September 27, 2019

Chris Kaiser will oversee the ACLU’s policy agenda, including the Smart Justice Campaign

NEW ORLEANS – The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana has hired Chris Kaiser, an experienced civil rights and victims’ advocate, as its Advocacy Director, responsible for developing and advancing the organization’s policy agenda throughout the state. Previously, Kaiser spent ten years at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), a non-profit educational and advocacy organization committed to ending sexual violence in Texas, where he served as both staff attorney and director of public policy.

“Chris is an experienced attorney and advocate who has dedicated his career to protecting the rights of vulnerable people and communities,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “As we intensify our efforts to defend civil liberties across the state, Chris’s experience and leadership will be invaluable to advancing a policy agenda that combats discrimination, reduces mass incarceration, and upholds Louisianans’ fundamental rights.”  

Throughout the year, the ACLU of Louisiana works with policymakers, coalition partners and impacted individuals to pass laws that protect civil rights and oppose legislation that would infringe on them. At TAASA, Kaiser shepherded multiple legislative agendas, working with coalition partners, lawmakers, community leaders and agencies to prevent sexual violence and protect survivors.

“I’m incredibly honored to be joining an organization that fights fiercely and tirelessly for the fundamental rights of all people, especially marginalized and minority communities who face systemic discrimination and abuse,” said Kaiser. “Effective advocacy starts from the ground up, and I’m looking forward to working with Louisiana’s strong community of advocates and activists to build on the progress that’s been made and confront injustice wherever it exists.” 

Among the ACLU of Louisiana’s top priorities is the Smart Justice Campaign, which aims to reduce the state’s prison population by 50 percent over the next ten years through sweeping reforms to sentencing, pretrial detention and policing.

“Having spent ten years advocating for sexual assault survivors, I have seen first-hand that backward ‘tough-on-crime’ approaches fail to benefit crime victims and perpetuate the cycle of trauma and abuse,” Kaiser continued. “For everyone impacted by the criminal legal system, we can and we must do better.” 

Kaiser’s experience in Texas also included confronting unconstitutional attacks on reproductive freedom, discriminatory immigration laws, inhumane prison conditions, abusive pre-trial detention practices, and discriminatory anti-LGBTQ legislation. He wrote a friend-of-the-court brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case striking down unconstitutional abortion restrictions in Texas. 

With the University of Texas School of Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic, Kaiser assisted domestic violence survivors with their parole and clemency applications. He also worked with the Ohio Innocence Project and the Prison Justice League, investigating innocence claims and advocating to improve conditions in Texas prisons. 

Kaiser has a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati and a B.A. from the University of Kentucky.