residents of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden district.

Downing’s policy staff works out of his Beacon Hill office in the Massachusetts State House:

Bethann S. Steiner has served as Downing’s chief of staff since his first term in 2007. Steiner, a Dalton native, has 13 years of state government experience. Prior to joining Downing’s staff, she served as the legislative director and then the director of the Public Affairs Department for the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. She began her state service as research analyst for former state Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, D-North Adams.

Christopher Gilrein, the senator’s Legislative and Budget director, is from Charlton. Prior to joining Downing’s staff in 2009, Gilrein served as a student intern in the offices of state Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre, and Gov. Deval Patrick and worked in Visitor Services at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Christina Fisher joined Downing’s staff as committee counsel for the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy in December 2012. Previously, Fisher was senior research analyst for the Joint Committee on Revenue under state Rep. Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington.


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Todd Foy was hired to serve as Downing’s legislative aide in January. While a student at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, he interned for former U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry in his D.C. office, working on social welfare and health care policy.

Downing’s district staff works out of his local office in downtown Pittsfield:

Christine Monska of Stockbridge was recently promoted to the position of senior district aide/director of casework. Monska manages the senator’s local office and serves as his casework manager, assisting constituents as they navigate the bureaucracy associated with state government programs and services.

Elizabeth Connor, the newest member of the senator’s team, is Downing’s district aide/scheduler after serving six months as the district office intern. A Dalton native, Connor is responsible for managing Downing’s public calendar and schedule, assisting with local events and other district office matters.

All constituents are welcome and encouraged to contact Downing’s policy staff for assistance with matters related to healthcare casework or policy; pending budget and legislative proposals; issues before the Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy Committee; or media inquiries.

All non-healthcare constituent casework inquiries and scheduling requests should be referred to the district office.

Both the State House and District offices are open Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Walk-ins are always welcome.