Full List of NewDEAL Leaders Attending the 9th Annual Leaders Conference
Dorcey Applyrs, Councilmember, Albany, NY
The Hon. Dr. Dorcey Applyrs has built a personal and professional life in the City of Albany devoted to improving the quality of life for residents in her community, Albany’s First Ward. The Washington, D.C., native tackles health disparity, environmental safety and other quality of life issues affecting her constituents with a persistence and passion that city leaders have come to recognize and depend upon. Applyrs was elected to the City of Albany Common Council in 2014 and re-elected in 2018.
Dr. Applyrs has been acknowledged for her strong leadership and commitment to advocating for others. She has been instrumental in the start-up of new economic development projects and growth happening in the City's First Ward and securing community benefits for her constituents. Dr. Applyrs took the lead on advocating for the inclusion of an affordable housing requirement in the City of Albany's rezone legislation. Applyrs has hosted several economic empowerment summits city-wide focused on empowering women to become entrepreneurs and leaders in their field. She was named 40 Under 40 by the Albany Business Review, Young Alumni of Excellence by UAlbany and 2017 Women and Girls Ambassador by Girls Inc. of the Capital Region. Dr. Applyrs has been featured on the cover of HerLife New York Magazine and honored by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand with the 2017 Off the Sidelines Equality Advocate Award.
Loranne Ausley, Representative, Tallahassee, FL
Loranne Ausley was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2016 where she serves on the Commerce and Ways and Means Committees, as well as subcommittees on environment, agriculture and regulated industries. Loranne previously represented Florida’s Capital City in the same seat from 2000-2008 before retiring due to term limits. Ausley is also an attorney with Hollimon PA – a small Tallahassee firm. During her time in the Florida House, Loranne has established herself as an independent-minded leader unafraid to take on tough problems and find real solutions. Loranne is a sixth-generation Floridian who has held senior positions in federal and state government, working closely with some of Florida’s most respected leaders including Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles. Loranne is active in a number of local, state and national organizations. She was instrumental in creating Whole Child Leon, a community-based initiative focused on young children and their families. Loranne graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College with degrees in Economics and Politics, and earned her J.D. from the Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida with her husband Bill Hollimon and son, Will, age 14. Loranne is a runner and triathlete, and a two-time Ironman finisher (Chattanooga, 2016; Florida 2007).
Mandela Barnes, Lieutenant Governor, Wisconsin
Mandela Barnes serves as Wisconsin’s 45th Lieutenant Governor. He was elected on November 8, 2018. He is the first African-American to serve as a Lieutenant Governor in Wisconsin, and the second African-American to ever hold statewide office.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Lt. Gov. Barnes is the son of a public-school teacher and a United Auto Workers member, to whom he credits much of his success. He grew up attending Milwaukee Public Schools and graduated from John Marshall High School in 2003.
Lt. Gov. Barnes attended Alabama A&M University. After his time there, he worked for various political campaigns and in the city of Milwaukee mayor’s office, eventually becoming an organizer for Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope, a Milwaukee-based interfaith coalition that advocates social justice.
In 2012, at the age of 25, Lt. Gov. Barnes was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, where he served two terms. His tenure in the State Assembly included serving as Chair of the Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus and becoming a recognized leader on progressive economic policies and gun violence prevention legislation.
Within his current role, Lt. Gov. Barnes serves as the Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change while also serving as co-Chair of the New DEAL Climate Change Policy Group. The New DEAL is a national network of rising state and local elected leaders. The lieutenant governor uses a platform of sustainability and equity to fight for solutions that invest in opportunities and fairness for every child, person, and family in Wisconsin, regardless of zip code.
Lacey Beaty, Councilmember, Beaverton, OR
Councilor Beaty began her service on the Beaverton City Council in 2015. When she was elected at age 29 she became the youngest city councilor ever and only the 13th woman elected in Beaverton’s city government. Councilor Beaty worked early in her career to relocate a community Vietnam Veteran Memorial after the land it sat upon was sold. It now resides in Beaverton’s Veterans Memorial Park, where advocates have always wanted it to be. She also added a preference status in the city’s procurement code for veterans who own small businesses, as well as advocating for and influencing local leaders to make Beaverton a Purple Heart City. For these actions, Councilor Beaty was named Woman Veteran of the Year in 2016 by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. Councilor Beaty’s previous profession was in public health where she lead the ambitious expansion of school based health centers within many of the largest school districts in Oregon, delivering healthcare to thousands of students. Her real impact came from the work that happened outside of the exam room, where she worked to create a job academy for students who were not college bound right away. She worked with school districts so this class could be used as credit recovery for students who fell behind. She championed a policy change across all school districts to allow contraceptive access to students. For this innovate work, Portland Business Journal named her one of the “top 5 under 40” who have made a significant impact to the improvement of health care delivery. After the army, Councilor Beaty attended college using the Montgomery GI bill, and completed an associate’s degree in history, a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in management and organizational leadership.
Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Vice Mayor, Alexandria, VA
Elizabeth Bennett-Parker was elected to the Alexandria City Council in November 2018 and is the youngest woman elected to Council in Alexandria’s history. Prior to her election, she was appointed by Council to serve on the Community Criminal Justice Board and the Commission on Employment.
In her day job, Elizabeth co-leads Together We Bake, a nonprofit job training and personal development program for women in need. She is the founder of Fruitcycle, a social enterprise that produced healthy snacks from locally-sourced produce that would otherwise go to waste, while also providing jobs for women who had been homeless or formerly incarcerated. Recognizing a similarity in missions, Elizabeth merged Fruitcycle with Together We Bake in 2016. Elizabeth is a former Fulbright Fellow, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University, and received a Master’s from the University of London.
Taylor Berlin, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, Washington, DC
Taylor Berlin is not like other college students. In addition to being a student at the American University, she is serving in her second term as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. She also serves as the Treasurer of the Commission. Taylor first ran for office at 19 and is the youngest ANC officer in the history of Washington, DC. Since being elected, Taylor has also been elected as a delegate for the local Democratic club and serves as the only student representative on her university’s campus planning committees. Taylor is most interested in strengthening and enriching her campus’ relationship with the surrounding community and providing opportunities for all young people in Washington, DC. She improving pedestrian safety, providing affordable housing opportunities, and bringing new family-owned businesses to her quiet corner of the city.
Kate Bolz, Senator, Lincoln, NE
A proud sixth generation Nebraskan, Kate Bolz grew up on a family farm near Palmyra, outside of Lincoln. She has represented South Central Lincoln in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature since 2013.
In the Legislature, Kate works with both Republicans and Democrats to deliver an annual balanced budget that reflects Nebraska’s priorities. Her colleagues elected her to serve as vice chair of the Appropriations Committee, which proposes that budget. She is a member of the Legislature’s Executive Board and Retirement Committee. She also serves on several special committees. She is chair of the Economic Development Task Force, as well as a member of the Children’s Commission and the Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee.
In addition to her legislative work, Kate is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Association of Service Providers, an association of community-based disability service providers across the state. She is also an adjunct professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She is a Meals on Wheels volunteer at Tabitha, a member of the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Board of Directors, and an active member of both her hometown church, the Palmyra Presbyterian Church, and of First Plymouth Church in Lincoln.
Kate earned her bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan.
Charles Branson, District Attorney, Lawrence, KS
District Attorney Charles E. Branson, was first elected as District Attorney of the 7th Judicial District on November 2, 2004 and took office January 10, 2005. Since then Charles has been re-elected without opposition in 2008, 2012 and is unopposed in 2016.
Charles believes the prosecutor’s office must be more than just a mechanism to incarcerate offenders. He believes the office should support all facets of the community; from developing an active consumer protection division, starting a first of its kind property crimes compensation board to reimagining how victims of crime are addressed by the court system. Charles is an integral part of planning a local behavioral health court that will divert those with mental health problems away from the court system, sparing them criminal records that can jeopardize their support and housing.
Charles is also leading the charge in finding fair justice. He is actively engaged in state and national efforts to determine the best practices for prosecutors’ offices across the country. These efforts are aimed at making sure the rights of individuals are protected while serving the interests of justice. Where defendants are held accountable for their actions and crime victims are afforded the respect and dignity they deserve.
David Buchwald, State Assemblyman, White Plains, NY
David was elected in 2012 to the New York State Assembly, where he brings his experience as a local government official, an economic analyst and a tax attorney, and his belief that public policy can help people obtain the skills and opportunities they need to provide for their families and contribute to their communities. In the Assembly, David has worked to strengthen ethics, make smart investments in infrastructure, and consolidate services in order to make government more efficient. He has taken the lead on such issues as keeping the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla in New York State and stripping pensions from convicted officials that violate the public trust. David has gained particular notoriety this year for his successful push to adopt a law allowing the sharing of the New York State tax returns of top government officials, a law which Donald Trump is now suing to block.
Before serving in the Assembly, David worked at National Economic Research Associates where his research focused on antitrust economics and then as a tax attorney at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. He was also a member of the White Plains Common Council, where he advocated for enhanced budget scrutiny, authored legislation strengthening the city’s code of ethics, and successfully pushed for zoning changes that brought dozens of good-paying jobs in scientific research to his community. David is a graduate of Yale University, where he received a B.S. in Physics, as well as Harvard Law School, where he received a J.D. cum laude, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, from which he obtained a Masters in Public Policy.
David is running for Congress in 2020 in New York's 17th Congressional District (Rockland and Westchester Counties).
Christopher Cabaldon, Mayor, West Sacramento, CA
Christopher Cabaldon was first elected Mayor of West Sacramento in 1998, and is serving his eleventh term. He is the first mayor elected directly by the voters of the city, after serving four terms as Mayor on the city council. The Sacramento Bee says that “under his leadership, the city has become one of the municipal stars of the region.”
Cabaldon acts in a leadership role at the United States Conference of Mayors, where he is Chair of the Jobs, Education, and the Workforce Committee. He is also a member of Sacramento Area Council of Governments Board, has served on a variety of regional transportation and air quality agency boards, and is California’s commissioner on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education.
In 2019, Cabaldon was named the first Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair in the Department of Public Policy and Administration at CSU Sacramento.
Mayor Cabaldon’s work on transportation, land use, water, air quality and climate change, housing, and economic development at the local, regional, and statewide scales has won numerous awards, and has become the model for effective regional collaborative action. Mr. Cabaldon earned his B.S. in environmental economics from UC Berkeley, and a Master of Public Policy & Administration degree from CSU Sacramento, where he received the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Laura Capps, School Board Member, Santa Barbara, CA
Laura Capps, a proud graduate of Santa Barbara public schools, is a member of the Board of Education for Santa Barbara Unified School District. Her son is in the first grade at the elementary school she attended, and she is the only member on the board with a student currently in the district. In the short time she has been in office, she has lead the charge to solarize campus buildings, instituted a new program to register eligible students to vote, and worked with her colleagues to close a $2 million dollar budget shortfall.
Laura has devoted her career to public service, serving as a White House speechwriter for President Clinton, a communications director on John Kerry’s presidential campaign, an advisor in the United States Senate to Senator Edward Kennedy, part of Al Gore’s climate change campaign, and an ocean conservation advocate. In addition to her service with the Santa Barbara Unified Board of Education, Laura manages her own public affairs practice collaborating with non-profit organizations on issues of climate, poverty, immigration, and childhood hunger. Active in the community, Laura is President of the Board of the Community Environmental Council and a Director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. She recently served on the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women and on the Board of Trustees for her alma mater, University of California, Berkeley. She has taught college courses on Congress and politics at the University of California Washington Center and holds a Masters in History with Distinction from the London School of Economics.
Ryan Coonerty, County Supervisor, Santa Cruz, CA
Ryan is Chair of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the two-time former Mayor of the City of Santa Cruz. He is also an entrepreneur, author, and educator. He is the host of the NewDEAL’s "An Honorable Profession" podcast. He was the cofounder of NextSpace Coworking + Innovation (now owned by Pacific Workplaces), a lecturer on law and government at UC Santa Cruz, and co-author of The Rise of the Naked Economy – How to Benefit from the Changing Workplace and wrote Etched in Stone – Enduring Words from our National Monuments. Ryan was selected by the Aspen Institute to be a Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership as one of "the nation’s most promising young elected officials.”
On the Board of Supervisors, Ryan has created incentives to support affordable workforce housing, led the expansion of the public safety and treatment programs, led efforts to sue oil and gas companies for carbon emissions, established a Thrive by Three Fund to support families' health and educational outcomes.
Molly Cowan, Vice Chair of Select Board, Exeter, NH
Molly Cowan is currently the Northeast Regional Director for State and Local campaigns for EMILY’s List, where she works to elect womxn to office up and down the ballot. Previously, she worked for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England/Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. She serves as the Vice Chair of the Exeter New Hampshire Select Board. Additionally, she serves on the board of the New Hampshire Stonewall Democrats, and has served on the board of the New Hampshire Chapter of New Leaders Council. Molly’s first job out of college was in 2004, managing state Senate candidate Maggie Hassan’s successful bid for office - and the rest is history. Molly is also the mother of Ben, who is eight (and is secretly a ninja), and Sam, who is six (and is not-so-secretly an excellent cook). She has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of New Hampshire, and a Bachelors in Political Science from Binghamton University.
Anthony Daniels, House Majority Leader, Huntsville, AL
Anthony Daniels currently represents the 53rd District in the Alabama State House of Representatives and is the youngest and first African American Minority Leader of the Alabama House of Representatives.
Rep. Daniels is proud to be part of what NewDEAL stands for and he looks forward to helping his district, state, and nation grow by sharing ideas with like-minded people. A progressive economic plan is How We Grow in Alabama. His Growler Bill, passed in 2016, allows local microbreweries to sell growlers, increase revenue, and hire people, basically a small business expansion bill. He and his colleagues introduced a Farm to schools bill. This bill gives local farmers an opportunity to sell directly to school systems, up to 150,000 worth of food and produce. Together with his fellow progressive leaders, he will continue to push for smart, pro-growth policies that benefit all Americans.
Kerry Donovan, Senator, Vail, CO
Kerry Donovan was elected to the Colorado State Senate in November 2014 to represent Senate District 5, which includes seven counties on the Western Slope, the upper Arkansas Valley of Colorado, and her hometown of Vail. As Senator, Kerry has tackled a wide variety of issues to help build a Colorado that works for everyone -- including economic development in rural areas, access to quality public education, renewable energy, conservation of Colorado’s wildlife and landscape, and access to public lands. Kerry currently serves on the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, and the Senate Local Government Committee.
Prior to being elected Senator, Kerry served on the Vail Town Council for four years, and served on a number of other town commissions. She also worked for worked for several community-focused nonprofits, and served as the Director of Academics for the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail. When she's not at the Capitol or meeting with constituents in her district, Kerry runs her small family ranch where she raises cattle and grows vegetables for local restaurants.
Bob Duff, Senate Majority Leader, Norwalk, CT
Bob Duff has served as a state senator for his hometown of Norwalk, CT since his election in 2004. Bob has earned a reputation as a consumer watchdog. As Chair of the legislature’s Banking Committee, Bob worked to safeguard Connecticut homeowners from the ravages of predatory lending by creating a package of first-in-the-nation reforms to reduce the number of home foreclosures in the state. Bob’s consumer advocacy continued as he went on to Chair the Energy and Technology Committee. As Chair, Bob championed two pieces of major energy legislation which taken together implement a new comprehensive energy strategy for Connecticut, restructuring support for renewable sources of electricity to provide for cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy for consumers and businesses.
Under Bob’s tenure as Majority Leader, the Senate Democratic caucus has achieved numerous legislative victories. Most recently, the Senate Democratic caucus passed legislation standing up for DREAMers, rewriting the state education funding formula, the National Popular Vote, net neutrality, data privacy, health care access, gun safety, paid family medical leave, LGBTQ rights and equal pay for equal work.
Amir Farokhi, Councilmember, Atlanta, GA
Elected in 2017, Amir Farokhi serves on Atlanta's City Council representing the City's District 2. Professionally, he has served as Director of Strategy at BrightHouse; Chief Operating Officer of College Advising Corps; Founder and Executive Director of GeorgiaForward; and practiced commercial litigation with an international law firm.
In 2011, 2012 and 2013, Councilmember Farokhi was named among the Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine and included in the magazine's 40 Under 40 list. He was a 2011 Marshall Memorial Fellow, Term Member with the Council on Foreign Relations and Truman National Security Project member. His focus on City Council is on strengthening Atlanta's transportation infrastructure, bolstering its affordable housing policies, and improving the quality of City services.
Bill Ferguson, Senate President, Baltimore, MD
A lifelong Maryland resident, Bill made Baltimore City his home when he joined Teach for America after graduating from Davidson College with a double major in political science and economics. From 2005 to 2007, Bill taught U.S. history and U.S. government to ninth and tenth graders in a breakout academy of one of Baltimore’s most challenged high schools. Senator Ferguson is married to fellow Teach for America alum Lea Ferguson (Baltimore City, ’05). They live in Patterson Park with their son Caleb and daughter Cora.
Barry Finegold, Senator, Andover, MA
Senator Barry Finegold was elected in 2018 to represent the Second Essex and Middlesex District that includes all of Andover, Dracut, Lawrence and Tewksbury, a seat he previously held from 2010 to 2015. He currently serves as the Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws and Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. He is also a founding and managing partner of Dalton & Finegold, LLP, specializing in Residential Real Estate and Commercial Real Estate.
Barry Finegold was raised in Andover and Tewksbury and attended public school in both towns. He played football at Andover High School and went on to play for Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. He graduated from F&M with a major in government and a business concentration.
Once he returned to Andover, Barry decided to run for the Board of Selectman, taking on longtime incumbents to win and become the youngest Selectman in the town’s history at age 24. A year later, in 1996, he won election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Democrat representing the 17th Essex District consisting of parts of Andover, Tewksbury and Lawrence. He was the youngest member of his freshman class.
Working during the day and going to class at night, Barry put himself through Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, graduating in 1998, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar the same year. At age 29, he founded the law firm of Dalton & Finegold in Andover. He continues to work as a partner at the firm, which specializes in real estate, estate planning and corporate law.
He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1999 he won the Kennedy School Fenn Award for Political Leadership, and in 2003, he was selected as one of the top 100 young “Democrats to Watch” by the Democratic Leadership Council.
In 2009, he was named Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. In this position, he championed renewable energy policies that have helped make Massachusetts a leader in clean energy.
Barry took on a contested primary and general election for the State Senate seat in 2010, and went on to win the race to represent the Second Essex and Middlesex District that includes all of Andover, Dracut, Lawrence and Tewksbury. He won reelection in 2012, sweeping every precinct of all four communities.
While in the Senate, Barry continued with this spirit of taking on new challenges – this time with education and election law reform. Under his leadership, the Senate recently passed the most significant election reform bill in decades, modernizing our election laws and making Massachusetts a national leader in ensuring free, fair and accessible elections. The bill included provisions providing for early voting, same day registration, election audits, online voter registration, and pre-registration for 16 and 17-year olds.
Barry lives in Andover with his wife, Amy, three children, Ava, Ella and Max, and the newest member of the Finegold family, Otis the bulldog.
Adrian Fontes, County Recorder, Maricopa County, AZ
Adrian is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, having served on active duty from 1992 to 1996, and was nominated for a meritorious commission.
His service to our country taught him the importance of dedication, discipline, and sacrifice to forcefully fight for the American dream. After leaving active duty, Adrian received his Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University before continuing on to the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver.
Since graduating from law school, Adrian has spent his career advocating for justice and fighting for those who are disadvantaged — first as a prosecutor with the Denver District Attorney and then for the Maricopa County Attorney’s office and the Arizona Attorney General’s office before entering private practice.
As County Recorder, he has worked to bring a renewed energy and vision to the office, with the goal of rebuilding public trust in the election system in Maricopa County. He has focused on the voters’ experience, accountability, and security. Adrian will continue to work to make sure that every Maricopa County citizen who is eligible to vote is able to vote, whether at their kitchen table completing their early ballot or at the booth on Election Day — and that all of their ballots are counted.
Mike Frerichs, State Treasurer, Illinois
Mike Frerichs was elected Illinois State Treasurer in 2014. As an Illinois State Senator from 2008 to 2014, he served an active voice on behalf of Illinois’ farming community as Chairman of the Agricultural Committee, advocating for advancements in clean bio fuels.
During his time in the legislature, Mike focused on a number of ideas to spur economic growth. He led an effort to improve tax incentives that encourage businesses to locate in high unemployment areas; he worked to increase science and math education standards in Illinois high schools; and he championed the Emerging Technology Industries Act, a bill that would provide grants to private-sector entities that grow jobs through innovations in medicine or science.
Prior to running for office, Mike taught at his alma mater high school and managed a local safety engineering company, Smart Structures. Later he was elected twice to the Champaign County Board and spent more than four years as Champaign County Auditor, where he became a Certified Public Finance Officer, the only elected Auditor to receive that designation in the state. Mike also served as a volunteer firefighter and on the board of a local nursing home.
Leirion Gaylor Baird, Mayor, Lincoln, NE
Leirion Gaylor Baird is the mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska. Mayor Gaylor Baird previously served for six years as a member of the City Council and one term as a Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Commissioner. Her career includes experience as a management consultant, fiscal and policy analyst, and Boys and Girls Club Director. She currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Mayors and Metro Universities Task Force of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is a participant in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.
The mayor earned her B.A. from Yale College and a M.Sc. from the University of Oxford. She and her husband, Scott, have three children - who, upon their mother’s election as mayor, were deeply disappointed to learn that she does not get to tell the School Superintendent when to call snow days.
Margaret Good, Representative, Sarasota, FL
State Representative Margaret Good was elected through special election in February of 2018 to represent a district that voted for Trump by five points, signifying the first district to be flipped in 2018. Visiting her family in Florida every year growing up and eventually moving to Sarasota after law school has fostered a deep appreciation of Florida’s rich history and natural beauty for Good. The state representative ran because she wanted to change the way Sarasota citizens were only being offered two options, the status quo or moving backwards. She wanted to disrupt that system and fight to protect Florida’s beauty through environmental protections, ensure every child receives a quality public education, and take action on common sense gun legislation to move towards a safer Florida.
Since winning her special election in 2018, State Representative Good has been a strong proponent of policies that ensure future generations of Floridians will be able to enjoy the state’s natural resources. Good prioritizes partnering with local businesses to alleviate environmental strains and holding big corporations accountable for endangering Sarasota’s wetlands. She strongly opposes the use of taxpayer dollars to fund for-profit charter schools as well as the divestment of state funds to private schools that don’t meet the needs of students, and holds that we should be investing in education through ensuring that Sarasota educators are receiving the pay that they deserve and need to continue teaching the children of Florida. The state representative believes in empowering and expanding the middle class through increasing funding in her district for workplace development and providing small business incentives to foster the growth of local businesses that provide good-paying jobs. Good does not believe that Floridians can thrive with a dismantled Affordable Care Act or extensive cuts to Medicaid that limit patient choice. Expanding Medicaid to ensure quality, affordable healthcare for her constituent’s is one of the state representative’s top legislative priorities.
Chris Hansen, Representative, Denver, CO
Chris Hansen specializes in energy sector economics and data analytics, with 20 years of experience in the global energy industry. He is the Representative for District 6 in the Colorado House of Representatives, representing the east-central neighborhoods of Denver and serves on the Joint Budget Committee and as Chair on the House Appropriations Committee. Previously, as Senior Director at IHS Markit he led a global portfolio of energy products, events and partnerships. He is a co-creator of the OptGen analysis, IHS CERA’s unique tool for applying financial portfolio techniques to power generation. Before joining IHS Markit, Dr. Hansen was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where he analyzed electricity and gas sector reform in India and published several papers in professional journals on energy sector economics and policy analysis. Dr. Hansen holds a BSc in Nuclear Engineering from Kansas State University; a Graduate Diploma of Civil Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; a Master of Science in Technology Policy from MIT; and a PhD in Economic Geography from Oxford University. In 2012, he was selected as a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund and in 2017 was selected as a Public Leadership Fellow at Harvard University by the Gates Family Foundation.
Chris Harris, Representative, Forest Hills, KY
A former underground coal miner, Chris Harris was first elected to the Kentucky House of Representative in 2014. He represents the 93rd legislative district of Kentucky, serving Martin and Pike counties. Chris is a member of the Committees on Tourism, Small Business, and Information Technology, Transportation, and Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection. Prior to his election to the Kentucky General Assembly, Chris served in local government as a Pike County Magistrate for 12 years. During his tenure, he was elected by county officials from across the Commonwealth as the President of the Kentucky Association of Counties, a bipartisan organization dedicated to serving all of Kentucky and advocating for legislative solutions for issues affecting county governments around the Commonwealth.
When the General Assembly is not in session, Rep. Harris works at his private law practice. Chris is licensed to practice law in Kentucky and West Virginia and has argued cases before the Supreme Courts of both states. He and his wife Leslie have three children, Corbin, Wilson, and Emma, and live in Pike County, Kentucky.
Lee Harris, County Mayor, Shelby County, TN
In August 2018, Lee Harris was elected as the 6th Mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee. Prior to his election, Mayor Harris served in the Tennessee Senate and the Memphis City Council. Throughout his political career, Mayor Harris has been an unwavering voice for neighborhoods, public safety, environmental protection, and a strong middle class. He has won numerous awards because of his work in politics and government, including selection to the prestigious Aspen-Rodel Fellows program and as a New Deal Leader.
Mayor Lee Harris is a proud product of the public schools in Memphis (Alcy Elem., John P. Freeman Middle, and Overton High). He was a top student at Morehouse College and worked his way through law school at Yale. After law school, Mayor Harris practiced law and later joined the faculty of the University of Memphis Law School. He is believed to be the first African American tenured full professor of law at the University of Memphis.
Mayor Lee Harris is married to Professor Alena Allen and, together, they have three children, Lee Allen, Claudia, and Lou.
Monte Hodges, Representative, Blytheville, AR
Monte Hodges was first elected to the Arkansas State Legislature in 2012 and is currently serving in his fourth term. He served as the Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore for caucus district 1 and was one of 25 minority elected officials selected from the south to participate in The Roundtable of the South in Washington DC -- an effort sponsored by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
For the 92nd General Assembly, Rep. Hodges serves as vice-chair of the Peer Review Subcommittee for the Joint Budget Committee. He also serves on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, the Joint Committee on Public Retirement & Social Security Programs, and the House City, County & Local Affairs Committee. He was previously named Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Blytheville Chamber of Commerce and Outstanding Alumni by Arkansas Northeastern College.
Scott Holcomb, Representative, Atlanta, GA
Scott Holcomb serves in the Georgia House of Representatives where he serves on the Higher Education, Public Safety and Homeland Security, Juvenile Justice, and Defense and Veterans Affairs Committees. In 2016, he authored and helped to pass bipartisan, landmark legislation to ensure the timely processing of sexual assault kits in Georgia. He has also worked to reform government, promote employment for veterans, and increase entrepreneurship.
Scott is an experienced attorney who has practiced since 1998. He is a founding partner of Holcomb + Ward, LLP, a boutique law firm based in Atlanta. Scott began his career in public service as a lawyer with the U.S. Army JAG Corps, where he served as a prosecutor and international law attorney. He deployed overseas three times for the conflicts in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.
Val Hoyle, State Commissioner of Labor & Industries, West Eugene, OR
Val Hoyle served in Oregon’s House of Representatives from 2009 to 2017. Val has a background in business, with over 25 years of experience in the outdoor sporting goods industry. She was chair of the Export Council of Oregon and a founding member of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Roundtable.
Val focused much of her time in the legislature on strengthening education, through innovative ideas such as The New Partnership, which provides the University of Oregon with more stable funding and clearer standards of accountability to improve accessibility, affordability, diversity, economic development, and service impact. She also worked to make the state’s School Superintendent an appointed position in order to take the politics out of education and focus on what’s best for Oregon students.
In the wake of the recession, Val has been a voice for one of the hardest-hit districts in the state, striving to ensure that small businesses can support their workers by backing the creation of a healthcare exchange that will ease the burden of health insurance costs.
Will Jawando, County Councilmember, Montgomery County, MD
Described as “the progressive leader we need” by revered civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis. Will has worked with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Sherrod Brown, and then-Senator Barack Obama. During the 8-year Obama Administration, Will had the honor of serving as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, followed by a position as an advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the U.S. Department of Education. He has worked tirelessly to ensure a quality education, opportunities for prosperity and guaranteed civil rights are available to every American.
In 2017, he spearheaded Summer R.I.S.E., a summer job shadowing program in partnership with Worksource Montgomery, state and county government, and Montgomery County Public Schools that placed over 400 high school students in enriching career experiences.
Will has served as co-leader of the African-American Student Achievement Action Group (AASAG) which works with MCPS and the community to advocate for strategies to close opportunity and achievement gaps for African American students in Montgomery County Public Schools. In 2014, he founded Our Voices Matter, Maryland, a social justice non-profit that works with all communities to develop broader civic engagement, grassroots activism, and leadership. Will is also a co-founder of the African Immigrant Caucus (AIC) whose mission is to increase civic engagement, economic development and political participation of Africans in the diaspora, in Maryland, D.C.and Virginia.
As the former Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at Discovery Communications, he oversaw the development of public-private partnerships that would aid in STEM opportunities for Maryland’s youth.
Tishaura Jones, Treasurer, St. Louis, MO
Tishaura Jones is the first woman to hold the office of Treasurer. She is the chief investment and cash management officer of the city and also oversees and manages the city’s parking division. Since becoming Treasurer, Tishaura has increased transparency in city government, streamlined and modernized the parking division, improved returns on the city’s investments, increased the overall financial health of city residents by reducing the number of unbanked households, and started a citywide children’s savings program. Prior to becoming Treasurer, Tishaura was a Missouri State Representative from 2008-2012 and was the first African American and First Female Assistant Minority Floor Leader.
Born in St. Louis, Tishaura has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Hampton University, a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Hampton University, Master’s degree in Health Administration from the Saint Louis University School of Public Health, and is a graduate of the Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Mark Keam, Delegate, Vienna, VA
Mark Keam serves as a Virginia State Delegate. He began his career in public service as an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission and later served as a policy counsel at the Small Business Administration, where he worked to create a level playing field for women-owned businesses and minority enterprises.
After the Clinton Administration, Mark moved to Capitol Hill to serve as Chief Counsel to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2001 to 2007, when he left to become a senior advisor for strategic affairs at Verizon, where he helps the company develop ideas that promote the use of technology to solve societal problems.
Zach Klein, City Attorney, Columbus, OH
Zach Klein was sworn in as Columbus City Attorney on January 1, 2018 after serving the previous seven years as a member of Columbus City Council, including as Council President from 2016-2017.
As City Attorney, Zach has focused on how the law can be applied most effectively to promote public safety, encourage economic progress for all, and protect the most vulnerable among us—whether that is making the criminal justice system more equitable and fair, combatting human trafficking in city hotels and massage parlors, using civil litigation to shut down nuisance properties and illegal businesses, protecting civil rights, promoting social justice reform, or encouraging private sector investment to turn blighted properties into neighborhood assets.
Zach also is committed to finding bold and creative ways to use the full breadth of the City Attorney’s office to better serve all Columbus residents. One of his first moves was creating the City Solicitor General’s office, a position designed to promote important public policy changes. He also established a Proactive Litigation Team for the City Attorney’s office to actively seek opportunities to protect the rights of Columbus residents.
Zach is currently at the forefront leading a statewide, bipartisan effort to change criminal justice policy and reform Ohio’s drug sentencing laws to focus on rehabilitation and treatment instead of incarceration—appropriately distinguishing between those who are fighting addiction and the drug traffickers who prey upon them.
In 2018, Zach spearheaded Columbus’ efforts to enact several new common-sense gun laws—making dozens of technical and substantive changes to the city’s criminal codes related to firearms offenses, including laws to prohibit convicted domestic abusers and other violent felons from possessing firearms. While effectively closing the gap between existing federal and state firearms law to get guns out of the hands of criminals who have violent and dangerous backgrounds, Zach also has pushed to prohibit imitation weapons from being on the streets and to expand Ohio’s nuisance code to include properties where violent felony crimes occur.
Under Zach’s leadership, the City Attorney’s office has filed, joined, or supported several lawsuits aimed at protecting workers’ rights, civil rights and safeguarding taxpayer dollars. The City of Columbus is currently the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit—which includes the cities of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Philadelphia—to defend the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare protections for millions of Americans.
Zach grew up in Belpre, Ohio along the Ohio River and is a proud graduate of Ohio State University and Capital University Law School. He began his career in public service as a law clerk for the Ohio Third District Court of Appeals and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. He has served in the White House as Deputy Director of Management and Administration in the Office of Vice President Joe Biden, and as the Deputy Chief of Legal Services in the Ohio Attorney General’s office. Zach also has worked as a Special Assistant United States Attorney and has spent time in private practice at the law firm Jones Day and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.
Nima Kulkarni, Representative, Louisville, KY
In 2018, Nima Kulkarni became the first Indian immigrant to be elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives. She serves on the Judiciary, Economic Development, and Licensing & Occupations committees, and is the only woman appointed to the Public Assistance Reform Taskforce.
Nima is a strong advocate for public education and workforce development. She is focused on long-term economic growth through workforce empowerment and prioritizing forward-looking educational policies to prepare the next generation for 21st century jobs. She has been an immigration attorney for over a decade, and strongly believes in utilizing rational immigration policies as tool to strengthen our communities and economy. Nima is a member of the Kentucky, Georgia, and Louisville Bar Associations, and serves on the boards of several civic organizations in Louisville.
Nirva LaFortune, Councilmember, Providence, RI
Nirva R. LaFortune is a Providence City Council Member representing the city’s third ward, and is the first Haitian American to hold elective office in the state of Rhode Island. Since joining the council following a special election in August 2017, Councilwoman LaFortune has served as the Vice Chair of the Special Committee on Education. She is the Assistant Director of Scholars Programs and Diversity Initiatives at Brown University, where she oversees programming and advising for the prestigious the Presidential Scholars Program and other initiatives to advance the success of historically underrepresented groups and students with the greatest financial need.
As a former undocumented immigrant, Councilwoman LaFortune is dedicated to equity and increasing educational opportunity. She has worked on initiatives to increase funding and support for students in Providence’s public schools, of which she is a graduate. LaFortune has also championed affordable housing, support for minority and women-owned businesses, community development, prudent financial planning, and increasing community engagement in municipal affairs. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Sophia Academy and We the Village, and on advisory committees for the Eastside YMCA and East Side Community Alliance. Councilwoman LaFortune holds a B.A. in Communications from Temple University and is completing an M.A in Urban Education Policy at Brown University this spring. She is the mother of two incredible young people and is an avid runner.
Donna Lasinski, Representative, Scio Township, MI
State Rep. Donna Lasinski is serving her second term in the House of Representatives. She represents Michigan’s 52nd House District, which encompasses northern and western Washtenaw County. Rep. Lasinski serves as the minority vice chair of the Select Committee to Reduce Auto Insurance rates, the minority vice chair of the Energy Policy Committee, and is a member of both the Insurance and Tax Policy Committees.
A resident and small business owner in Scio Township for over 20 years, Rep. Lasinski has always believed in taking action to solve community problems. During her first term she took action to address water quality issues in her district, winning stricter clean-up standards for 1,4 dioxane and co-sponsoring legislation to set safe PFAS standards for drinking water. She honored her commitment to accountability by passing a government transparency bill unanimously out of the House. Passionate about both public education and affordable, sustainable energy solutions, Rep. Lasinski is a champion for her communities and the state of Michigan.
Eric Lesser, Senator, Longmeadow, MA
Eric P. Lesser was elected to the Massachusetts Senate on November 4, 2014. He represents nine communities in the First Hampden & Hampshire District, proudly serving Western Massachusetts as one of the youngest members of the State Senate.
Lesser’s legislative agenda focuses on the fight for greater economic opportunity and quality of life for Western Massachusetts, with initiatives around high-speed rail, a high-tech economy, job training, and innovation in government. Elected at the age of 29, Senator Lesser also spearheads the Senate’s agenda on millennial issues, including technology policy, student debt, and greater youth engagement in public affairs.
During his first term in office, Senator Lesser helped pass significant new laws related to substance abuse treatment and prevention, job training, and promotion of tourism and the arts. In his second term, he co-authored An Act Providing Continued Investment in the Life Sciences Industry in the Commonwealth, signed by the Governor in June 2018, which established $623 million in bond authorization for education, workforce training, and research and development in the life sciences sector. He also co-authored An Act Relative to Economic Development in the Commonwealth, a jobs and infrastructure bill that provided $1.15 billion in bond authorization for municipal infrastructure, waterfronts, and downtowns; established a new apprenticeship tax credit; and restricted the use of non-competition agreements.
Senator Lesser holds several leadership positions in the Legislature. He is Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Senate Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation, and Senate Chair of the Joint Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, the Gateway Cities Caucus, and the Libraries Caucus as well as Senate Co-Chair of the Food Systems Caucus.
Prior to becoming a state Senator, Lesser worked in the Obama White House, first as Special Assistant to Senior Adviser David Axelrod, and later as Director of Strategic Planning for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. Lesser began as a young aide on President Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign, traveling to 47 states and six countries with then-Senator Obama and his senior team. Lesser has been described as “the face of the promised Obama political generation” by the New York Times.
Lesser has a law degree from Harvard Law School, a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard College, and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar. He holds a number of national recognitions, including a Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership at the Aspen Institute, and Co-Chairs the Future of Work Initiative at NewDEAL, a national network of pro-growth, progressive state and local elected officials. He also sits on the Advisory Board of the Student Borrower Protection Center, a new advocacy group for student loan borrowers, and teaches workshops on campaigns, elections, and public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Lesser lives in Longmeadow, just blocks from where he grew up, with his wife, Alison, two young daughters, Rose and Nora, and family dog Cooper.
Brooke Lierman, Delegate, Baltimore, MD
Brooke Elizabeth Lierman was elected to represent Maryland’s 46th Legislative District in the House of Delegates in 2014, and serves on the Appropriations Committee. The 46th District includes all the neighborhoods abutting or near the water in Baltimore City, and boasts one of the most diverse populations of any district in the State. In addition to serving in the General Assembly, Brooke is a civil rights lawyer at the firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP. She has represented a diverse clientele, ranging from individuals facing housing discrimination to low-wage workers not being paid overtime to blind and deaf individuals facing discrimination. Brooke and her husband and son live in the neighborhood of Fell’s Point.
In her first three years in the Legislature, Brooke has passed legislation to promote better public transportation in the Baltimore region, encourage college savings, investigate and prosecute internet crimes against children, and help ensure no Maryland senior goes hungry. She has also championed legislation to pass earned sick leave, authorize automatic voter registration, and support entrepreneurs. Through her work on the state budget, she has promoted and required reporting from agencies to ensure enforcement of existing laws, long-term planning, and efficient use of resources.
Seth Magaziner, State Treasurer, Rhode Island
Seth Magaziner was elected to the office of Rhode Island General Treasurer in November of 2014, and is committed to promoting economic growth and expanding opportunity through honest, effective leadership.
As Treasurer, Seth launched the BankLocal program, which has helped hundreds of Rhode Island small businesses get access to the capital they need to grow and expand, by moving millions of dollars of the state’s cash to local community banks and credit unions. He also was a driving force behind Rhode Island's once in a generation statewide school construction initiative and the establishment of the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. Seth made Rhode Island a leader in financial transparency with the launch of his Transparent Treasury initiative, that allows citizens to easily access information about where their public dollars are invested.
Seth was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, and started his career as a public school teacher, and later as an investment professional. He serves on the board of Crossroads RI, Rhode Island's largest nonprofit provider of services to the homeless. Seth and his wife Julia live in Providence.
Liz Mathis, Senator, Cedar Rapids, IA
Liz Mathis was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2011. She ran in a special election to secure the majority seat in a 50-person chamber.
Senator Mathis is ranking member on the Human Resources Committee and Agriculture Appropriations. She also serves on full Appropriations, Agriculture, Commerce and Ethics committees.
Liz grew up on her family’s farm near DeWitt, graduated from the University of Iowa and did post-graduate work at UNI.
Liz was a broadcast journalist for 25 years and now works for a child welfare and behavioral health agency. She has received numerous awards for her work in journalism, women’s leadership, the legislature and her community, including the Corridor Business Journal’s “Women of Influence,” and “Most Influential Leader.”
Liz and her husband, Mark, own a family business, and over that last four years have acquired two other businesses in Iowa and Wisconsin.
Josh Maxwell, County Commissioner-elect, Chester County, PA
Josh Maxwell is in his third term as the mayor of Downingtown after being sworn in as Downingtown’s youngest Mayor in 2010 at the age of 26. Maxwell has focused on urban redevelopment, improving the tax-base, and personalizing the role of Mayor during his tenure. In 2017, Maxwell negotiated the largest public and private investment in Downingtown’s history - a $224 million transit-oriented development that includes a Amtrak/Septa station and trail extension that increases the value of the community by 17%. Downingtown has gone one of the largest stretches for a Chester County borough without a tax increase and has paid down more than 60% of its debt.
Downingtown has been recognized as a leader in urban redevelopment and as a community on the rise. Downingtown was named a “Top Ten Place to Live” by Philadelphia Magazine, while Maxwell was named “Best Young Politician in Philadelphia” by the same publication. Maxwell holds a Bachelor’s Degree from West Chester University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
Cristin McCarthy Vahey, Representative, Fairfield, CT
Cristin McCarthy Vahey was elected to her first term in Connecticut's General Assembly in 2014, following three years as a Fairfield Selectman. Trained as a social worker, Cristin has found these skills critical in building coalitions to support integrated, multi-modal transportation options.
Cristin was instrumental in Fairfield's efforts to create a bike and pedestrian master plan and establish a permanent standing committee for the town. Her new role as a member of both the Transportation Committee as well as the Transportation sub-committee for Appropriations provides her with an opportunity to continue to advocate for effective and future oriented transportation solutions.
Andria McClellan, Councilmember, Norfolk, VA
Andria McClellan is using her experience as an entrepreneur, civic leader and community activist, parent of three school-aged children, and former Planning Commissioner to make meaningful and progressive changes to the city of Norfolk, Virginia. Unseating a 16-year incumbent in 2016, she was elected to serve a Superward City Council seat for the second largest city in Virginia because of her pro-growth, innovation platform which focused on improving public schools; diversifying the economy in a city home to the largest Naval Base in the world; finding innovative solutions and funding to address sea level rise; and, creating a more engaged, accessible and transparent city government.
Andria has served on numerous boards and commission throughout the city, the region and the state, including the Virginia Small Business Advisory Board, the Virginia Family & Children’s Trust Fund, and the Local Government Advisory Committee for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program. She began her career working in sales and marketing for two Fortune 500 companies, after which she ran two start-up enterprises (one in manufacturing and one in tech). Andria earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia and graduated from the Wharton Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a proud graduate of the CIVIC Leadership Institute and U.Va’s Sorensen Political Leaders Program.
Matt Meyer, County Executive, New Castle County, DE
Matthew Meyer has lived an extraordinary life of service, educating high needs Washington, DC and Wilmington children and creating jobs in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in East Africa. Mr. Meyer has won awards for his Mathematics instruction, worked as an attorney at a leading global law firm, started two companies and served in Iraq as a diplomat. As a diplomat during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, Mr. Meyer worked with Americans and Iraqis to build a lasting peace in Mosul, embedded with the US military for one year.
After a stunning upset over a three-term incumbent in his first run for public office in 2016, Mr. Meyer immediately brought fresh ideas as the chief executive of Delaware's largest local government. Within eight weeks, Mr. Meyer had attacked fraud, waste and abuse and reduced county spending by nearly 3%. In his first year in office, Mr. Meyer appointed the first African-American police chief in the 104 year history of the state's second largest police department, held the first-ever county Iftar dinner, attracted Del Monte Fresh Produce to announce plans to build their largest US distribution facility, and saved county taxpayers over $2 million through modifications to the farmland preservation program. Mr. Meyer recently announced innovative literacy and engineering programming in the state's largest library system, focused on providing equal opportunity, as well as an online technology platform that enables citizens to view county tax spending online just as you can view your bank statements.
Jon Mitchell, Mayor, New Bedford, MA
Jon Mitchell, now in his third-term, is Mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts, the top commercial fishing port in the United States for nearly two decades. Under his leadership the historic city has moved aggressively to reform its schools, modernize its port, and solidify its downtown’s status as the cultural and economic hub of the region. New Bedford has emerged on the national stage as a leader in solar energy and the emerging hub of the nascent offshore wind energy industry in America. It has seen the local unemployment rate fall faster than any metropolitan area in America twice in the past two years. And the City presently enjoys the highest bond rating in its history. For these accomplishments the New Bedford Standard-Times named Jon the “2015 SouthCoast Man of the Year."
Prior to his service as Mayor, Jon served as an Assistant U. S. Attorney in Boston where he prosecuted cases in the areas of white collar crime, firearms, narcotics, environmental crime, and public corruption. Many of his cases were of national importance, including his work as the prosecutor on the task force searching for Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger. Jon hails from a local fishing family. He attended Harvard College and George Washington University Law School, and is married to Ann Partridge, a breast cancer doctor and researcher at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. They have three daughters.
Daniele Monroe-Moreno, Assembly Assistant Majority Leader, Las Vegas, NV
State Assemblymember Daniele Monroe-Moreno ran for office after living in her district for over two decades and seeing the need for criminal justice reform, affordable and accessible healthcare in Las Vegas, and advocacy on behalf of the state’s veterans. After being elected in 2016, Assemblywoman Monroe-Moreno has served on and led a number of committees, including the Legislative Committee on Child Welfare and the committee on Government Affairs, Legislative Operations, and Elections.
The Assemblywoman has sponsored legislation that would expand access to healthcare in Nevada through authorizing healthcare providers licensed in any state to provide healthcare free of cost. She has also worked on legislation to address the effects of the opioid epidemic in her district. Based off of her extensive experience as a corrections officer, Monroe-Moreno has been a passionate advocate for the banning of for-profit prisons in Nevada, and introduced a bill that would give the prison system time to transition to an all public prison model. She is a strong supporter of comprehensive criminal justice reform because she has seen that improvements must be made to the conditions of the prisoners and believes that for-profit prisons contribute to Nevada’s mass incarceration problem. Assemblymember Moreno also believes in supporting workers, and sponsored legislation that would make meals businesses provide for their employees not taxable. She is also the recipient of the Emerge America’s 2017 Ambition to Action award.
Jon Morgan, Senator, Brentwood, NH
Jon Morgan knocked on thousands of doors running for the State Senate in 2018. He heard the struggles of Granite Staters that have lived here their whole lives, but are being pushed out by rising property taxes. He talked to young families like mine trying to start a life here, but are struggling. In Concord, he's focused on passing legislation that helps all Granite Staters, and he's proud of what New Hampshire has accomplished so far.
The state irresponsibly downshifting cost to towns has put the squeeze on property taxpayers in his district. SB 243 will expand access to property tax relief programs to help folks get back on their feet. It's time for New Hampshire to get serious about child welfare. Senate Bill 6 will create 77 new positions for and fully fund the NH Division for Children, Youth, and Families.
Elena Parent, Senator, Atlanta, GA
Elena is a State Senator, attorney, and progressive champion. First elected in 2010 as one of 12 Democrats in the nation to unseat a Republican incumbent, Elena focused her efforts in her first term on government transparency and ethics, including independent redistricting. Elected to the State Senate in 2014, Elena has focused on improving access to early childhood education and health care, promoting common-sense gun safety measures, and defeating job-killing and discriminatory "religious freedom" legislation. She has also continued her work toward an independent redistricting commission for Georgia. Elena passed a bill that would close a loophole that allowed severely mentally ill Georgians to acquire guns and is also working toward keeping guns away from those committed of domestic violence. She also was a key part of passing Georgia's Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims Act in 2016. In 2018, Elena was elected Vice Chair of Campaigns and Fundraising to the Georgia Senate Democratic Caucus, which has allows her the opportunity to recruit and raise money for progressive candidates in Georgia.
Keith Powers, Councilmember, New York, NY
Council Member Keith Powers represents New York City’s District 4, covering the East Side of Manhattan and Midtown, and serves as Chair of the Council’s Criminal Justice Committee. In his time in office, he has introduced and passed legislation relating to the topics of more affordable housing, campaign finance reform, and criminal justice reform. Throughout his life, he has been committed to his community through his work in government, and as both a tenant leader, and a civic leader. Council Member Powers’ first bill signed into law in 2018 expanded sexual harassment protections under New York City Human Rights Law to all employees in New York City. Under previous law, employees of small businesses were not protected under city law against sexual harassment. As Chair of the East Midtown Governing Group, Council Member Powers oversees public realm improvement projects and new development in a newly rezoned area of Manhattan to bring new office space and infrastructure improvements to a central business district. As Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, Council Member Powers was a leading voice in the city’s effort to close Rikers’ Island. Council Member Powers holds a master’s degree from the CUNY Graduate Center and completed his undergraduate at the University of Dayton.
Tobias Read, State Treasurer, Oregon
Treasurer Tobias Read understands that financial empowerment, wise investments, and sound management are foundational to the quality of life and economic opportunities for Oregonians, and key for the long-term vitality of our state. In 2015, he was a chief sponsor of the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan, which is the first operating state-sponsored retirement program. it launched in mid-2017.
Prior to his election as Oregon’s 29th State Treasurer, Tobias had served for a decade in the Oregon House of Representatives, where he championed legislation to invest in public education, improve state financial management, finance critical infrastructure improvements, and to help Oregonians save for a more secure future. He has also worked in the U.S. Treasury and as a liaison between designers, engineers and manufacturing units for Nike Inc.
Steven Reed, Mayor, Montgomery County, AL
Steven L. Reed was elected as the Probate Judge of Montgomery County, Alabama in November 2012. He is the first African-American and youngest person elected to the county’s highest elected office.
Steven L. Reed was born and raised in Montgomery where he attended public schools, played sports, and participated in YMCA programs. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Morehouse College. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management.
Steven L. Reed is a co-founder of the Healthy Minds Network, a public private partnership, which aims to improve outcomes of those impacted by mental illness. A graduate of Leadership Alabama he sits on the board of Trustmark Bank, the River Region United Way, and the Metro YMCA. He represents the state of Alabama on the United States Election Assistance Commission and also serves on the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Government Coordinating Council Election Integrity Commission.
Highlighting a growing list of public recognition Steven Reed was honored to be nominated for the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award and is also the proud recipient of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Alpha Upsilon Lambda Chapter Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy/Leadership Award for Governmental Service.
Steven Reed has appeared in several national and international media outlets such as: “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, “German Television,” the Washington Post, NPR, and The New York Times.
On October 8, 2019, Steven L. Reed was elected as Montgomery, Alabama’s first African American mayor in the city’s 200 year history. He has since appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Politics Nation with Al Sharpton as a result of his historic win. On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, he was sworn in as the city’s 57th mayor.
Mayor Reed is the Moderator at Community Congregational United Church of Christ as well as an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Mayor Steven L. Reed and his wife Tamika are the proud parents of three children.
Laura Register, School Board Member, Cairo, GA
To fill an open seat, Laura Register was first appointed to the Grady County Board of Education in 2001 and subsequently ran for reelection unopposed. During a break from elected office, she focused activity on proactively targeting the issue of teen pregnancy. Laura was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential (GCAPP), focusing on all aspects of adolescent health in 2011. She became a recognized advocate throughout the state and at the capitol for funding and policies that focus on evidence-based practices to prevent pregnancy in adolescents. In 2014, she was encouraged to run and again serve on the Board of Education. Facing two opponents, she won the election and continues to be an advocate in the fight for stronger public education in the face of vouchers and charter schools. In 2017, the Carter Center for Human Rights Program invited Laura to share her expertise via an United Nations panel entitled: From Fear to Hope: Overcoming Polarization to Promote Rights for Girls and Women. Her presentation focused on bridging political and religious divides in rural communities.
Laura is an alumni of Women’s Campaign School at Yale and Georgia’s WIN Leadership Academy. She is a graduate of Mercer University with a BS in Computer Science. Today, in addition to her elected role, she is the owner of LBR Consulting a business focused on messaging in rural counties, building consensus around issues, data driven policy development and civic engagement. Laura lives in Cairo, Georgia with her family physician husband, Ashley. They have three grown children.
Hans Riemer, County Councilmember, Montgomery County, MD
Hans Riemer was elected to an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Council in 2010, where he represents nearly a million residents. Coming into public office during difficult economic times, Hans has worked with his colleagues to address some of the toughest challenges that local governments face: setting the county on the path to fiscal sustainability, boosting economic development, funding education and transportation, and advocating for the county before the state.
An innovator in political engagement, Hans served as National Youth Vote Director for Obama for America, and in the 2004-2006 elections, Hans served as political director for Rock the Vote. A leader on Social Security, Hans also played a key role in stopping President Bush on privatization and served as a senior advisor at AARP.
Jack Schnirman, County Comptroller, Nassau County, NY
Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman was elected in November 2017. A native Long Islander, Jack Schnirman has a proven record of turning around broken and corrupt government finances to improve services and save taxpayers money. After earning a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, Jack returned home to clean up local government.
As Brookhaven Chief Deputy Town Supervisor, Jack took on the culture of corruption that earned the town the nickname “Crookhaven.” Jack helped stop the abuse of taxpayer dollars on no-bid contracts, patronage, and scandals. He stopped past pay-to-play schemes between Town Hall and vendors, including ending the annual theft of $70,000 in lawnmowers. Jack also helped improve town services while saving taxpayers millions by implementing ServiceStat, a management initiative that helps hold town departments accountable. And Jack made government work better for the community by launching a 3-1-1-style constituent response system.
As Long Beach City Manager from 2011-2017, Jack Schnirman helped put the City on the road to recovery from the brink of bankruptcy, inheriting a $14 million deficit and near junk bond status after five downgrades. On Jack’s watch, Long Beach’s bond rating was upgraded twice and received nine consecutive credit positive reviews. Jack helped implement smart reforms—overhauling the city’s purchasing process to ensure all expenses are justified, stopping family members from supervising each other, instituting a new performance management program, and creating a 3-1-1-style smartphone application for residents.
Caroline Simmons, Representative, Stamford, CT
Caroline B. Simmons is the State Representative for Stamford’s 144th district in the CT General Assembly. Caroline serves as Chairwoman of the Commerce Committee and on the Public Safety and Higher Education & Advancement Committees. She is a champion for small business growth and job creation, cybersecurity initiatives, public school enhancements, and protections for police and firefighters.
Previously, Caroline worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for four and a half years. As Director of Special Projects in the Counterterrorism Coordinator’s Office at Homeland Security, Caroline provided support for DHS’s counterterrorism and countering violent extremism initiatives. Before this, Caroline interned at the U.S. Department of State for the Middle East Partnership Initiative within the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. She also worked with the Women's Business Development Council in Stamford. Caroline has a BA from Harvard and a Masters in Middle East Studies from George Washington University.
P.G. Sittenfeld, Councilmember, Cincinnati, OH
P.G. Sittenfeld was elected to Cincinnati’s City Council in 2011. P.G. is the Vice-Chair of the Job Growth Committee, and also serves on the Finance Committee and Strategic Growth Committee. P.G. is focused on making Cincinnati economically competitive, seeing that citizens receive high-quality basic services, and ensuring that local government lives within its means.
Following work experiences at Google and Time Magazine, P.G. returned to his hometown to become the Assistant Director of the Community Learning Center Institute. All across Cincinnati, P.G. works to help turn schools — otherwise unused in the afternoons and evenings — into hubs of neighborhood activity offering health, educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for students, families and the surrounding community.
Will Smith, Senator, Silver Spring, MD
William C. Smith Jr. was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. His parents were young adults during the height of the civil rights movement. It was their struggle and sacrifice that opened doors of opportunity for Will. His parents taught him the importance of a good education and showed him the benefit of living in a caring, engaged community. With the support of his family, Will became a first-generation college student when he attended and graduated from the College of William and Mary. He would go on to earn a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from William and Mary.
After college, Will enrolled in AmeriCorps where he worked as a community engagement leader for IMPACT Silver Spring and worked at the ACLU as a Legislative Assistant. During law school Will worked at a law firm handling employment discrimination cases and sought a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, a position in which Will continues to serve in today. In 2010 Will received a White House appointment to serve as a Director at the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama.
In 2014 Will was elected to represent District 20 in the Maryland House of Delegates. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Will served on the criminal justice and family law subcommittee. Along with these roles, Will was a member of several key workgroups including Justice Reinvestment, Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights and Death with Dignity.
In 2016 Will was appointed to represent District 20 in the Maryland State Senate, making him the first African-American Senator from Montgomery County. In the Senate, Will has worked to forge relationships with his colleagues from across the state and political spectrum which has allowed him to become an effective legislator in Annapolis. In 2018, Will was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. As Vice Chair, Will champions robust criminal justice reform measures and leads efforts to provide economic and educational opportunities for all Marylanders. Will also serves as the Chair of the Senate Veteran’s Caucus.
Erika Strassburger, Councilmember, Pittsburgh, PA
Erika Strassburger is a Member of Pittsburgh City Council, proudly serving the residents of the City’s 8th District. She is the first woman elected to this seat. Previously, Erika served as Chief of Staff for her predecessor, former-Councilman and NewDEAL Alumnus Dan Gilman.
In her first year on City Council, she introduced trailblazing legislation to expand employment protections for pregnant workers, those seeking to become pregnant, and their partners, helping to protect workers throughout the City. In addition, she introduced legislation to overhaul and modernize Pittsburgh’s municipal waste and recycling code, which among other provisions, set parameters for residential composting, codified best practices for containment and storage of waste, and built a foundation upon which Pittsburgh can become a Zero Waste City. She has also helped to prioritize initiatives and legislation to create a more inclusive and welcoming city for immigrants and refugees.
As the Council Member representing the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Erika was immediately impacted by the October 27, 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. In response, she led the way on a package of ordinances to ban the use of assault weapons and certain firearm accessories in the City, implement red flag policies for those at risk of harming themselves or others, prevent the extreme risk to children by holding gun owners accountable, and increase funding for the City’s violence prevention initiatives.
She has been an outspoken advocate for policies promoting clean water and air, equitable and diverse communities, safe, complete streets, and an open and transparent government, and is passionate about offering new ways for her constituents to be informed involved in city government.
Annette Taddeo, Senator, Miami, FL
Senator Annette Taddeo is a small business owner and a working mom from South Dade who moved to this country as a teenager, put herself through college and has lived the American Dream. An active community leader for over 30 years, Annette is proud to call South Dade home, for her family and her business.
In 2017, Annette was elected Florida State Senator for District 40. Annette Taddeo ran on a platform that as pro-growth, pro-small business, and pro-worker. She believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live the American Dream, either through having the opportunity to start and grow their own business, or to make a fair wage working for their employer.
Anna Tovar, Mayor, Tolleson, AZ
Anna Tovar was elected Mayor of Tolleson, AZ in 2016 and took office in early 2017. Under her leadership, Tolleson offers competitive incentives to attract retail developments that promise to elevate the City’s profile including, but not limited to: Marriot Fairfield Inn & Suites, Speedway Motors and Floor and Décor. Several organizations such as Arizona State University, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), Banner Health have solicited her participation as a panelist and speaker as Anna draws from her vast experience as a former teacher, mom, elected official, and community volunteer to deliver inspirational messages which have motivated students, community members and entrepreneurs alike.
She currently serves as a board member on the League of Arizona Cities and Towns Executive Committee and National Jobs for Americas Graduates. Previously, she served as Arizona’s Senate Minority Leader and was at the forefront of projects that brought revenue and job growth to her district throughout her time in office. The completion of roadway construction, attracting commercial and retail businesses to the area, advocating for new housing developments, promoting environmentally friendly programs and working to build new police and fire stations are just a few of her accomplishments.
John Unger, Senate Minority Leader, Martinsburg, WV
John Unger was elected to the West Virginia State Senate in 1998 as one of the state’s youngest senators in history and became Senate Majority Leader in 2011. In the Senate, John has sponsored groundbreaking legislation that has expanded broadband internet, enabled local communities to address transportation needs, and created the State Division of Energy. Prior to serving in elected office, John worked on a number of economic development initiatives as Vice President of Van Wyk Enterprises, founder of the Employment and Training Search Program, as well as the founder and former president of the West Virginia International Trade Development Council.
John has also led a distinguished career in the non-profit sector. Taking a leave of absence from college, he worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta coordinating the distribution of relief supplies. He also served as a member of the International Rescue Committee providing relief for Kurdish refugees following the Persian Gulf War and was instrumental in establishing the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor. From April to July 2003, John served as the Director of Communications for Save the Children International in Iraq, where he helped coordinate humanitarian relief, recovery and reconstruction operations and information management. He currently serves as Vicar/Pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Harpers Ferry, WV.
Miro Weinberger, Mayor, Burlington, VT
Since his election in March 2012, Miro has been working to put Burlington’s finances in order. Before being elected Mayor, Miro focused his career on developing affordable and market rate homes in Vermont and New Hampshire while also promoting smart growth and environmental sustainability. As an active member of the Burlington community, he has served on the Burlington Airport Commission, as board president of the Turning Point Center for Chittenden County, and on the board of the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center.
Rob Werner, Councilmember, Concord, NH
Rob Werner has served as a City Councilor in Concord, NH since his election in 2006 and chairs the Energy and Environment Advisory Committee. He works to make Concord’s future more sustainable by advocating for the installation of solar panels on public buildings and idling reduction technology on city vehicles. In addition to serving the city of Concord, Rob also serves as the New Hampshire State Director for the League of Conservation Voters, a national advocacy organization that works to turn environmental values into national, state, and local priorities. Rob formerly served as the National Field Director of Americans for Campaign Reform. A public policy analyst and advocate, Rob has organized successful advocacy and legislative campaigns for the American Heart Association, Smoke-Free NH Alliance, and the American Cancer Society. Active in the Greater Concord, NH Chamber of Commerce, Rob serves on both the State and the Local Government Affairs Committees. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Franklin Pierce University.
Ashton Wheeler Clemmons, Representative, Greensboro, NC
Ashton Clemmons has always had a passion for serving the people of the state she proudly calls home. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill as a NC Teaching Fellow, she taught school in Durham and Guilford counties, and went on to earn her Master’s in School Leadership from Harvard University. Her commitment to education led her to serve as principal of schools in Rockingham and Guilford counties, where she led the turn-around of one of the state’s lowest performing schools. While serving as assistant superintendent of the Thomasville City Schools, Ashton was selected one of the Triad Business Journal’s “40 Leaders under 40” and has also been honored by the United Way with its Human Rights Advocate award.
Most recently, Ashton Clemmons was elected to serve in North Carolina’s 57th House District on November 6, 2018 and sworn into office on January 9, 2019. During her time in Raleigh, Representative Clemmons has been appointed to the Commerce, Education K-12, Education-Universities and Finance Committees. She also serves as the House Democratic Freshman Caucus Co-Chair. The mother of three young children, Ashton is an energetic and passionate advocate for better schools and job training programs, as well as policies that protect our health care, environment and voting rights. She lives in Greensboro with her husband Bryan Clemmons.
Brandon Whipple, Mayor-elect, Wichita, KS
Brandon Whipple was elected mayor of Wichita in 2019. He previously served in the Kansas House of Representatives since 2013, representing the south side of Wichita. Prior to serving in the legislature, Brandon served in multiple positions within the local Democratic Party and has taught at the college level since 2008. He currently teaches both Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
As the first person in his family to graduate college, Brandon believes that a robust education system is crucial to building a strong workforce in Kansas. Brandon has advocated for legislation that increases opportunity and job growth for all Kansans and has worked with the South Wichita Business Association to lower property taxes for local businesses.
Jeff Yarbro, Senator, Nashville, TN
Elected to the Tennessee State Senate in 2014, Jeff Yarbro was selected as the Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus in his first term. A native Tennessean with degrees from Harvard and the University of Virginia School of Law, Jeff represents the city of Nashville. In the State Senate, he serves on the Health and Welfare Committee and the Transportation and Safety Committee. Jeff has been a leader in Tennessee's efforts to expand health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Jeff is working to reform and modernize state government, including the creation of new tools to support the development of affordable housing and to combat pernicious problems like homelessness, recidivism, and insufficient support for new mothers. He has sponsored legislation to simplify citizen access to governmental services, including voting registration. He has also championed important reforms that would introduce transparency into legislative redistricting and diminish legislators' reliance on PACs and special interests.