Kara's BioKara van Stralen has extensive state and federal legislative and political expertise having served in various roles in Congress and in the State of Colorado. She comes to Cornerstone after serving as the director of policy and research for Governor Jared Polis (D-CO). In that role, Kara assisted in drafting Executive Order D-2022-009 Accelerating Broadband Deployment in Colorado. Kara previously served in Congress for over a decade, including as chief of staff to Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA), where she oversaw his work to improve veterans’ well-being and address climate change. She also held senior policy positions for Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), where she worked across the aisle to bring several pieces of technology and transportation legislation to the president’s desk for signature, including the Connected Government Act (P.L. 115-114), the TICKETS Act, which was included in the 2018 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization, and Emergency Information Improvement Act (P.L. 114-111), among others.
As director of policy and research, Kara was responsible for coordinating the Governor’s policies with all cabinet departments, the Office of State Planning and Budget and the operations and legislative teams. She also hired, directed and mentored 13 policy analysts responsible who advised the Governor on all policy matters. In addition, she served as the Governor’s primary advisor on broadband policy including broadband deployment and Colorado’s rollout of the nationwide public safety broadband network, FirstNet.
Previously, Kara served in various roles on Capitol Hill, including as chief of staff for Rep. Levin. After beginning her career as a staff assistant to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Kara went on to serve as policy staff for the House Energy and Commerce Committee under Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA), where she worked on authorization of FirstNet, broadcast and broadband policies, among others. She then served as policy advisor to Sen. Booker for technology and innovation, infrastructure and transportation issues, and later served as a senior policy advisor for Sen. Hassan, for whom she worked on broadband and infrastructure issues among others. Her time with Sens. Booker and Hassan took place during their respective tenures on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Kara was named as one of “Sixteen People to Watch in Tech in 2017” by The Hill and is a well-versed public speaker. While in DC, she was a member of the Women’s Congressional Staff Association, Women’s Congressional Golf Association (WCGA), and a volunteer for DC Family & Youth Initiative, Foster Youth Program.
Kara earned her master’s degree in legislative affairs from George Washington University and her bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Redlands. She and her husband, Chris and dog, Boris reside in Denver (but they still root for the Patriots).