Our Team

After being voted one of two “Up and Comer” Capitol lobbyists in 2006, and receiving the “Rising Star” award by Capitol Weekly Magazine, Emily Pappas became a Partner with Lehman Levi Pappas and Sadler in 2009. Ms. Pappas merged her clients with Erin Niemela’s to form the firm Niemela Pappas & Associates. Ms. Pappas directly manages a wide variety of clients, ranging from product manufacturers in the agricultural, technology, energy and food processing fields to local governments, recyclers, and educational institutions.

Her expertise in both the legislative and regulatory branches of government has resulted in clients securing their desired outcomes in the Legislature and in the rule-making process, as well as obtaining significant financial grant assistance from state agencies.
Emily’s skills have been honed by experience working in the White House, the U.S. Embassy in France, the California Governor’s Office, the State Senate, and at the local level in the Central Valley. She also excelled in her educational endeavors – graduating with highest honors and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California at Davis in three years; completed studies at the Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University; and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from California State University at Sacramento.
Adding to her other accolades, in September 2014 Emily was named to the Capitol’s 100 Best and Brightest List. Here’s what they had to say about her: “When we asked Capitol insiders for the Capitol’s best lobbyist, Emily Pappas, a partner with Lehman Levi Pappas & Sadler, topped several lists. Republicans and Democrats respect how “Pappas has fought her way to the top while keeping a great attitude”. As the legislature increasingly kicks decisions to state agencies, Pappas’ expertise at the regulatory level helps her deliver big wins for product manufacturers in the agricultural, technology, energy and food processing sectors. For those clients, a victory at the regulatory level can make the difference between big profits and bankruptcy.”

Since 1994, Erin Niemela has worked for three California Democratic Leaders including as Chief of Staff for former Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata for more than a decade. In addition to Perata, Erin worked for Democratic Leaders Willie Brown and Richard Katz and former Assembly member Tom Bates.
Former owner of her own firm, Erin secured two of three CEQA exemptions in the state’s history and successfully sponsored legislation to create a landmark tax break for the solar industry. She has worked within coalitions to successfully pass the state’s 33% renewable portfolio standard and extend the state’s film tax credit. As a staff person, she oversaw the Senate passage of the state’s Greenhouse Gas Law, headed Senate staff-level negotiations on a $38 billion dollar infrastructure bond package passed by the voters in 2006, worked on the first iteration of the water bond which was ultimately placed on the 2010 ballot, and provided management of the Senate version of the state budget, and caucus policy agendas. Erin also served on the Board of Registered Nursing as the Senate public member appointee from 2009-2014.

Prior to joining Niemela Pappas & Associates, Jaime Minor served as Executive Aide and Grants Director for then U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. In addition to managing the grant program and traveling as the Leader’s primary aide on the west coast, Jaime covered agriculture, water, science, women’s health, education and arts issues.
Before joining Leader Pelosi’s staff, Jaime served as an aide in Congresswoman Lois Capps’ District office in Santa Barbara, and coordinated her reelection campaign in 2012. She started her political career interning for Senator Ted Kennedy’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in Washington D.C., and subsequently joined the staff of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly in Indiana. She has also served as a grassroots campaign consultant and fundraising director for a number of state and national organizations including the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, League of Conservation Voters, Democratic National Committee and Equality California.
Jaime received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame, where she was also captain of the varsity Track and Field team.

Anne Kelly has 40 years of legislative and political experience in and around the State Capitol. She worked for fourteen years in the California Legislature, serving in high level staff positions for the leadership in both Houses, and as a consultant to several committees. During this time, Ms. Kelly’s primary focus was on all aspects of state and local government finance. Following the passage of Proposition 13, she served three years as a lobbyist for the County Supervisors Association of California. In the 1990s, Ms. Kelly immersed herself in issues relating to the private sector by serving as the Senior Vice President for Government Relations at the California Manufacturers Association for four years, and subsequently as a Partner in the lobbying firm Heim, Noack, Kelly & Spahnn. In 2003, Ms. Kelly and former Congressman Rick Lehman founded the new firm Lehman English Kelly & O’Keefe where she represented a wide range of public and private sector clients until 2009. Since that time, Ms. Kelly has been a consultant to Ms. Pappas and will serve in the same role with Niemela Pappas & Associates. Ms. Kelly earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Before joining Niemela Pappas & Associates, Tiffany Phan worked for the Sacramento consulting firm of Bertolina & Barnato, specializing in fundraising and political strategy. While a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with an emphasis on Public Service, Tiffany learned the art of grassroots organizing and event planning while interning for Planned Parenthood. As a participant in the University of California DC program, she assisted Division attorneys as an Undergraduate Intern in the Federal Coordination and Compliance Section within the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The National Association of Asian Pacifics in Politics and Public Affairs named Tiffany to their 2019 40 Under 40 List, recognizing her as one of the top AAPI political operatives.


Since 2004, Matt Roman has been working in and around California’s Capitol.  Prior to joining Niemela Pappas & Associates, he served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the California Trucking Association (CTA).  In this capacity he represented CTA’s membership before the legislature, negotiated for beneficial outcomes on both legislation and budget asks, and advised their Board of Directors on CTA’s political activities.  During his time with CTA they were able to ensure a portion of GGRF funding always went towards the replacement of old trucks, negotiated a new inspection programs for trucks while ensuring safeguards and minimal impact for the industry, and also helped negotiate the regulatory reform package for the trucking industry included in SB 1, California’s landmark infrastructure package.

During his time with the legislature Matt worked as the lead policy advisor for Assemblymember Eric Linder who served as Vice Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee that oversees the state’s transportation infrastructure, goods movement, and regional transportation agencies.  Serving as Asm. Linder’s Capitol Director he built his legislative reputation as a nonpartisan who could work with all parties. As a result, Asm. Linder helping him secured the endorsement of SEIU, the first Republican in 26 years to receive such an endorsement.  He also served as the Legislative Director for Assemblymember Bill Berryhill, working on agricultural and water issues affecting the Central Valley.

Matt’s time with CTA and the Legislature honed his ability to work with both sides of the aisle and to build coalitions to advance policies that helped the constituents and businesses he represented.