FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 17, 2018
CALIFORNIA — Today, Representative-elect Mike Levin announced the hiring of key staff to help serve the 49th District in the 116th Congress. Rep.-elect Levin’s team will be led by Kara van Stralen, who will be based in Washington, D.C. and assume the role of Chief of Staff. In the California offices, Francine Busby will serve as District Director.
“I am excited to announce that these talented and experienced individuals will serve as key members of my team for the new Congress,” said Rep.-elect Levin. “With strong ties to the 49th District, their counsel and insights will allow us to hit the ground running and deliver results for hard-working families in our community.”
Kara van Stralen, who will serve as Chief of Staff, is a Southern California native and a Capitol Hill veteran. She previously served in the offices of U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), the House Energy and Commerce Committee under former California Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). In 2017, she was listed by The Hill as one of Washington DC’s “16 People to Watch in Tech.” She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands and holds a master’s degree from George Washington University.
Francine Busby, who will serve as District Director, has lived in the district since 1988 and is an active member of her community. She served in numerous positions in the Cardiff School District, including President of the Cardiff School Board. Her campaigns for Congress in 2004, 2006, and 2010 helped grow the San Diego County Democratic Party, which she chaired from 2013-2017. Busby was also a founding member of Run Women Run, an organization that mentors and supports women who run for public office. Busby earned a bachelor’s degree from U.C. Irvine. She and her husband David live in Cardiff by the Sea.
Kyle Krahel-Frolander, who will serve as Deputy District Director, was born and raised in Oceanside from a 3rd generation North County family. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in Government, Krahel-Frolander moved back to the district to serve his community. He worked for the City of Oceanside and in various efforts to support the working families of the region. In addition to his professional duties, Krahel-Frolander is Vice-Chair of the Oceanside Planning Commission, helping to plan for the growth and development of the largest city in the district.
Jonathan Gilbert, who will serve as Legislative Director, is a California native and graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles. He most recently served as Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA), where he helped secure more than $1.8 billion in flood control infrastructure funding and $100 million to build public transit projects. He also previously served in the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Gilbert has extensive experience working on clean energy, climate change, and spent nuclear fuel policy, and is a Master of Environmental Management candidate at Duke University.
Eric Mee, who will serve as Communications Director, was born and raised in California. He previously served on the campaign of U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and in the office of U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH). He graduated from Michigan State University.
Ellen Montanari, who will serve as Director of Special Projects, has lived in the district for 28 years. Montanari, who holds an MBA from Arizona State University, owns a small publishing company, and worked as an executive coach for Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years. She has been an active volunteer in the community, serving on nonprofit boards and commissions. In addition to other duties, she will lead Rep.-elect Levin’s town hall efforts to ensure residents of the 49th District have strong avenues to communicate with their Member of Congress.
Shannon Bradley, who will serve as a District Representative, is a former journalist and a longtime resident of North County. She retired from UC San Diego in June as the Executive Producer of UCTV, the systemwide television network of the University of California. Prior to joining UCSD in 1993, Shannon covered politics in Washington DC for City Paper, Roll Call, and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. She has a BA from UC San Diego and a master’s degree from American University.
Robbie Farewell, who will serve as Senior Legislative Assistant, resides in Oceanside. He previously served as Political Director on Congressman-elect Levin’s campaign. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon.