Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Legislative Affairs
As a "policy person," Johnson-Obey says she has always wanted to make federal and public programs work for real people, and NeighborWorks provides that opportunity. One of the first pieces of legislation that she worked on nearly 25 years ago at the start of her career was a bill to expand the capacity of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. (which evolved into NeighborWorks America). Kirsten sees her move to NeighborWorks in 2013 as a homecoming of sorts. “Housing was a big part of my work for a long time,” she says. “I wanted to get back to it.”
Before joining NeighborWorks, Johnson-Obey was executive vice president at Porterfield, Lowenthal and Fettig, a partnership specializing in legislative and regulatory relations, political risk analysis and mitigation for a variety of financial services clients during the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act. She joined the firm in 2009 after nearly eight years as senior director for congressional relations with Freddie Mac.
Prior to Freddie Mac, Johnson-Obey worked on Capitol Hill as a staff member for the House Financial Services Committee and held a number of legislative roles with Minnesota Congressman Bruce F. Vento. During her 14 years on the Hill, she played an extensive role in numerous policy and legislative matters before the House Banking Committee, including mortgage finance, financial privacy, affordable housing and homelessness issues, and financial services modernization.
A Minnesota native, she graduated magna cum laude with Bachelor of Arts in international relations and political science from Hamline University in St. Paul.