Staff – Alliance for a Better Utah

Alliance for a Better Utah Staff

Chase Thomas

Executive Director

Chase joined Better Utah in January 2016 as our Policy and Advocacy Associate. He first started working with Better Utah as a Mary Alice Woolley Public Service Fellow from the BYU Law Class of 2015, a generous year-long fellowship from the BYU Law School, from which Chase graduated in April 2015.

During his time at BYU, Chase interned with the ACLU of Utah, as well as in New York City with the LGBT Project of the National ACLU. Chase was very involved at BYU as an editor on the BYU Law Review, chair of the Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, and the leader of the first-year mentoring program. He was also president of BYU Law’s chapter of the American Constitution Society—a national network of progressive lawyers, judges, and policymakers—helping contribute to a more robust discussion at BYU surrounding legal and policy issues affecting Utah and the nation.

Before moving to Utah for law school, Chase graduated with a degree in political science from Arizona State University. Although he was born and raised in Arizona, he lived in the Fort Worth, Texas area for two years while he served a mission for the LDS Church during which he learned to speak Spanish and gained an appreciation for the hardships immigrants face while living in this country without documentation.

Chase stepped into the role of executive director in August of 2018.

o: 385.355.4867

chase@betterutah.org

Katie Matheson

Communications Director

Katie joined Better Utah in December 2017 as the Communications Director. She has a background in music, and graduated from Westminster College in Princeton, NJ in 2010 with a degree in vocal performance. Katie spent the years following her graduation teaching music, performing around the New York Metro area, running a business, and working with community groups to get young people involved in music.

In 2014, Katie and her husband moved to Utah to be with her family, and shortly thereafter had their first child. She was then brought on as Social Media Manager and Education Outreach Specialist with the Utah Philharmonic, a community orchestra based out of Riverton, while also performing occasionally and teaching music in Park City. In early 2017, Katie co-founded Utah’s CD4 Coalition, a citizen group focused on political accountability, and currently serves as chair of the board.

o: 385.313.0167

katie@betterutah.org

Lauren Simpson

Policy Fellow

Lauren joined Better Utah in March 2018 as a Mary Alice Woolley Public Service Fellow from Brigham Young University Law School. She is a licensed member of the Utah State Bar.

While attending BYU Law, Lauren served as an editor on the BYU Law Review and performed legal research for professors through the BYU Law Library. She also worked as an extern for Justice Thomas R. Lee of the Utah Supreme Court. In 2017, she travelled to an immigration detention center in Dilley, Texas to volunteer with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, a nonprofit assisting women and children claiming asylum in the United States. There, Lauren prepared refugees from Central America and the Caribbean for interviews with asylum officers and drafted declarations for immigration appeals. She returned to Texas in 2018 as adjunct faculty to assist a new group of BYU Law student volunteers and continue working with refugees.

Lauren completed her undergraduate studies at BYU, where she studied Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. She covered Utah politics as a student reporter and volunteered for three years with Project Read, a nonprofit focused on adult literacy. She learned Spanish while serving the Latinx community as a missionary for the LDS Church in northern Los Angeles, California.

lauren@betterutah.org

Kyle Garahana

Director of Research

Kyle joined ABU in early 2018 as a Communications Intern and accepted a full-time staff position as Director of Research later that year. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Communications during the Fall of 2017 from the University of Utah. As a student at the U, Kyle was a sports writer for the Utah Daily Chronicle. He is also a member of the National Honor Society and was named to University’s Dean’s List.

Prior to graduating from the University of Utah, Kyle earned an Associates of Science Degree in Speech Communications in 2016. During his time at S.L.C.C., Kyle produced a weekly entertainment show titled “What’s Bruin”which he also wrote, edited, and directed.He also hosted a campus radio show highlighting local music and was a sports commentator for live broadcasts of Bruin sporting events broadcasts.

Kyle stays engaged in local politics and serves as a delegate and precinct chair in House District 33. In his free time, he enjoys playing volleyball, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.  

kyle@betterutah.org