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As former Chief of Staff to then Rep. Xavier Becerra, Debra’s more than a decade and a half of work on Capitol Hill included supporting the Congressman’s efforts on the Ways and Means Committee, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, House Democratic Leadership and the California Delegation. Debra also learned the ins and outs of the non-profit world at the National Immigration Forum where she advocated for immigration reform, workforce needs, and a path to citizenship.
An attorney by trade, Debra bookended her time on Capitol Hill with stints at two federal agencies, serving as Immigration Counsel at the Department of Justice and subsequently as the Chief of Staff at the Department of Education’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development.
Debra has represented clients in the tech and B2B manufacturing industries. She is an expert at translating legislative and regulatory developments into layperson’s terms on issues such as international trade, supply chain, tax, immigration, and health IT.
Debra’s mother was born in the Midwest, her father in Panama, and they met and married in Ecuador. Wanting their children to receive the best education in the world, they moved to the US, and Debra grew up in Ohio. She has an undergraduate degree from Wheaton College, a law degree from Ohio State, and an LLM with an emphasis on International Trade from Georgetown University Law Center.
ICYMI: We interviewed Debra's colleague, Cristina Antelo, on episode 122.
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