Ashleigh J. Owens
Special Assistant District Attorney
for External Affairs
Ashleigh Owens serves as the Special Assistant District Attorney for External Affairs, a position that oversees RCDA’s media relations, intergovernmental operations, and community affairs. She joined RCDA in January 2016.
Ashleigh began her career working on the 2006 long-shot campaign for U.S. Senator James Webb of Virginia. After he was successfully elected, she joined his legislative staff on Capitol Hill covering veterans’ affairs, homeland security, and the judiciary, among other issues. In this role, she worked at length on the expansion of veterans’ education benefits, and specifically on the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which Webb authored and later successfully passed, and nominations for federal judgeships.
This experience drove her passion for public service and the law and led her to attend law school years later where she served as a summer clerk for the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland and the Office of the Legal Advisor at the U.S. Department of State.
After law school, Ashleigh continued her career in public service, as Chief of Staff to the Chair of the New York City Finance Committee, the Council Member responsible for negotiating and managing the City’s $70 billion dollar budget with the Mayor. Having joined his staff just two weeks prior to Superstorm Sandy hit and decimated his district, Ashleigh worked for months on the ground in recovery and rebuilding efforts and simultaneously and successively at City Hall advocating on behalf of those impacted by the storm.
Ashleigh has also managed and served in senior roles on numerous competitive political campaigns across the country, including two on Staten Island, overseeing all aspects of their day-to-day operations and multi-million dollar budgets, the hiring and management of extensive staff, the implementation of fundraising operations, and the coordination of media, mail, and research strategies, as well as relations with labor partners and advocacy organizations. As such, she has also served as an on the record spokesperson with city, state, and national press corps.
Ashleigh has a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from the University of Virginia and a juris doctorate from the Fordham University School of Law. At Fordham, Ashleigh was Editor-in-Chief of the Fordham International Law Journal and a member of the Brendan Moore Trial Advocacy Team. She was also the recipient of the Fordham Alumni Association Medal in Constitutional Law, an award presented to the top student in constitutional law in each graduating class.
In 2011, Ashleigh wrote and published “Confronting the Challenges of Domestic Violence Sentencing Policy: A Review of the Increasingly Global Use of Batterer Intervention Programs,”in the Fordham International Law Journal, a piece that has been cited by legal scholars and governmental agencies across the globe.
She lives in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island.