Congressional Relations

Women’s economic security and health are essential to their full participation as equal members of society. It is time to eliminate the barriers women continue to face in their pursuit of whole, healthy and economically secure lives.

Women’s contributions — and ability to adequately care for themselves and America’s families — depend on stronger policies that promote family supports, economic equality, freedom from discrimination and access to affordable, quality, comprehensive health care, including reproductive health care.

Our team of congressional relations specialists combines expertise in these policy areas with their extensive experience working in the executive branch, legislative branch and issue advocacy community. Our deep expertise with the policymaking process, combined with our position in the women’s economic and health advocacy community, can help bridge gaps and facilitate communication and coordination to achieve shared policy goals.

Specifically, we can:

  • Offer policy expertise and messaging guidance for women and families;
  • Bring together diverse coalitions around an issue or legislative proposal;
  • Provide strategic direction on advancing legislative priorities;
  • Communicate and distill the latest research for easy consumption; and
  • Give technical assistance with bill drafting.

Meet Our Team


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Michelle McGrain

Michelle McGrain is Director, Congressional Relations, Economic Justice, at the National Partnership, where she manages day-to-day federal policymaker relationships and develops and leverages partner relationships to advance the National Partnership’s legislative agenda. Michelle is primarily focused on educating Congress about the issues within the National Partnership’s workplace and economic security agenda: paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, equal pay, pregnancy discrimination, workplace harassment and fighting harmful proposals that erode workers’ and women’s economic rights.

Prior to joining the National Partnership, Michelle spent almost five years on Capitol Hill serving on the policy teams for Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Jackie Speier. While on Senator Mikulski’s team, she led the effort to bring the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument into the National Park System.

Outside of work, Michelle is an active member of Jews United for Justice, served as a volunteer leader for the DC Paid Family Leave Campaign and has volunteered on various national and local campaigns. She also founded the Columbia Heights chapter of Swing Left, one of the most active chapters in the country, which helped elect Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-07). Michelle lives in Washington, D.C., and holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Maryland.


Jessi Leigh Swenson

Jessi Leigh Swenson is Director, Congressional Relations, Health Justice, at the National Partnership, where she manages the National Partnership’s federal government relations and cross-movement strategic partnerships on reproductive health, rights and justice issues. She joined the National Partnership in 2015 as the senior policy counsel for reproductive health and rights.

Jessi Leigh has more than a decade of experience building effective multi-stakeholder coalitions, working with key Congressional players and leadership and leveraging advocacy know-how into policy impact. Prior to the National Partnership, she was the Federal Policy Director at the National Abortion Federation, Director of Advocacy at Rights4Girls, a policy consultant and was an If/When/How and Georgetown Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow. Jessi Leigh attended Hampshire College and UC Hastings College of the Law.


Lelaine Bigelow

Lelaine Bigelow is the vice president for social impact and congressional relations at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she is responsible for creating and executing strategy to turn our policy work into social change. She shapes the direction of the National Partnership's congressional relations and corporate outreach programs to translate day to day meetings into effective relationships and long-term policy wins.

Prior to this role, Lelaine was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Relations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama Administration. Her Capitol Hill experience includes working for Rep. Judy Chu and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Corrine Brown, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler. In 2012, she was named a Champion for Children by First Focus and established a National Commission on Children and Disasters in 2008. She also worked for a political communications firm and a federal agency focused on promoting the growth and development of minority businesses.

Lelaine graduated from the University of Florida and the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University. She lives a quaint city life in Capitol Hill with her husband and son. A true Filipina, she loves to cook and eat and proudly passed those same values to her energetic son.


Jesse Matton

Jesse Matton is the Director of Corporate Social Impact Policies at the National Partnership.



Informational Materials for the 117th Congress

Now more than ever, we look to our elected leaders to address the ways that injustice in both health care and economic opportunity harm us and restrict our ability to participate in society and live to our full potential.

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Committee Testimony, Statements, and Position Letters

Here you can find the National Partnership’s prepared testimony, statements for the record, and position letters that have been submitted to Congressional committees and members of Congress.

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