Cristen is a native Texan. She served as a policy advisor to Governor Rick Perry, focusing on natural resources issues. Later she was chief of staff to the Chairman of Appropriations in the Texas House of Representatives. A graduate of Texas A&M, she received her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law. Upon completing her degree, she served as the Executive Director for the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, in California, where she worked to expand the Center’s influence and impact on the Supreme Court of the United States and federal appellate courts. Cristen joined Mountain States Legal Foundation as Executive Vice President and COO in July 2017 and was promoted to President and CEO in March 2020.