About Us

The Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy is a private, not-for-profit, and non-partisan organization committed to offering Idahoans high-quality research and analysis to help the state make informed policy decisions and contribute to a prosperous Idaho for years to come. 

Our Mission

The Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy believes in making the right investments today so our state will thrive tomorrow.

The mission of the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy is to produce accurate information and analysis to inform public decisions with a focus on state budget, tax, and economic issues that impact Idahoans with low to moderate income. We believe Idaho’s economy is strongest when all Idahoans have the opportunity to participate, including members of our communities who face many barriers. 

We aim to be an essential source for understanding Idaho’s state budget and tax policies. 

Our Work

Our research, analysis, and commentary are organized into several main topic areas – represented by the icons to the right – and we conduct our work with the following values in mind: 

 

Credibility. Our work is non-partisan, fact-based, and Idaho-specific. We are trusted because we hold our work to a high standard of accuracy and integrity.  

Accessibility. Our work is available free of charge to the public, media, and policymakers. We believe all Idahoans deserve access to information on state policy decisions. 

Leadership. We recommend policies that align with a vision for a more equitable Idaho where all people can thrive.  

Housing

Education

Criminal
Justice

Economic
Security

Tax &
Revenue

Staff

Alejandra Cerna Rios
Director

Alejandra became the Center’s director in January 2020, after seven years of state-level policy research and analysis work in Idaho and Texas. She leads the strategic direction of the organization and works with community partners, stakeholders and decision-makers to implement our vision and mission.

She previously researched health and education issues for Idaho KIDS COUNT and analyzed workforce and education issues at a Texas policy group. She has worked with families experiencing homelessness and youth at risk of social disconnection in both Texas and Illinois. Alejandra holds a Master of Public Affairs – with a specialization in social and economic policy – and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas. She holds a B.A. from Brown University.

Kendra Knighten
Policy Associate

Kendra focuses on housing and criminal justice policy in Idaho. She conducts in-depth research and creates detailed reports on state policy and its effect on all Idahoans. 

Kendra previously served as the Criminal Justice Policy Advisor to former Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, and also served a two-year appointment to the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission. While on the governor’s staff, she also advised on healthcare, professional licensure and drug policy. Kendra has also worked with a non-profit in rural Bangladesh committed to assisting impoverished Bangladeshi women attain economic independence and security. She earned her B.A. in International Political Economy from the College of Idaho. 

Eric Medina
Policy Associate

Eric’s primary focus at the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy is partner cultivation and engagement on fiscal issues. He has experience in community outreach around issues with economic implications for families, including the state-based earned income tax credit. He also has experience engaging audiences in English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. Previously, Eric helped deliver programming at a community-based organization with a focus on education. He earned his BA in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Service from the University of California, Davis. 

Kirsten Pochop
Policy Analyst

In her role as a policy analyst, Kirsten researches tax and budget policy, food assistance, healthcare and education for the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy. She uses this research to author reports to help Idahoans better understand these critical topics. 

Kirsten previously worked as a charter school authorizer for the Idaho State Board of Education. There, she oversaw the operational and academic performance of Idaho’s charter schools. She also led efforts to achieve educational equity and access to quality education for all Idaho children. She also worked for an education think tank at the University of Washington. Kirsten holds a PhD in American History from the University of Washington, with a focus on social movements of the 1970s, especially those centered on race and gender. She received a Masters of Public Administration from the Evans School at the University of Washington, and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Carleton College in Minnesota.  

Tommy Simmons
Communications Associate

Tommy oversees communications strategies that advance the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy’s policy and advocacy goals and shape the public debate. This includes media relations, and production of print and digital products.

Tommy’s background is in journalism. He covered the criminal justice system for the Idaho Press and before that served as a public safety reporter for the Greeley Tribune in Colorado. He holds degrees in criminal justice and journalism from the University of Northern Colorado Tommy was raised in Denver and is a runner and hiker. He also enjoys writing for himself.

Tommy oversees communications strategies that advance the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy’s policy and advocacy goals and shape the public debate. This includes media relations, and production of print and digital products.   

Tommy’s background is in journalism. He covered the criminal justice system for the Idaho Press and before that served as a public safety reporter for the Greeley Tribune in Colorado. He holds degrees in criminal justice and journalism from the University of Northern Colorado. Tommy was raised in Denver and is a runner and hiker. He also enjoys writing for himself.  

Advisory Board

Todd Achilles

Chief Executive Officer, Edge Networks Inc.

Don Coberly

CEO, RISE

Sue Lovelace

Step Ahead Idaho

Charlene Taylor

Senior Researcher, Evident Change

Steve Burgos

Director, Boise Public Works Department

Christine Loucks

Professor Emeritus, Boise State University

Rich Toney

Retired, Senior Vice President, Bank of the Cascades

Jerry Mason

Community Member

Donate

Your gift funds fiscal policy analysis and leadership that supports an Idaho where all people can thrive. We would love to have your support. 

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