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Fiscal Federalism Initiative


Meet the Team

Colin Foard Manager

Colin Foard is a manager with Pew’s fiscal federalism initiative, leading the project’s research into state and federal spending on natural disasters and other topics. He also engages stakeholders to improve understanding of the federal-state fiscal relationship and ensure that policymakers have data and evidence to inform their decision-making.

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Peter Muller Officer

Peter Muller is an officer with Pew’s fiscal federalism initiative, where he studies how federal fiscal policy affects state decision-making and long-term fiscal health. Before joining Pew, Muller worked for the Tennessee General Assembly, where he served as the House director for the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Budget Analysis, advising legislators on a wide range of issues related to the state budget. Muller holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Mississippi, and a law degree from Vanderbilt University. 

Laura Pontari Senior Associate

Laura Pontari is a senior associate with Pew’s fiscal federalism initiative. She researches and analyzes federal and state fiscal policy and provides analysis on the federal-state relationship. Before joining Pew, Pontari interned for the Philadelphia Department of Finance and the Georgia House of Representatives. Pontari holds bachelor’s degree in economics, political science, and Spanish, and a master’s in public administration from the University of Georgia.

Rebecca Thiess Manager

Rebecca Thiess helps lead Pew’s fiscal federalism initiative, which focuses on how federal policies affect states. In this position, she oversees and conducts original research and analysis on various aspects of the federal and state fiscal relationship. Thiess’ expertise includes federal grants to states, the role that federal funds play in state budgets, and the federal and state funding of higher education.

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Andrea Snyder Senior Associate

Andrea Snyder works with Pew’s fiscal federalism initiative, providing research and analyses on federal and state budgeting for natural disasters and covering other climate-related topics. Before joining Pew, Snyder was an assistant director at the Atlantic Council, where she helped implement climate adaptation initiatives and developed a climate risk and social vulnerability tool. Earlier in her career, she interned for the United Nations, the Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, and Human Rights Watch, among other organizations. Snyder holds a bachelor’s degree in diplomacy and world affairs from Occidental College.

Kate Watkins Associate

Kate Watkins is an associate with Pew’s fiscal federalism initiative, for which she researches and analyzes the federal and state fiscal relationship.Before joining Pew, Watkins completed internships focused on appropriation and procurement processes in the federal government. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan.