Government Affairs Professionals

Meet our Government Affairs senior staff:

John Graziano, Jr., President

John Graziano is the President of CHMS and serves as the principal lobbyist for many trade associations and private companies.  Mr. Graziano has over 25 years of experience in government affairs and association management and has served as Executive Director for numerous state and regional organizations. He previously served as Minority Leader of the Albany County Legislature for five years, and was a member of the County Legislature for nine years. Mr. Graziano is also a former Commissioner of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, and a Board Member of the Albany County Airport Authority.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the College of Saint Rose.

 
Denise Sheehan, Executive Vice President

Denise Sheehan is an experienced leader in both government and non-profit organizations. She has extensive experience in environmental and energy policy and served in several senior management positions, including Commissioner of NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

 Ms. Sheehan currently serves as Executive Vice President at CHMS. In that role, she provides day-to-day management oversight to the company’s overall operations and provides strategic advice and assistance to CHMS clients.  She also serves as a Senior Advisor to the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST).

Ms. Sheehan has 20 years experience in New York State government. She served for ten years in senior management positions at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation where she obtained extensive experience in environmental management, climate change mitigation, brownfields redevelopment, air quality protection, water resource management and fish, wildlife and land conservation. As Commissioner, she led the State’s effort to establish the first of its kind, cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions and instituted several new initiatives to protect the state’s climate.   Ms. Sheehan’s state government experience includes ten years at the NYS Division of the Budget where she directly handled budget development and implementation for the State’s environmental and energy related budgets.  She has also served on several state public authority and non-profit boards. 

Prior to joining CHMS, Ms. Sheehan served as the Executive Director of The Climate Registry, an international non-profit organization created and governed by US and Mexican states and Canadian provinces.  In that role, she led the organization’s efforts to establish protocols for the consistent measurement and reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and kept state and provincial leaders apprised of federal initiatives related to managing and regulating GHG emissions.

Ms. Sheehan also served as the Director of Planning for the Town of Colonie where she led efforts on bike-ped issues and oversaw the implementation of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and land-use code.  She recently served as an adjunct professor at University at Albany in the graduate program for Geography and Planning.  Ms. Sheehan serves as Vice Chair of the Red Cross Northeastern New York Regional Chapter.

Ms. Sheehan holds a Master in Public Administration from the University at Albany and a Bachelor’s degree on Economics from SUNY Oneonta.

 

Yomika S. Bennett, Senior Government Affairs Representative

Yomika Bennett currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor at CHMS. Ms. Bennett has more than 12 years experience in the government and non-profit sectors. She has extensive public policy and budget experience.  She is often sought out for her expertise in the area of transportation. Prior to joining the CHMS Team, Ms. Bennett served as the Assistant Secretary of Transportation in the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.   As Assistant Secretary, Ms. Bennett was responsible for overseeing and coordinating budget, policy and Governor initiatives for a portfolio of agencies and authorities that included the New York State Department of Transportation, the New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the New York State Bridge Authority.   She also served as Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. 

Prior serving as assistant secretary for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Ms. Bennett was the Director of State and Local Relations for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) from 2007 to 2010.  In that role, she was the liaison for NYSDOT and the NYS legislature, local elected officials and other external stakeholders such as industry and community groups.  Yomika was also responsible for advising the NYSDOT Commissioner and other Executive staff on matters related to the New York State Legislature such as the New York State Budget and the New York State Transportation Capital Program, as well as meeting regularly with state legislators to discuss legislative proposals and resolve departmental concerns.  Ms. Bennett has also served as the Executive Director for Assemblyman David F. Gantt and Senior Legislative Budget Analyst for the NYS Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell. 

Before she began her career in state government, Ms. Bennett was Coordinator of Institutional Research and Grants Support forSchenectady County Community College, and held a variety of positions in the private sector at Aetna and Prudential Health Care. Ms. Bennett is active in the community serving on the Board for Urban Art Experience and the Capital Regional Maritime Center and as Past President of the Albany School of Humanities Parent Teacher Association. 

Ms. Bennett holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the State University of New York in Albany where graduated Summa Cum Laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa

Rebecca Miller, Director of Government Affairs

Rebecca Miller serves as Director of Government Affairs at Capitol Hill Management Services. In that role, Ms. Miller works directly with clients to develop and implement comprehensive strategies to accomplish their policy goals.

Rebecca served as Association Manager and Government Affairs Coordinator at CHMS. As an association manager, Rebecca served as Executive Director of the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (NYSAND), while managing several other clients. In her capacity as Government Affairs Coordinator, Rebecca worked with a multitude of government affairs clients as an advocate, managing lobby days and grassroots advocacy, as well as monitoring and tracking legislation and ensuring clients’ needs were met.

Rebecca also served as Director of Communications for the New York Republican Party, where she coordinated state-wide campaign communications and events, wrote, distributed and monitored press releases and communications, developed effective communications strategies, and managed daily public relations operations. 

Rebecca holds a Master of Communications and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University at Albany. 

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Professional Network

Association Management Compnaies Institute American Society of Association Executives California Society of Association Executives New York Society of Association ExecutivesAssociation Executives of North CarolinaInternational Association of Travel Agents Network