Cynthia Van Maanen
Policy Advisor, City of Austin

Cynthia Van Maanen's personal and professional mission is to promote representation and accountability in Texas by fighting voter suppression and other methods of disenfranchisement, and by advancing a progressive agenda to counter the harmful policies that have marginalized millions of Texans. In her work for elected officials at the state and local levels, Cynthia has helped craft policies to increase civic engagement and voter turnout, improve transparency in the state's procurement processes, change how people interact with the criminal justice system, fund initiatives to advance reproductive justice, and prioritize equitable growth through thoughtful economic development.

Cynthia grew up in suburban Dallas and rural North Texas. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees are in political science, where she studied human rights, civil wars, political violence, democratic institutions, and social choice theory. Upon moving back to Texas, Cynthia enrolled at the LBJ School of Public Affairs to study the issue areas she cares the most about, including civil rights, immigration, and the Texas Legislature. Outside of Texas, Cynthia lived briefly in northern California as a child, and western New York State and the Washington, DC, area as an adult. She is thrilled to be back home. Her career has included jobs in government, politics, academia, and the nonprofit world.

Cynthia enjoys running at sunrise, going to the movie theater in the afternoon, and playing NBA 2K at night. She's been known to spend her free time evangelizing about Ann Richards' "New Texas," wandering around the Capitol to look at the composite photos of previous legislatures, and collaborating on book projects about Texas political history.