City of Pittsburgh Council District 8
The Team

Erika Staaf Strassburger, Chief of Staff

Prior to joining the office of Councilman Gilman as Chief of Staff, Erika Strassburger spent nine years working with environmental advocacy organizations PennEnvironment and Environment New Hampshire.
Erika has led local, state, and federal campaigns on a variety of issues that impact the Pittsburgh region, including river restoration, air quality, and shale gas extraction. She also engaged in fundraising, campaign development, media and communication, grassroots engagement and coalition-building for the organization.
Erika has contributed to several campaign and legislative victories, helping to pass renewable energy incentives, greenhouse gas emission reduction standards, and energy efficiency appliance standards.
Erika graduated from with honors from Bucknell University with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in International Relations. She and her husband live in Squirrel Hill.
Jodi Hirsh, Director of Communications
Jodi Hirsh has spent the majority of her career as a communications and advocacy professional in the non-profit world. Jodi has developed and implemented countless public policy, communications, advocacy, and legislative strategies designed to expand reproductive, economic, and civil rights and justice for various organizations and issue campaigns. 
In addition to serving as Director of Communications for Councilman Gilman, Jodi is the founder and principal consultant at JustAction, LLC, where she specializes in strategic communications, message development, and issue advocacy.
Jodi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, History and Women’s Studies from the University of Rochester and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from the Graduate School of International and Public Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
Lara Sullivan, Legislative Associate
Lara Sullivan graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Political Science and English Literature in April 2014. Lara’s educational focus centered on political theory and studying the plight of women and minorities through the medium of literature.

Lara has spent her college years serving in various political leadership positions. In these various roles, she has focused on working with students specifically helping young individuals mobilize around progressive issues important to their lives and fighting apathy that tends to plague college campuses. Lara worked to enhance both political participation and civic awareness among newly registered voters.

Although not native to Pittsburgh, Lara is excited to help continue to strengthen relationships in the community between District 8’s large educational sector and residents. Lara is also interested in working to keep young people in the city of Pittsburgh through supporting the development of start-up companies and making Pittsburgh a more ideal location for young people to call home through transportation reform and modernizing city communication.


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