Coordinator, State Legislative Policy

PEN America, a growing nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a detail-oriented, creative, and motivated candidate to serve as a state legislative policy coordinator. This position will focus primarily on tracking and analyzing state legislation across PEN America’s areas of focus, including restrictions on free expression in higher education and K-12 schools, book bans and libraries, artistic freedom, disinformation, press freedom, digital rights, and other emerging areas. This is a full-time position that can be based at PEN America’s offices in New York City or Washington, D.C.

The coordinator will support PEN America’s efforts to identify, track, and analyze legislation introduced in state legislatures that will have an impact on free expression and intersects with priority issues for PEN America. This will involve identifying bills as they are introduced, analyzing legislative text, creating processes for tracking the legislation’s progress, and collaborating with relevant team members regarding policy positions and continued and emerging trends across the U.S. The coordinator will work with staff across PEN America’s free expression programs and Washington advocacy teams to coordinate and support legislative advocacy efforts. They will be responsible for assessing the political landscape of priority states, assisting in the development of PEN America’s messaging surrounding priority legislation, and contributing to reporting, research, and press engagement. 

The successful candidate will be a dynamic, highly-organized individual possessing experience with legislative analysis, excellent research and writing skills, and the ability to work collaboratively on a growing team. They will be attuned to the rhythm of state legislative sessions and will bring their previous experience analyzing legislation to the role. This position offers significant opportunity for professional growth in policy analysis, campaign development, advocacy work, coalition-building, and free expression policy generally.

In alignment with PEN America’s current policy, all applicants should be available to report to the office at least three days per week. This policy is subject to change.


  • Identify, track, and analyze legislation introduced in state legislatures that will impact free expression
  • Work with and support PEN America staff working on state-level policy; serve as coordinating hub for state-level legislative analysis and advocacy; ensure internal information sharing 
  • Where relevant, support the cultivation of relationships, coalitions, and partnerships with other organizations working on free expression policy at the state level
  • Synthesize findings from legislative research and analysis and ensure relevant teams within PEN America are aware of emerging trends and important developments
  • Contribute to research and writing of PEN America’s ongoing reports related to legislative threats to free expression
  • Assist with drafting and editing press statements, grant reports, and proposals as needed
  • Other responsibilities as defined

All PEN America staff are considered to be stakeholders in the development of our shared organization. As such, staff play a role in varied activities within the workplace as part of their job responsibilities. These may include committees or task forces to work on office issues, diversity and inclusion, strategy projects, training, or other initiatives.


  • Bachelor’s degree and at least two years of related work experience 
  • Experience in tracking and analyzing legislation at the state level
  • Superb organizational and process management skills, with attention to detail and developing efficient systems 
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, and ability to think creatively and collaboratively and to proactively develop and implement problem-solving approaches 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Formidable work ethic, high energy level, and capacity to multitask effectively
  • Exemplary team player with professional demeanor and ability to work independently
  • Proficiency with Google Suite, Excel, and Zoom (WordPress and Canva a plus)
  • Commitment to PEN America’s mission, centered on the celebration and defense of free expression for all. Willingness to defend the right to engage in speech that may be offensive and discomfiting and that reflects a wide range of political opinions and ideologies. PEN America promotes open and respectful dialogue across difference, and we work to allow a diversity of perspectives to flourish.
  • Commitment to PEN America’s advocacy and support for writers, artists and their allies around the world, without regard to the ideology or actions of their country’s government

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and full benefits. The salary range for this position is $50k-$65k, commensurate with experience. Candidates whose expectations are outside this range are welcome to apply, as PEN America is open to considering talented individuals at varying stages of their careers. PEN America’s benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision health insurance, paid time off, 10 paid holidays, pre-tax commuter benefits and a 403b retirement plan.


Please submit a cover letter, resume, and unedited writing sample to [email protected]. Use “Coordinator – State Legislative Policy” with your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Coordinator – State Legislative Policy – Jane Doe”). Please also share where you heard about this position in the body of your email. Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

No phone calls, please. 


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.