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Director of Policy & Government Affairs

Washington, DC, USA | Non Profit Organization

  • Industry:
    Non-Profit / Social Enterprise
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
    Legal / Compliance
  • Experience:
    7-10 years
Job Description:
64 people have viewed this job

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is an independent national nonprofit that uses science to protect our health, safety, and environment. We are scientists, engineers, economists, activists and everyday people who develop and advocate for innovative, practical solutions to some of our planet’s most pressing problems—from combating global warming and developing sustainable ways to feed, power, and transport ourselves, to fighting misinformation, advancing racial equity, and reducing the threat of nuclear war.

UCS is seeking a Director of Policy & Government Affairs, to lead government relations for the Food & Environment Program. You’ll join a talented, dynamic team that uses cutting edge research, strategic policy advocacy, strong partnerships, and the ability to organize scientists and experts to transform the US food and farming system. This person will leverage their skills and expertise to lead our efforts to develop, socialize, and implement strategic food and farm policy advocacy in both the administration and Congress. Working with the team, you’ll identify guiding principles and define analytic and other resource needs to achieve policy objectives; develop policy positions, recommendations, and legislative/administrative proposals; manage a team of legislative staff; and help ensure that equity implications of our policy positions are appropriately considered. The successful candidate will have demonstrated success in advocating policy positions with Congress, the Executive Branch, non-governmental organizations, industry and other allied groups and coalitions, and before media and the public.

The Food & Environment Program works to create a sustainable and equitable food system that makes farmland resilient to climate change and other challenges, produces healthy food for all, protects frontline food workers, and contributes to thriving rural and urban communities. Our team of 16 scientists, advocates, communicators, and campaigners collaborates to build impactful campaigns to advance our food system goals.


• Provide strategic and political leadership to support food and agriculture policy priorities, including the federal farm bill, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, child nutrition policies, and food system worker protections.

• Advocate for our food and farm policy agenda with Congress and the Executive Branch. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with congressional representatives and their staff, and administration and agency officials—particularly at the US Department of Agriculture.

• Supervise and mentor the program’s policy and government affairs staff. Maintain consistent supervisory and professional development check-ins and convene regular meetings of the policy team to track and advance our advocacy priorities.

• Lead food and farm advocacy activities in Congress and with the executive branch. Lead advocacy meetings and write and edit supporting materials. Involve analytic staff as appropriate. In partnership with the F&E Campaign Manager, plan and participate in lobby days and other outreach activities.

• Serve as the program’s expert on food and agriculture policy and legislation. Maintain working knowledge of sustainable agriculture science, practices and systems, food justice concerns, and other food system issues. Represent UCS in external coalitions and at public events and conferences.

• Respond to press inquiries, maintain effective working relationships and frequent contact with reporters, contribute to written materials for the media, and write for the UCS blog.

• Maintain awareness of role as representative of UCS. Promote organizational objectives, participate in cross-programmatic activities and coordination, and contribute to fundraising efforts as needed.


Qualifications and Experience

The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s degree and at least of 7-10 years of relevant nonprofit advocacy and supervisory experience. Master’s degree in public policy or similar is preferred.

The candidate should have knowledge of effective issue campaign development, a thorough understanding of advocacy campaigns and the legislative process, including advocacy techniques, legislative strategy, as well as familiarity with the relevant Congressional committees and the decision-making process of the executive branch of the federal government. The position also requires policy expertise in some aspect(s) of the US food system. Demonstrated skills in public speaking and working with media, and strong written communication skills are required. Demonstrated effectiveness at staff supervision and development and project management is also required. Proficiency in word processing and database software is required.

May spend extended periods at computer. Occasional overnight travel is required.

UCS is an equal opportunity employer actively seeking to diversify its staff. In particular, we’re dedicated to broadening opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy. We’re also committed to building an inclusive workplace culture where talented people of widely diverse backgrounds can thrive. We believe the inclusion of culturally diverse perspectives will improve our work and produce better societal and environmental outcomes for all, including historically disenfranchised communities.

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