Kirsten Engel learned at an early age the importance of giving back to her community and protecting our resources for generations to come.
After graduating with honors from Brown University and Northwestern University’s School of Law, Kirsten held positions at the Massachusetts Office of Attorney General and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She saw first hand the outsized impact that bureaucratic red tape and corporate lobbyists can have on our laws.
Early in her career, Kirsten found her voice and saw the ways she could make a difference. She filed an amicus brief in the very first case in which the U.S. Supreme Court recognized greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change. She helped force paint manufacturers to include warning labels about the hazards of exposure to lead-paint dust. And, she oversaw a brownfield renovation program to cleanup and restore contaminated waste sites.
Specializing in environmental and administrative law, Kirsten has taught at some of America’s most prestigious universities including Tulane, Harvard and now at the University of Arizona, where she serves as Associate Dean and Director of the Environmental Law Program.
TAKING THE FIGHT TO THE LEGISLATURE
Through volunteer work at her daughter’s school in Tucson, Kirsten saw first hand how the Arizona Legislature's decision to underfund schools put our children’s future at risk. After witnessing the Arizona Legislature’s continued attacks on education and on public lands, Kirsten’s commitment to our community was strengthened, motivating her to run for the State House.
As a legislator, Kirsten has fought Republican attempts to cut education and worked to fully-fund our public schools and universities. She’s also fought for affordable community college and stronger workforce development, along with technical education programs. Kirsten believes that every child who grows up in Arizona should have the opportunity to find a good-paying job, raise a family, and get ahead.
Along with fighting for our educational system, Kirsten isn’t afraid to stand up to extremists in the legislature in order to safeguard our precious natural resources. She led the fight to protect carbon-free energy rules and safeguard Arizona’s water. She leads the Democratic Caucus on issues related to water and served on the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Steering Committee.
She has also worked across the aisle to fight for criminal justice reforms such as drug treatment and diversion programs for low-level drug offenders, ending mandatory minimum sentences, and prioritizing prison oversight and accountability.
As Arizona’s hostile Republican legislature continues to impede our abortion rights and our voting rights, Kirsten stands forcefully against these attempts to undermine our democracy.
A mother and passionate advocate for Southern Arizona’s working families, Kirsten will bring her experience, drive, and determination to Washington. She has seen how corporate lobbyists, red tape, and extremists can impact our laws. And like so many Arizona families, she knows what it’s like to juggle working full-time and parenting throughout the pandemic.
Kirsten is running for Congress to fight for access to quality affordable healthcare and protect our environment and natural resources. In Washington, she will continue standing up for Arizona families and small businesses to build a lasting economy with opportunities for everyone.
Kirsten is married to Scott Saleska, a climate scientist at the University of Arizona. On the weekends you can find them enjoying southern Arizona trails and jogging on the Rillito. Kirsten and Scott’s daughter, Helene currently attends public high school in Tucson.