Mara Sheldon is a member of the firm’s Strategic Advocacy Public Policy Practice, where she represents states, municipalities, private sector companies and nonprofits on a variety of legislative and regulatory matters related to renewable energy, environment and natural resources, healthcare, cannabis and hemp, tourism and hospitality, and banking and financial services issues. With deep expertise working with federal, state and local governments, her work during the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly instrumental in assisting clients navigate state and federal guidance and overcome funding issues. With more than 20 years of experience working at the intersection of public policy and strategic communications, Mara has represented major corporations, nonprofits and elected officials. At age 21, she served as one of the youngest Press Secretaries on Capitol Hill and ultimately became Communications Director to several members of Congress, including former Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, John D. Dingell, and current Chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business, Nydia Velazquez. Throughout her time on Capitol Hill, Mara worked on several marquee pieces of legislation, including healthcare, environment and water, and banking and financial services.

    Prior to joining the firm, Mara served as Communications Director and spokesperson for Governor Jared Polis’ successful gubernatorial campaign. Over the last two decades, she has worked both nationally and locally on political campaigns, including on presidential races, serving in senior roles for statewide candidate elections and at the grassroots level on local ballot initiatives.

    Mara currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Hemp Association and as a Trustee on The Summit Foundation Board of Directors. Previously, she served on the Boards of Directors for Rose Women’s Group, a Rose Community Foundation donor-advised fund in Denver, Colorado and Team Breckenridge Sports Club in Breckenridge, Colorado.

    Mara graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism, and a Minor in Political Science. She regularly writes commentaries on state and federal policy issues, particularly on cannabis and hemp. Her articles have recently been published in Politico, The Denver Post, Colorado Politics, Law360, Cannabis Law Report and Cannabis Law Journal. Many of her articles are further distributed by news aggregators such as the National Law Review and Lexology. Mara also frequently authors and contributes content for the Capital Thinking blog.

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    Education

    • University of Missouri, School of Journalism, B.A., 1994

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