APV’s State and Federal Lobbying Team
As Chief Legislative Officer, Jessica Johnson leads Animal Protection Voters’ legislative and political work on behalf of all New Mexico’s animals. She also oversees Animal Protection of New Mexico’s programmatic and legal work to prevent wildlife and equine cruelty. With more than seven years of experience in government relations on behalf of animal protection, Jessica’s expertise includes special event organizing, training, legislative analysis, campaign strategy, digital communications, and creating order from chaos. Prior to her current position, Jessica served as Senior Manager of Grassroots Advocacy in the ASPCA’s Government Relations department in Washington, D.C., where she led efforts to organize citizen support for state and federal legislation, ballot measures, voter registration, and get-out-the-vote efforts. Jessica earned a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2011, where she specialized in environmental & animal law and received the Animal Law Leadership Award upon graduation. She lives in Santa Fe, NM with her husband, a beloved flock of chickens, and two rescued canines, Zelda and Edwin, with whom she enjoys hiking across New Mexico’s fabulous landscapes.
Elisabeth Jennings has served as Animal Protection Voters’ and Animal Protection of New Mexico’s Executive Director since 1993, but began lobbying in New Mexico in 1989 as a volunteer. Since then she has worked to encourage a broader segment of New Mexicans to get actively involved in promoting animal protection legislation and holding legislators accountable for their important votes on bills that impact animals. Elisabeth grew up around all kinds of animals, including dogs, cats, and horses, where she learned to appreciate what animals offer to our lives. Jennings has lived in New Mexico since 1987, and enjoys spending time doing just about anything outdoors with her husband.
Laura Bonar is Chief Program & Policy Officer for Animal Protection Voters and Animal Protection of New Mexico, and has been a member of APV’s lobby team since 2011. After joining the staff in 2007, she helped pass county and municipal ordinances, broadened legislative support for the Animal Sheltering Board and stronger animal cruelty laws, and helped thwart bills that would harm animals. In more recent years Laura has led the program to secure sanctuary for chimpanzees living in New Mexico, and has been instrumental in enhancing Animal Protection Voters’ capacity to work with New Mexico’s members of Congress to support federal legislation and other policies that have an enormous impact on animals in our state. All her life Laura has felt a strong affinity for animals and the natural world, and her career affirms that passion. She shares her home with Maeve, an adorable canine from the Albuquerque shelter.
Deborah Torza Condit
Deborah Torza has been a lobbyist for Animal Protection Voters since 2007. As a native New Mexican and a staunch animal advocate, she provides keen insights into how to develop stronger support for animal protection measures from all parts of the political spectrum. Deborah graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in print journalism. She began working on political campaigns in 2000, worked as a Senate analyst at the New Mexico State Capitol in 2001, and later joined APV, helping to pass stronger laws for animals and prevent damaging legislation from passing. Deborah lives with her husband Brian Condit, former chief of staff to Governor Richardson, her daughter Desiree, as well as her rescued Rhodesian Ridgeback, Gillie, and two Labradors, Piper and Toby.
Marisa Sleeter, Program Associate for Animal Protection Voters and Animal Protection of New Mexico, joined our team in early 2016, providing crucial support to the myriad initiatives our team tackles and helping us revamp our future improved volunteer program. A third-generation New Mexican, Marisa holds a B.A. in International Communications from Texas Christian University. She brings to the organization a wide array of experience in the nonprofit field including, most recently, nonviolent communication skills. Marisa and her husband enjoy exploring the New Mexico outdoors with their two rescued hounds, including hiking, camping, and foraging for medicinal plants.
Alex Tarantino is the Legislative Campaign Associate for Animal Protection Voters and Animal Protection of New Mexico. After joining the staff in 2018, Alex assisted in passing the crucial statewide ban on egregious coyote killing contests and numerous other pro-animal bills. Before her current position, she volunteered for Animal Protection Voters for several years and discovered this was the perfect opportunity to marry her two degrees from the University of New Mexico, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Alex has been around animals her entire life, growing up with horses, dogs and cows, and currently has a menagerie of companion animals with her husband, including dogs, chickens, goats, a cat, a fish and a snake. Previously, she worked at Tricore Reference Laboratories, VCA Wyoming Animal Hospital, Starbucks, and was a Bosque Internship Student for UNM’s Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP). In her free time, she loves hiking with her pups, off-roading and exploring New Mexico in her 4Runner and enjoying peaceful nights on her patio surrounded by her animal (and human!) family.