Martha Castañeda is director of International Programs at The Council of State Governments West (CSG West). She oversees the U.S.-Mexico State Alliance Partnership—a collaborative, multi-branch program aimed at strengthening cooperation among state officials and institutions of both countries. The partnership promotes and convenes binational exchanges among border legislators, attorneys general, treasurers, lieutenant governors and other officials to enhance the role of state officials in addressing shared public policy concerns that transcend international borders.
Castañeda also oversees the Border Legislative Conference, which is administered by CSG West and its regional partner in the South, the Southern Legislative Conference. The BLC serves as a mechanism for ongoing dialogue and collaboration among state legislators in the United States and Mexico. The goal of the program is to empower border state legislators to engage in the binational agenda and provide input and direction in the development of policy between both countries. In addition, she serves as primary staff for the North America Summit held during annual meetings and the newly created CSG West Canada Relations Committee.
Prior to rejoining CSG West in 2012, Castañeda served as outreach director for the Conference of Western Attorneys General binational capacity training Rule of Law program with Mexico, BLC director from 2008 to 2010 and BLC program associate from 2005 to 2010. She was a bilingual health educator at a Sacramento-based women’s health clinic and served as liaison to national legal advocacy organizations from 2003 to 2005. Prior to that, she managed two programs—social justice and cultural arts—at the nonprofit Freedom Bound Center in Sacramento. She was recognized with the Dolores Huerta Award for community organizing by the Freedom Bound Center in 2002.
Castañeda earned a bachelor’s degree in government-international relations, with an emphasis on Latin America from California State University at Sacramento.