Director of Legislative Affairs

Washington, DC, USA
Posted on  

Job Description

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), “Your Food and Health Watchdog,” is one of the nation’s leading public health advocacy organizations, with a 50-year record of fighting for public health and a food system that makes healthy, sustainable food accessible to all. We’ve led efforts to pass sweeping federal legislation that has shaped the food and nutrition environment in the United States. These include the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act and menu labeling provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which require nutrition information for packaged and restaurant foods; the Food Safety Modernization Act, which gave authority to the FDA to recall contaminated foods; and the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which requires clear labeling of foods containing leading allergens. We have also supported the passage of many state and local policies to improve school foods, put nutrition warnings on restaurant menus, and remove sugary drinks from children’s menus. More recently, CSPI has also been involved in broader public health advocacy on issues such as scientific integrity, alcohol policy, agency transparency, and the regulation of selected medical products.


CSPI is searching for a Director of Legislative Affairs to serve as the lead lobbyist for the organization. The Director of Legislative Affairs will develop and implement strategic policy objectives at the federal level, and in key states as needed. This position leads and oversees legislative, advocacy, and outreach activities to achieve CSPI’s federal campaign goals on a variety of issue areas which cover healthy food access (including through Farm Bill advocacy), child nutrition (including through Child Nutrition Reauthorization), values-based federal food service guidelines, food marketing to kids, kids’ meals in restaurants, food safety, food labeling, supplements and additives, and clinical diagnostic tests.  

The Director of Legislative Affairs reports to the Vice President of Programs, supervises two Policy Associates, and collaborates closely with various issue area leads. This position must be based in CSPI’s DC office, where we offer a hybrid work environment. 


As a public health organization, CSPI makes efforts to maintain a safe workplace for employees and visitors. We require all employees to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are eligible, and the vaccine is available to them. Proof of vaccination is required during the onboarding process.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities 

Legislative Strategy and Direction  

  • Provide strategic thinking, oversight, coordination, and management of CSPI’s congressional priorities. 
  • Establish, manage, maintain and oversee relationships with elected officials, government agencies, coalition partners and other stakeholders to advance CSPI’s public policy agenda.  
  • Lobby national policy makers and provide strategic input on policy priorities and strategy. 
  • Create and ensure systems are in place to manage legislative relationships, campaigns, and track national legislation and policies related to food, nutrition, and other public health issues identified by CSPI. 
  • Support regulatory efforts as relevant to congressional priorities.  
  • Coordinate with cross-organizational teams (e.g., Regulatory Affairs, Advocacy, Engagement, and Science) on shared goals and strategies. 
  • Support state and local efforts as relevant and provide strategic input on policy priorities consistent with federal efforts. 
  • Identify research gaps to further CSPI policy priorities and projects.  
  • Support corporate campaigns that target food and beverage companies to improve industry practices and engage companies on policies where our priorities align. 
  • Lead and organize Hill and coalition events, briefings, webinars, and meetings. 

Communications and Outreach  

  • Represent CSPI priorities within the more than 520 -member National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) coalition and expand the base of support for food and nutrition policies at the national level. 
  • Manage and review fact sheets, reports, letters, social media posts, infographics, talking points, and grassroots alerts. 
  • Represent CSPI at conferences, meetings, webinars, in coalitions, and serve as a spokesperson on congressional affairs in the media.  

Staff Management 

  • Mentor and manage a team of two staff to implement the overall federal and legislative strategy. 
  • Build a cohesive team culture by modeling CSPI core values. 
  • Identify and support professional development opportunities and provide ongoing performance evaluation as part of our feedback culture. 

Budget Management and Fundraising  

  • Develop and manage annual budget for the Legislative Affairs department. 
  • Manage grant deliverables and budgets for relevant projects.  
  • Collaborate with the Development department to explore opportunities for fundraising to support Congressional priorities. 

Qualifications and Preferences 

  • Commitment to CSPI’s work and mission.   
  • Bachelor’s degree and 10 years of work experience related to the role; or advanced degree and 8 years of work experience related to the role. 
  • Substantial lobbying or legislative experience. 
  • Recent experience working as a staff member with a U.S. Congressional office or committee preferred.
  • Experience in public health, food or nutrition policy preferred, but not required 
  • Experience in coalition building, strategic oversight of a large policy portfolio preferred. 
  • Experience working as a staff member within a U.S. Congressional office preferred. 
  • Demonstrated management/supervisorial workplace experience. 
  • A strong commitment to fostering a positive, collaborative, and strategic organizational culture and the ability to supervise, motivate, and evaluate staff. 
  • Commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the intersection of public health and social justice and ability to promote it throughout our work. 
  • Demonstrated experience engaging with campaigns, coalitions, and partners with diverse policy perspectives. 
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to speak effectively and persuasively. 
  • Excellent research and writing skills. 
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail. 
  • Excellent judgment and consistent professionalism, with the ability to take responsibility for multiple projects and deadlines.  
  • Ability to work independently, with supervision and as part of a team. 
  • Proficiency with MSOffice applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Familiarity with social media and other web-based research and advocacy tools. 
  • Ability to work additional hours as needed. 

CSPI on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion  

CSPI is committed to including and valuing diverse voices and fostering a culture that ensures all staff feel a sense of belonging and are encouraged to be their best selves. In that spirit, each of us is committed to putting in constant work to live up to our organization’s core values:

  • We are inclusive. We seek to foster an environment where all staff feel a sense of belonging and are affirmed. We are not looking for everyone to think and look the same. We actively welcome and value staff with different experiences, backgrounds, attributes, abilities, and perspectives.
  • We are open. We are honest and direct in how we communicate with each other in order to build trust and integrity within our organization. 
  • We are accountable. We acknowledge and assume responsibility for our actions.
  • We are kind. We communicate and treat one another in a respectful, generous, considerate, and compassionate way. 
  • We are collaborative. We work together for the common good and shared success. 


The salary range is $118,000 to $140,000, based on experience. CSPI offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes: 3 weeks of annual vacation leave; additional paid holiday leave between December 24 and January 1; 8 weeks of paid parental leave; excellent medical and dental insurance with CSPI paying a significant portion of employee and dependent premiums; and a 3% employer match contribution to the retirement plan after one year of service. We also offer ½ day Fridays.

To Apply  

Please utilize CSPI's Paylocity Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to apply for the position. You are required to submit a resume and cover letter highlighting relevant experience and interest. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

CSPI is committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspective, and skills and encourage people of diverse ages, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, disabilities, religions, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, work, and life experiences to apply.