ALABAMA - JOE TURNHAMJoe Turnham is serving his third stint over a 13 year period as Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party. Joe has led a successful rebuilding of the party's image and infrastructure culminating with hugely successful election wins in 2006. Democrats in Alabama have built on their successful domination of county courthouse politics and successfully defended their super majority in the Alabama Legislature in all while winning 5 statewide races in 2006. Joe's leadership has helped democrats win 5 of 6 special elections for State House races in the last 36 months.
Joe has served his local community and church in a variety of leadership roles over his 25 years of professional service. From lay missions to numerous board memberships, Joe has been an integral part of dozens of organizations over two decades. Joe was a founding director of the state's environmental lobby, Alabama League of Environmental Action Voters. Today that organization is known as Conservation Alabama.
Joe was the Democratic Nominee for the United States Congress in 1998 and 2002. Making his first ever run for public office in 1998 against popular incumbent Republican Congressman Bob Riley, Joe garnered a surprising 42% of the votes and in 2002 garnered 48.5% in one of America's closet races. Joe is a frequent guest columnist and on-air political commentator for state and national television programs including Fox and NBC's WSFA.
After working 18 years in a family business, Joe embarked on a successful venture as an organizational strategist and consultant. Joe's efforts have assisted a number of organizations, including humanitarian and environmental non-profits as well as Fortune 500 companies, build and expand their markets. Joe has traveled internationally on both business and humanitarian efforts to India, Africa and South America.
Joe has been married to his wife, Paula, for 19 years and they have two children, Abby 18 and Pete Matthew 12. Joe's father, ret. State Rep. Pete Turnham, was a beloved 40 year Member of the Alabama House. Joe is a member of the First Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama and is a substitute Sunday School Teacher. Joe enjoys reading, writing, long walks and helping others in need.
ALASKA - PATTI HIGGINSPatti Higgins has been the Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party since July 2007. She has been active in political campaigns since 1993 after winning a seat on the Anchorage School Board. Patti was then the successful campaign manager for Melinda Taylor for Assembly, 1998 and has volunteered on numerous other campaigns. Other offices held include Vice-Chair of Alaska Democratic Party; Delegate to 2000 and 2008 National Conventions; Resolutions Chair for 2000 Alaska State Convention; Chair of District 30 and the former District 19; Past Co-Chair of Bartlett Democratic Club.
Within the broader community Patti is Past President of Alaska Women's Political Caucus, Past Vice-President of PTA council, Past Chair of Denali Montessori Advisory Committee, Past President of Wendler PTA and former Board Member of Planned Parenthood. She is the treasurer for the Abbott Loop Community Council.
Born in Fort Bragg, NC, Patti toured much of the United States following the many transfers of her army pilot father and her PTA mom. Captain Spencer was the 1st person to land a chopper on an Alaskan glacier and was in Alaska Magazine 1959; Alaska Bear Tales; and National Geographic. Her mother was a dynamite curling competitor at Government Hill in the early days.
Patti is a 1987 graduate of the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She has been a Realtor® with Prudential Jack White Vista since 1999 and has a very successful practice with her partner/daughter Rachael Lalki. Before Patti's term on the School Board she worked as a substitute high school science teacher and with the elementary Montessori program. During college she worked for the U. S. Geological Survey while majoring in geology and sampled many lakes dead from acid rain while at the same time hearing from then President Reagan that there was no such thing as acid rain. After the Exxon Valdez oil spill Patti worked for GenWest and NOAA helping track the oil spill.
Patti has been married to Patrick, her high school soul mate for 32 years. Patrick is a Human Resources Director and is currently serving on the Anchorage School Board. They have three adult children: Gavin, 30; Rachael, 28; and Tara, 25. They are members of Congregation Beth Sholom.
ARIZONA - DON BIVENS
[elected Aug. 11, 2007] Bivens began his career in Arizona politics in the late 1970s as a precinct committee person. In the early 1980s, he was President of Young Democrats of Arizona. Since then, Bivens has held leadership roles in many Arizona elections, including the 1982 gubernatorial campaign for Bruce Babbitt and the 1994 gubernatorial campaign for Terry Goddard in which Bivens served as Finance Chair. He most recently served on the finance committee for U.S. Senate candidate Jim Pederson.
Bivens is a former President of the State Bar of Arizona, and is a partner with the law firm of Snell & Wilmer, where he specializes in complex litigation. He has a long history of charitable work in Arizona, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Salvation Army and Arizonans for Children. He is a founding Co-Chair of Arizona’s Equal Justice Foundation.
ARKANSAS - TODD TURNER[announced by Gov. Beebe on Jan. 22, 2009] Todd Turner, a native of De Queen, Arkansas, graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and received his law degree from the UALR School of Law. He served as an officer in the Arkansas Army National Guard and has served as a deputy prosecuting attorney. He received the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association's Consumer Advocate Award in 2000 and is currently on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Arkansas Better Business Bureau. Turner has written several articles on consumer law issues.
Turner was a member of the Young Democrats and also served as the Student Senate President while at OBU. While attending law school at the University of Arkansas Little Rock campus, he remained an involved member of the Pulaski County Young Democrats. He has been active in the Clark County Democratic Committee for over 15 years, serving, as County Chairman since 2007, as the chairman of the Clark County Clinton Day Dinner. Turner is married to Becca (Arnold) Turner and is the father of Harper, 9, and Cannon, 7.
CALIFORNIA - JOHN BURTON[elected April 2009] John Burton is widely considered one of the most effective and experienced legislative leaders in the State of California – if not the nation. He began his career as a Deputy Attorney General, served as the President of the Young Democrats, and won election to the County Central Committee. He then served as a State Assemblymember, President of the California Democratic Council, Chair of the California Democratic Party, U.S. Congressmember and as President pro Tem of the California State Senate. After being termed-out of the Legislature, he created a foundation which has raised millions of dollars to assist homeless and foster care children across California.
With a consistent 100% voting record throughout his career from environmental, labor, and human rights organizations, the California Journal wrote: "Burton is trying to do right by some of the least among us.... There’s a sense that he’s not wielding or exercising power for the sake of power itself; the things he’s trying to do have a real purpose behind them."
John Burton Wrote the Laws that Make California Better
Established landmark farm mediation for farm workers and the UFW
Achieved DNA testing to free the wrongly convicted and help identify guilty parties
Secured prevailing wage rates for construction and building trades and restored the 8-hour day
Guaranteed CalGrant college scholarships for every student with financial need
Led the effort in the State Senate to pass the nation's first state law requiring automakers to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from cars (AB 1493 (Pavley)-2002)
Increased aid for the elderly, blind and disabled
Facilitated agreement to save Headwaters Forest Preserve and Farallones Marine Sanctuary; prohibited offshore oil drilling along the Point Reyes seashore
Enacted historic levels of support for mental health and juvenile crime prevention programs
Overhauled the state’s flawed child support collection system
Increased affordable housing and helped fight homelessness with a $2.1 billion bond issue
Set tough campaign contribution limits and increased public disclosure of contributions
COLORADO - PATRICIA WAAKPatricia (Pat) Waak is the Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party. She also is a member of the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee and the Association of State Democratic Chairs.
Pat's political credentials are long and numerous dating back to her first campaign in 1964. She has worked on Presidential, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representative and Gubernatorial campaigns. Those credentials include serving as the Deputy Campaign Manager for Sargent Shriver's 1976 presidential campaign. She was appointed by President Carter to the U.S. Agency for International Development during his administration. And she has volunteered for every Democratic Presidential campaign over the past 44 years.
Pat spent 17 years at the National Audubon Society where she headed the Population and Habitat campaign. Her management experience includes several years as Assistant Director for the Center for Population and Family Health at Columbia University. Pat also was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Brazil.
Pat served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the 1994 U.N. International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and was the U.S. Focal Point for the 1999 ICPD plus Five Conference in The Hague, Netherlands. For eleven years, she chaired the population and environment technical committee for the Commission on Environmental Strategies and Planning (CESP) of the World Conservation Union-IUCN. She is the executive producer of video films including the award winning "Finding the Balance" and is the author of a number of publications, including her two book: "Planet Awakening" and "My Bones are Red."
Pat was first elected on March, 5, 2005 as Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party. During her tenure, Colorado has maintained its Democratic majorities in the State House and Senate, add a U.S. House of Representatives seat in CD7, elected a Democratic Governor and state treasurer. She is dedicated to building on the momentum of the Democratic Party throughout the state.
CONNECTICUT - NANCY DINARDONancy DiNardo began her political career in 1971 when she was elected as a member of her local Town Council. Subsequently, she was elected to, and served on, several other local boards and commissions. Nancy also served as the Chairperson of her Democratic Town Committee in Trumbull, Connecticut for almost 20 years. Under Nancy’s leadership, Trumbull voters elected a Democratic First Selectman for 17 out of the past 21 years, despite the fact that Trumbull has historically been a Republican-leaning town.
Throughout her years as a Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman in the 4th Congressional district, Nancy worked to build coalitions with other town chairs, town committees and Democratic activists in an effort to create a Democratic infrastructure in order to launch a successful campaign against Republican Congressman Christopher Shays. She served as Treasurer and Finance Chair for Diane Farrell’s Congressional run against Shays, a campaign which raised $1.6 million, and came within 4 points of defeating Shays.
Nancy worked for 30 years as an educator in the Bridgeport school system, starting as a teacher and working her way up to Director of Psychological Services. During that time she served as a member of the School Administration Union and the Office of Professional Employee Internation Union (OPEIU), where she still maintains membership. In June 2002, she retired from her position at the Bridgeport Board of Education to devote her energies full time to politics. She has been an active member of the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee since she was first elected in 1998, and has served as Finance Chair since 2001.
Nancy is the first woman elected to the post of Chair in the history of the Connecticut Democratic Party. She was unanimously elected to her third term in January of 2009. Most recently, the Democratic National Committee elected her to serve as their Chair of Eastern Regional Caucuses.
DELAWARE - JOHN D. DANIELLO[elected in 2005, and reelected in 2009] John D. Daniello has served and represented the best interests of his community and constituents for more than a quarter of a century. Through years of arduous service, work experience, and schooling, Daniello has attained the position of party leader and Chair of the Delaware Democratic Party.
In 1956, Daniello received his bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Delaware, which has since spring boarded his political career and created a didactic foundation for his future success and communal involvement.
Beginning his career at the Delaware Department of Labor, Daniello served as executive secretary of the State Industrial Accident Board, holding responsibility for the enforcement of the state workmen’s compensation laws. Most prominently, Daniello drafted, prepared, and implemented the state’s first minimum wage laws as chief of research and prevailing wages at the Delaware State Department.
In 1964, Daniello served as a legislative official for New Castle County. As Levy Court Commissioner, he directed an annual budget of twenty million dollars and established the first formal civil service system, requiring formal job descriptions and uniform pay scales for all government workers in the county. As county councilman-at-large, Daniello chaired the Finance Committee and held responsibility for the implementation of revised zoning procedures.
From 1967 until 1973, Daniello worked at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Delaware, gaining vital experience in marketing, negotiations, and human resources while also developing a sound administrative background. As the supervisor of the Medicaid program, he devised, established, and utilized the automated billing system to process all claims generated by this program. As assistant personnel manager, he created a job and wage classification system and conducted all personnel training.
In the early 1980’s, Daniello served as the state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture while simultaneously taking professional seminars and courses in advanced management to further his understanding of administrative policy.
Over the years, John D. Daniello has served as Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Community Affairs and Economic Development, executive director of the Mechanical Contractors Association, and as a management consultant for a large non-profit community center.
In 2005, members of the Delaware Democratic Party elected him chairman; however, since the beginning of his career, in 1961, Daniello has devoted much of his life to leading and representing the welfare of the people of Delaware.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - ANITA BONDS
FLORIDA - KAREN THURMANCongresswoman Thurman is the elected Chair of the Florida Democratic Party. Since assuming the role of Chair in 2005, Thurman has worked tirelessly to improve the infrastructure of the Party. Through her dedicated leadership, the Party has made huge gains including electing our first Cabinet official since 1998, picking up three Congressional seats, nine State House seats, and helping deliver Florida's 27 electoral votes for President Barack Obama.
From 1993-2003, U.S. Rep. Karen Thurman represented Florida's 5th Congressional District. Throughout her tenure, Rep. Thurman had been a recognized leader on behalf of seniors, veterans, working families and children. She worked to improve access to quality health care for all Americans and consistently advocated for greater tax relief for working families. She championed ways to reduce the size of government and free business from needless regulations. Congresswoman Thurman was a strong, independent voice in defending the freedoms guaranteed to the American people under the laws of the U.S. Constitution.
Congresswoman Thurman was only the sixth woman to serve on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in its 200-plus year history. As a Member of the Health Subcommittee on Ways and Means, she spoke frequently on behalf of the uninsured and seniors. She worked to lower prescription drug prices and to protect seniors from drug price discrimination. She was also a strong advocate for fair tax relief. She supported providing middle income Americans with major tax reductions in the areas of capital gains relief, the estate tax, child assistance, education and retirement as well as extending unemployment benefits and providing temporary business tax deductions. As well, Congresswoman Thurman led the fight to change federal funding formulas that shortchanged Florida's seniors, veterans and poor residents.
Having grown up as the daughter of an Air Force Sergeant, Congresswoman Thurman is a devoted advocate on behalf of veterans, military retirees and our men and women on active duty. In the House, she authored legislation to create a pilot program that led to establishing a prescription drug mail-order pharmacy program for military retirees and their families. The broader legislation also provided permanent lifetime TRICARE eligibility and prescription drug coverage. She sponsored a measure that resulted in a funding allocation change for veterans' health care that has brought millions to Florida and southern Georgia since 1997 and enabled the opening of additional community-based outpatient VA medical clinics across the state.
Congresswoman Thurman first became involved with government in her hometown of Dunnellon. While working as a math teacher at Dunnellon Middle School, her students encouraged her to run for a vacant seat on the Dunnellon City Council. She won that race and went on to serve seven years on the Council, including two terms as mayor.
In 1982, at the young age of 31, she won election to the Florida State Senate. While there, she became the first woman to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee. She also chaired the Committee on Professional Regulation and the Committee on Parimutuel Regulation.
Congresswoman Thurman was born in 1951, in Rapid City, South Dakota and is a graduate of Sante Fe Community College and the University of Florida. She resides in Dunnellon with her husband, John Thurman, with whom she has raised two children, McLin (Macky) and Liberty Lee. Thurman has three grandchildren: Tucker, Karlee, and Madison.
GEORGIA - JANE V. KIDDJane Kidd was elected Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia in January 2007. Before that, she served as a State Representative from Athens, and ran for the State Senate in 2006, despite a Republican redistricting designed to keep her out. As Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, she has continued her record of standing up for working families.
Jane’s political career started early. As the daughter of former Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver and the grandniece of Senator Richard B. Russell, Jane grew up in Georgia politics. She served as chair of the Youth for Herman Talmadge for US Senate campaign, hit the campaign trail in 1972 for her father’s US Senate campaign, and won her first election at age 27, when she was elected to serve 3 terms on the Lavonia City Council. Later Jane was campaign manager for Congressional Candidate, State Senator Don Johnson and upon his election, served as Congressman Johnson’s District Director. She was a member of the Clarke County Democratic Women and has served on the Clarke County Democratic Committee since 1998.
Jane has worked as a public relations consultant, specializing in higher education. She has been Alumni Director for her alma mater, the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and was Vice President for University Relations at Clemson University.
Jane lives in Athens. She and her husband of 36 years, David, have two children. Elizabeth, an elementary school teacher is married to Matt Hogan. Alex, a graduate of the University of Mississippi, works and resides in Athens. Kidd’s first grandchild, Alexandra Jane, “Allie Hogan” was a year old in May.
HAWAI'I - DANTE CARPENTER[started as interim in Jan. 2010; election May 29, 2010]
IDAHO - KEITH ROARK[elected Jan. 4, 2008] Born April 10, 1949, Salt Lake City Utah. B.A., University of Utah 1974; J.D. University of Utah College of Law 1977; U.S. Army 1969-1971. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Blaine County, Idaho, 1977-1978. Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney, 1979-1985. Founder and senior partner, The Roark Law Firm, Twin Falls and Hailey, 1985 to present; Mayor, City of Hailey 1990-1993. Past President, Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys' Association; past member, Board of Directors, National District Attorneys' Association; former Chairman, Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Council. Member, American Bar Association; Idaho State Bar Association; National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys; Idaho Trial Lawyers Association; American Trial Lawyers' Association; Idaho Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee; Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, United States District Court for District of Idaho; American Inns of Court.
Mr. Roark has more than twenty-five years experience in civil and criminal defense litigation, personal injury and wrongful death litigation, construction litigation, domestic relations litigation, local and state government law and commercial litigation. Mr. Roark has received the highest possible rating (AV) from the national lawyer ratings firm, Martindale-Hubbell. He has personally tried over two hundred jury trials and argued appellate issues to the Idaho Court of Appeals, Idaho Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is licensed to practice before all state and federal courts of Idaho and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.ed. Also Democratic candidate for Idaho State Attorney General in 2002.
ILLINOIS - MICHAEL J. MADIGAN[since 1998] Michael J. Madigan was elected Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 96th General Assembly on January 14, 2009. He has held that position since 1983, except for the period between 1994 and 1996. Representative Madigan was elected House Democratic Leader in 1981 and 1995. He served as House Majority Leader from 1977 through 1980.
His work in the legislature has been consistently marked with honors and distinctions from a wide range of civic, community, educational and business organization. The Chicago Sun-Times twice rated him as one of Illinois' "Ten Best Legislators". The respected Illinois Issues magazine cited him as one of the ten outstanding Illinoisans who made the greatest contribution to the state in the past decade.
Voters in the 22nd Representative District first elected him as their delegate to the 1970 Constitutional Convention and then as State Representative in November 1970. He has won reelection in every election since 1970.
A graduate of Loyola University Law School, Speaker Madigan practices law in Chicago.
Speaker Madigan was born April 19, 1942, in the southwest side district he now represents. A life-long resident of the City of Chicago, he graduated from St. Adrian Grammar School, St. Ignatius College Prep and the University of Notre Dame. Speaker Madigan and his wife, Shirley, are the parents of three daughters -- Lisa, Tiffany and Nicole; and a son -- Andrew.
INDIANA - DAN PARKER[ Executive director of the party in the 2004 cycle. State director to Sen. Evan Bayh for three years. Coordinated Mayor Bart Peterson's ground campaign and the elections of Indianapolis City-County Councilors, 1999. Political director to Speaker John Gregg in the 1996 and 1998 elections, helping Indiana House Democrats win 11 new seats and re-capture a majority. Involved in the Indiana Democratic Party since 1992. Graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Born in Braintree, Mass. ]
IOWA - MICHAEL KIERNANFormer Des Moines At-Large City Councilman Michael Kiernan is the Chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party.
Kiernan, 35, is a small business owner, who served two terms as an At-Large member of the Des Moines City Council. He’s a life-long Iowan, born and raised in Madison county.
Politics runs in Kiernan’s blood. Both his mother and father are active Democrats. The first of Senator Harkin’s now famous Steak Fries was even held on the Kiernan family farm.
He also has vast campaign experience, serving as the Campaign Manager for former Des Moines Mayor Preston Daniels’ campaign and now-Governor Chet Culver’s successful 1998 campaign for Secretary of State.
He had always been involved with local Des Moines activities. In 2004, he ran for City Council, won and served two successful terms. Now, he’s concentrating his efforts on the Iowa Democratic Party, helping re-elect Governor Culver, send more Democrats to Congress to work with President Obama and expand our majorities in the state legislature.
“This last election was historic and energized me to want to do even more for the Democratic Party,” said Kiernan.
Kiernan was elected as Chairman at the beginning of 2009 and has served in this capacity ever since. Chairman Kiernan lives in Des Moines with his wife, Erin, a local TV anchor.
KANSAS - LAWRENCE C. GATES[Chairman Gates was elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2005, 2007 and 2009] Lawrence Charles Gates, the oldest of five children, was born to Ralph and Mary Gates on November 5, 1947 in Omaha, Nebraska. At age 11, Larry took on a paper route that he continued until taking on other part- and full-time jobs throughout high school including working as a janitor, dishwasher, busboy, umpire and lumber yard laborer. He learned from his working-class parents, who often held more than one job at a time, that nohing in life was free and you had to work hard each and every day to achieve your goals. Those values have served Larry well as an adult, a father and a successful businessman.
Larry also learned from his parents the importance of giving back –even when you didn’t have much to give. When Larry was young, his parents took in a cousin following the death of both of his parents and raised him as their “sixth child” in their small home. Although they didn’t have much, everyone contributed to the family’s prosperity and love and respect abounded in the Gates’ home.
Following high school graduation in Omaha, Larry enrolled in the University of Kansas (KU) in 1966 and paid his way through college working various part- and full-time jobs, ultimately receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1972. Upon graduation, he immediately began his law school training and received his juris doctorate in 1974 from KU.
Larry also served in the Kansas Air National Guard and was honorably discharged with the rank of Technical Sergeant in 1976.
Larry and Jeanne Gates were married on July 2, 1977 and together they raised two children, Mary Katherine (Katie) and Joseph Lawrence. Their daughter Katie is an attorney at Shook, Hardy & Bacon and is married to Dan Calderon, also an attorney. Their son Joe is the General Manager at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites in Overland Park. Joe and his wife, Natalie Teahan, have three young children.
Larry has been a respected businessman for over 25 years. He has created hundreds of jobs working in the hotel and banking industry and other development opportunities. Larry is currently a principal owner and partner of the Rockgate group of companies, which owns and operates several hotels across the country. Rockgate supports hundreds of jobs each year.
Understanding that “doing the right thing” will always be good for business, Rockgate offers its employees health insurance coverage. Larry is especially proud of his employees’ hard work and ongoing dedication to their jobs and their customers, especially during the last couple of years which have been difficult for the hotel industry.
In addition to his business ventures, Larry is also a partner in the law firm Gates, Shields and Ferguson, P.A. Larry’s legal work focuses on economic development, real estate transactions and general business consultation.
Larry is a Master Emeritus of the Kansas Inn of Court, a member of the Kansas Bar Association and the Kansas Association for Justice, as well as a member of the Johnson County Bar Association and a Fellow in the Johnson County Bar Association Foundation.
Early on in his legal career, Larry was asked by two parents to draw a conservatorship for their 18 year-old son Jimmy who was severely mentally and physically challenged. The parents worried for their son’s future and feared he would be institutionalized since there were no services available to adults with special needs like Jimmy. This interaction prompted Larry’s involvement and commitment to helping individuals with disabilities over the last 30-plus years. He helped start and continues to serve on the board of Community Living Opportunities (CLO) and has been involved in the planning and construction of several homes to serve these challenged men and women who often don’t have a voice in the community. CLO now serves 191 adults in a variety of living arrangements in Johnson, Douglas, Allen and Neosho counties.
As a devout lifelong Catholic, Larry has also given tremendously to his faith community in Kansas. Currently he is Chairman of the Bishop Miege Foundation, the fundraising and advisory arm of the high school. During his tenure, Bishop Miege has been able to renovate the entire old school, build a new stadium and acquired an existing junior high school adjacent to the campus. Larry has also served on the Johnson County Catholic High School Board and was a leader in the Archbishop’s $50 million capital campaign.
Larry is a member of Curé of Ars Church in Johnson County and Redemptorist in Kansas City, Missouri. Their charitable giving is predominantly directed at helping the poor through such organizations as Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, City Rescue Mission, City Union Mission and Operation Breakthrough.
For the last seven years, Larry has served as the Democratic Party Chairman in Kansas. During his tenure, membership in the party grew seven percent in the last four years, reaching out to individuals all across the political spectrum who sought positive change in all levels of government in Kansas. Larry’s broad-based approach has caused a number of prominent Republicans to switch parties and become Democrats and many democratic candidates have enjoyed widespread support from Kansas Republicans and Independents alike.
Larry has served on a number of bank boards and is currently the Chair of the Overland Park/Shawnee Advisory Board to US Bank.
Larry and Jeanne Gates currently reside in Overland Park, Kansas.
KENTUCKY - CHARLES E. MOORECharles E. Moore, long-time political activist, serves as the Kentucky Democratic Party Chair. At age 18, Moore became a precinct officer. His involvement with Democratic campaigns dates back to Wendell Ford's run for Lt. Governor. He attended the 2000 and 2008 Democratic National Conventions as a delegate.
Moore, born on the side of Pine Mountain, grew up in eastern Kentucky, attended school in central Kentucky, and now resides in western Kentucky at Waverly. He and his wife Brucie, the Union County Attorney, live on a farm. He has 4 daughters.
Moore has practiced law in Owensboro for 35 years and is listed in the “Best Lawyers in America.” He has been active civically; his work on behalf of the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art earned him an honorary directorship. He has served on various economic development boards, and has been an advocate for educational excellence in his community.
LOUISIANA - CLAUDE "BUDDY" LEACH[elected Jan. 30, 2010] Leach, a longtime businessman and philanthropist in Southwest Louisiana, was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1968 where he served for 16 years. During his tenure he served as chairman of Ways and Means Committee and chairman of the Louisiana Legislative Council. He served in the 96th U.S. Congress as the last Democrat to represent the 4th Congressional District of Louisiana. Leach was appointed to serve on the House Armed Services Committee, Small Businesses Committee and the Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Leach maintains a law office in Leesville and he is president and CEO of Sweet Lake Land & Oil Company, LLC, and North American Land Company, LLC, Lake Charles, and is chairman of the board of directors of Merchants and Farmers Bank.
In addition to serving on numerous professional and nonprofit boards locally, he also serves as National Democratic Committeeman from Louisiana and is a member the U.S. Rice Federation International Trade Committee and the National Cattleman’s Association.
/A Leesville native, Leach served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968-1979 and 1984-1988. Leach represented Louisiana’s fourth congressional district in Congress from 1979-1981./
MAINE - JOHN KNUTSONOffering a strong sense of activism from the county level, Chairman John Knutson's commitment is to strengthen the state party through the grassroots and by empowering the county organizations.
Elected August 12, 2007 to fulfill a term that ends in January of 2009, John brings leadership from the grassroots of Hancock County to the chairmanship of the state party. Most recently Hancock County Democratic Committee Chair (HCDC) and former Chair of the Caucus of County Chairs, John and his wife, Margaret, are both Democratic activists, dedicating endless volunteer hours and initiating successful party-building activities. John's service as Chair is currently voluntary; he is not accepting payment but dedicating that line item to further strengthening the state party.
With Margaret and John Knutson, it is said, the Maine Democratic Party gets “a two-fer” as Chair. Under John's leadership , the average annual HCDC budget of $5,000 rose to more than $30,000. With the help of Margaret and a strong volunteer team, the Democratic performance in the county increased dramatically. They essentially dedicate all of their available time to strengthening the Democratic Party and electing Democrats.
John is a founding member and Treasurer of Friends of Blue Hill Bay. As a past member of the Board of Liberty School in Blue Hill, he served as Treasurer and Chairman of the Finance Committee. John is a retired CPA and insurance executive, and Margaret is a retired attorney.
Together, Margaret and John have five children and four grandchildren. They live in Brooklin.
MARYLAND - SUSAN TURNBULLSusan Turnbull is a life-long community activist who has worked in numerous campaigns and Democratic Party leadership positions at the local, state and national levels. From 2005 until 2009, Ms. Turnbull served as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, acting as an instrumental adviser on a number of key Democratic programs and initiatives. For more than a decade she has been seen as an expert in women’s outreach, Jewish outreach, and many other areas of political strategy. She has been a frequent Democratic Party spokesperson on national and international cable television and talk radio programs.
In the 2008 campaign, Turnbull traveled extensively on behalf of the Democratic Party, its Congressional and Senate candidates, and eventually the Obama/Biden ticket. (Owing to Democratic Party rules, she was precluded from endorsing a Presidential candidate until the nominee was known.) During the three weeks before Election Day, she spoke at campaign events across the country and made more than 50 campaign office visits and canvass kickoffs in Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and Maryland.
Among her many honors and accomplishments, she is most proud that, at her initiative (and in response to her mother’s sudden death from complications from breast cancer while a resident of a nursing care facility), in 1994, the State of Maryland, in cooperation with the Nursing Home Association of Maryland, established a protocol to screen and treat residents for breast and prostate cancer and that in 2005, Turnbull was recognized as one of Jewish Women’s Magazine’s “Top Ten Women to Watch.” In addition, in March 2009 she will receive the Chair’s Tikkun Olam Service Award from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. She is also the only person to have been awarded both the Montgomery County Democratic Party Democrat of the Year (2000) and the Maryland Democratic Party Distinguished Service Award (2003).
First elected to the Democratic National Committee by the Maryland Democratic Party in 1992, Turnbull has served in a number of formal capacities. She served on the DNC Executive Committee from 1997 to 2009; she was appointed DNC Deputy Chair in 2003; she was the elected Chair of the DNC Women's Caucus from 1997 to 2003; she was named as one of the founding Co-Chairs of the DNC Women's Vote Center in 2005; and she was the National Chair of the DNC Women's Leadership Forum from 2002 to 2004. Ms. Turnbull was a platform speaker at the 2000 and 2008 Democratic Conventions.
Previous to and in conjunction with her experience on the national level, Ms. Turnbull was a member of the Maryland Democratic Party Executive Committee from 1990 to 2004. Ms. Turnbull was first elected to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee in 1990 and served one four-year term, first as the Committee’s Vice Chair and then as Montgomery County Democratic Party Chair in 1994. Ms. Turnbull chaired the Maryland Democratic Party Inaugural Gala in 1993 and served as the Maryland for Gore Steering Committee Chair in 1999-2000. Ms. Turnbull began her Maryland campaign activity as a volunteer in the 1982 Michael Barnes Congressional campaign.
Turnbull has worked in a variety of legislative and governmental positions for more than 30 years. She currently serves as Senior Advisor and Grant Consultant to several Democratic Members of Congress, including Congresswoman Congressman Brad Ellsworth and Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas. She also has worked in the fields of urban planning and design; she hold and M.S. in Urban Studies from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in Interior Design from Marymount University.
Turnbull is a life member of the board of the Jewish Social Service Agency of Metropolitan Washington, a board member of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), a trustee of Jewish Women International (JWI) and a founding board member of the Bolechow Jewish Heritage Society. In the fall of 2008, Turnbull joined the Board of the University of Maryland’s Center for American Politics and Citizenship.
Susan Turnbull lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband Bruce. They are proud parents of two adult sons, Joshua and David.
MASSACHUSETTS - JOHN WALSH *
Awaiting outcome of
Convention June 4-5, 2010.
MICHIGAN - MARK BREWERMark Brewer is the longest serving Michigan Democratic Chair since the 1950's and is the senior Democratic state party chair in the country.
Active in the Michigan Democratic Party for 30 years, Mark Brewer has an extensive record of successful grassroots activity. A 1973 graduate of Mount Clemens High School, Brewer obtained his A.B. with Honors from Harvard College in 1977 and his law degree from Stanford University Law School in 1981 where he served on the law review. After working for two years for federal and state courts, he joined Sachs, Waldman, O’Hare, Helveston, Hodges and Barnes, PC in 1983, becoming a shareholder in 1989. He resigned from the firm upon becoming Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party.
Brewer received his start in politics as a summer intern for Congressman David Bonior in 1977 and was involved in every reelection campaign of Congressman Bonior until 2000. From 1984 until 1993, Brewer served as President of the Clinton Township Democratic Club. The largest Township in Michigan, Clinton Township is home to nearly 90,000 residents and is a key political battleground in Macomb County, itself a key to winning Michigan elections. Under Brewer’s leadership, the Democratic Club became one of the most influential Clubs in the County and it served as a model for the creation of other clubs in Macomb County.
In 1983, Brewer also became a member of the former 12th Congressional District Democratic Committee, and joined the Executive Board in 1987. In 1992, he received the Committee’s first Outstanding Service Award for his work. In 1993, Brewer was elected Chair of the 10th District, the successor to the 12th District following reapportionment.
Brewer also has been a member of the Macomb County Democratic Committee since 1982, and an Executive Committee member from 1986 until 1997. He was elected Treasurer in 1990 and served in that role until 1993.
In addition to these activities, Brewer has served as a Precinct Delegate, been active in Michigan Young Democrats, been a delegate to local, state and national conventions, and has been involved in many local, state, congressional, and ballot question campaigns in every role including campaign manager.
He served from 1983 until 1995 as Assistant General Counsel to the Michigan Democratic Party, handling many matters such as reapportionment, election law, campaign finance law, recounts, interpretations of the Party’s rules, election day legal counseling, defamation claims, and service as parliamentarian at several Party Conventions.
In February 1995, Brewer was elected Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. He was reelected in February 1997, February 1999, February 2001, February 2005, February 2007 and February 2009. He was elected Executive Chair in February 2003.
He was elected President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC) and DNC Vice-Chair 3 times, serving from 2003 until 2009. During that time, he led the ASDC to its endorsement of Howard Dean as DNC Chair and he worked with Dean to implement his very successful 50-State Strategy.
Brewer was a delegate to the 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 Democratic National Conventions and served as Chair of the Michigan delegations at all of those Conventions.
Among his other accomplishments as Chair of the MDP, Michigan Democrats have carried the state for the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008, won five straight U.S. Senate races, including electing Senator Stabenow in 2000 and reelecting her in 2006, elected Governor Granholm in 2002 and reelected her in 2006, won nearly 80% of all statewide education board races, defeated GOP Chief Justice Cliff Taylor in 2008, worked to elect hundreds of county and municipal officials, used ballot questions as part of their campaign strategy and developed innovative programs to turn out absentee and young voters. Brewer was also the principal author of the MDP’s 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 Delegate Selection Plans, two of which included an innovative Vote by Mail feature which allowed Michigan Democrats to cast votes by mail to select the party’s presidential nominee. The 2004 Plan also successfully used an internet voting option. Brewer has also expanded the Party’s constituencies, improved its fundraising, revised the MDP’s Rules, upgraded its technology and has expanded the MDP’s communications and research efforts.
Brewer has testified on election and campaign finance issues before the Michigan Legislature and Michigan government agencies, in federal court and before the Federal Election Commission.
Brewer has also been a guest lecturer on political parties and the political process at Oakland University, University of Michigan, and University of Michigan-Dearborn.
MINNESOTA - BRIAN MELENDEZBrian Melendez was elected as State Chair of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party on May 21, 2005. Melendez has been active in politics for almost two decades. Before his election, Melendez chaired both the Minneapolis DFL Party (1999–2005) and DFL Congressional District 5 (2004–05).
Melendez earned his bachelor’s degree with honors from Harvard College in 1986, writing his senior honors thesis on “Presidential Disability and Succession”; his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1991, writing on “Districting a Diverse Society”; and a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in 1991, concentrating in ethics.
Melendez lives in Minneapolis and is a partner at the law firm Faegre & Benson LLP, the second-largest law firm in the Upper Midwest. He was named by Minnesota Lawyer magazine in 2002 as one of the Top Ten Attorneys of the Year.
MISSOURI - CRAIG HOSMER[elected Dec. 6, 2008] Born in Marshfield, MO in 1959, Craig is the seventh child in a family of thirteen. His father, John Hosmer, was a long time Greene and Webster County attorney who served as Webster County Magistrate Judge and Prosecuting Attorney. Craig attended the Marshfield public schools and the University of Missouri-Columbia where he received his BA in Political Science in 1982. In 1983 he served as a legislative intern in the Missouri House of Representatives. Craig earned his law degree in1986 from George Washington University National Law Center in Washington, D.C., and since 1986 has been practicing law in Springfield, Missouri.
Craig served six terms as state representative for the 138th legislative district representing northeast Springfield. He was Chairman of the Criminal Law Committee and served on the following House committees: Judiciary, Civil and Administrative Law, and Utilities Regulation. Over the twelve years in the Missouri House of Representatives, Craig sponsored DWI legislation to reduce the BAC for administrative suspension, and served on the Joint Conference committee that drafted the Right to Die/Durable Power of Attorney legislation. He sponsored legislation prohibiting stalking, broadening Missouri's open meetings/open records law, increasing law enforcement officer training, and authorizing the City of Springfield to forfeit the vehicles of multiple DWI offenders. He sponsored juvenile crime legislation, zero tolerance legislation to stop underage drinking and driving, legislation to give Missouri State University a statewide mission, and legislation to allow Greene County to establish juvenile offender boot camps. Craig also sponsored legislation granting statewide arrest powers for law enforcement officers, granting statewide authority to emergency personnel to use automatic external defibrillators to save heart attack victims, increasing penalties for methamphetamine production, and requiring civil commitment for sexual predators. He successfully worked to prohibit the death penalty for persons with mental retardation, and sponsored the bill that lowered the blood alcohol content for DWI convictions from .10 to .08. He also sponsored legislation to repeal the statute of limitations on rape and forcible sodomy, and increase the penalties for attempted rape.
Craig has served on the Missouri Community Service Commission and the Governor’s Commission on Driving While Intoxicated. He co-chaired the 1999 Interim Committee on Elder Abuse and Neglect, the 2001 Interim Committee on Institutional and Sentencing Alternatives and chaired the 2002 Interim Committee on the Prevention of Child Abduction and Kidnapping.
Craig served as Chair for the Greene County Democratic Central Committee from 2005 to 2008. During his tenure, the Greene County Democratic Central Committee hired a full time Executive Director and purchased a building to serve as Democratic Headquarters. He was elected as Chair for the Missouri State Democratic Party in December of 2008.
Craig and his wife Joann have three sons, William, Harrison and Theo.
MISSISSIPPI - JAMIE FRANKS[elected July 2008] James R. Franks, Jr. is a partner of Wheeler & Franks Law Firm, P.C. and ShawnCoulson, LLP, a member of the ShawnCoulson Alliance with Offices in Washington, D.C., London, and Brussels. Mr. Franks represents both national and international clients on legislative issues as well as litigation matters.
Legislative (50%); Corporate Litigation (25%); Plaintiff (25%)
Mississippi College School of Law, J.D., 2000; University of
Mississippi, B.A., 1995.
Admitted: 2001, State
of Mississippi; 2002 Federal District Court of District of Columbia;
2002, Federal District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of
Mississippi Bar Association, Mississippi Association of Justice,
American Association of Justice.
Agencies: Chairman of Mississippi Democratic Party, 2008 –
present; Democratic Nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi,
2007; Member of Mississippi House of Representatives, 1996 – 2008;
Majority Whip, Mississippi House of Representatives, Chairman of
Conservation and Water Resources, Mississippi House of Representatives;
Member of Democratic National Committee.
Mississippi, December 26, 1972.
Biography: Chairman of Mississippi Democratic Party, 2008 – present; Democratic Nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi, 2007; Member of Mississippi House of Representatives, 1996 – 2008; Majority Whip, Mississippi House of Representatives, Chairman of Conservation and Water Resources, Mississippi House of Representatives; Member of Democratic National Committee.
MONTANA - JIM ELLIOTT
Jim was raised on a Dairy farm
in Pennsylvania. He earned a degree in Behavioral Physiology from San
Francisco State College in 1969. He moved to Montana in 1974 and was
engaged in ranching and farming. He now practices sustainable yield
timber harvest on his ranch.
Jim was elected to the Montana
House of Representatives in 1988 where he served until 1997, when he
took a voluntary leave from politics. After a four year hiatus Jim was
elected to the Montana Senate in 2000 where he chaired the Taxation
Throughout his legislative
career he championed fair taxation and civil liberties. He rewrote
Montana’s income tax code in 1995, only to have anti-tax groups repeal
it by initiative. He also won awards from the Montana Library
Association for his opposition to the PATRIOT ACT and for protecting
NEBRASKA - VIC COVALT
[elected June 2008; started Nov. 2008] Partner at Bellow Covalt PC LLO since Sept. 1999. Previously attorney and partner at Woods & Aitken, 1981-99. J.D. University of Nebraska College of Law, 1981; B.A. in history, University of Nebraska, 1976.
NEVADA - SAM LIEBERMAN[started Feb. 2008 following resignation of Jill Derby; elected to two-year term on March 28, 2009] A Nevada resident since 1980, Sam has been active in the Nevada State Democratic Party since 1986 as an activist, volunteer, staff member, donor, and elected leader. He has worked in the federal offices of Congresswoman Shelley Berkley and Senator Harry Reid, and on numerous campaigns and outreach projects.
NEW HAMPSHIRE - RAY BUCKLEY
Raymond Buckley was elected President of the Association of State
Democratic Chairs on January 21, 2009. He is the first openly gay
politician to serve in that position.
Buckley, a New Hampshire native, has been active in politics since the age of eight when he volunteered for his first campaign. Since then he has worked for numerous local, state and national campaigns, in addition to serving eight terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Buckley began his official political career as an organizer for Jimmy Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign, and went on to serve in high-ranking positions – both in New Hampshire and nationally – for the presidential campaigns of Mike Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry and Barack Obama. He has worked as a campaign manager for virtually every local and state office in New Hampshire, including Governor, U.S. Senate and Congress. Early in his career, Buckley served several years on the staff of the New Hampshire House Democratic Leadership and has been a lead recruiter and trainer of New Hampshire legislative candidates for over two decades.
In January of 2005, Buckley was hired as the Director of the New Hampshire Senate Democratic Caucus, where his efforts led to largest Democratic Senate majority in over 150 years.
Buckley was elected Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party in March 2007, and oversaw the dramatic Democratic victories in New Hampshire in November 2008. Prior to his election as State Chair he served four terms as a Vice Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. He has held several staff positions at the New Hampshire Democratic Party office, including four years as Executive Director and two cycles as New Hampshire Coordinated Campaign Director.
Buckley was first elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1986, and served eight terms representing the south end of the city of Manchester, New Hampshire. While in the House, he served as House Democratic Whip and the Deputy House Democratic Leader. He also served four terms on the Election Law Committee, five terms on House Rules Committee, and as ranking Democrat on the House Redistricting, Election Law, and Commerce Committees.
As a Manchester, New Hampshire Alderman, Buckley chaired the Administration Committee. During his tenure as an Alderman, the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper named him “The Aldermanic Workhorse” for his tireless service.
Since March of 1999, Buckley has been a member of the Democratic National Committee. He has been elected to two four-year terms as Chair of the DNC Eastern Region, and is a member of the DNC Gay and Lesbian Caucus. He served four terms as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, three terms as a Vice President of the ASDC, and also served as Co-Chair of the ASDC Committee on the Help America Vote Act.
Buckley was an active participant in the DNC Voting Rights Hearings in Newark, New Jersey and Detroit, Michigan. Since 2001, he has served on Board of the National Stonewall Democrats and on their Executive Committee. In 2004 Buckley was the Chair of the Stonewall Democrats National Convention.
Buckley was a founding member of the New Hampshire Citizens for Gay and Lesbian Rights and served two terms on the Board of the New Hampshire Gay Pride Committee. He has also been involved with the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. In 2005, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch named Buckley as his representative on the New Hampshire Commission to Study Same Sex Marriage.
Buckley has appeared on numerous New Hampshire and national television and radio programs, and hosted a long-running political talk show in Manchester.
NEW JERSEY - JOHN S. WISNIEWSKIJohn S. Wisniewski was elected Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee January 27, 2010. Chairman Wisniewski was unanimously confirmed for this position and previously served as a DNC member.
John Wisniewski also represents the 19th Legislative District in the General Assembly of New Jersey. He serves as Deputy Speaker, chair of the Transportation, Public Works & Independent Authorities Committee and as a member of the Appropriations Committee & the Financial Institution & Insurance Committee.
John is an attorney and managing partner of Wisniewski & Associates, Inc.
NEW MEXICO - JAVIER GONZALESElected in September of 2009, Chairman Gonzales was nominated to the position by Lt. Governor Diane Denish to fill the position vacated by Brian Colon. Gonzales ran unopposed and was elected by the members of the State Central Committee by acclamation. Gonzales' term will expire in April of 2011.
Gonzales served as a Santa Fe County Commissioner from 1994 to 2002. During his term, he also was elected president of the National Association of Counties (NACo). In its 66 year history, he was the youngest elected president and also the first Hispanic president of the organization. He has also served as chief representative for NACo testifying before Congress, the White House and the Administration, serving as an expert witness to the U.S. Senate and the White House on Homeland Security.
Currently, Gonzales is leading the effort to bring a state-of-the-art film studio to Santa Fe. Santa Fe Studios was conceived as a world-class and environmentally sustainable facility which will encompass up to 500,00 square feet of studio stages, is expected to employ 500 New Mexicans and generate an annual payroll impact of $71 million to the local economy.
Gonzales earned his B.A. in Accounting from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1989. He currently serves as a Vice-Chair of the New Mexico State Board of Regents.
A lifelong resident of Santa Fe County, Gonzales' committment and dedication to public service is a family tradition. His father, George Gonzales, also served as a Santa Fe County Commissioner and later was elected Mayor of the City of Santa Fe in the 1970s. Gonzales has two daughters, Cameron and Cadence Gonzales.
NEW YORK - JAY JACOBSState Chairman Jay Jacobs grew up in Forest Hills, Queens and graduated with a BA degree from SUNY Oneonta and a JD from Northwestern University Law School. With his interest and involvement in politics, Chairman Jacobs' statewide record of accomplishment and professionalism culminated in his recent election to fill the remainder of resigning Chair June O'Neill's term in September 2009.
Chairman Jacobs is committed to building a strong, institutional State Party organization that is built on the foundation of our 62 County Chairs. A permanent staff will provide an effective campaign field organization, along with a host of other resources for Democratic candidates running at every level in every part of the State.
Since becoming Chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee in 2001, Chairman Jacobs has overseen the election of the first Democrat in over 30 years as County Executive, the first Democratic Comptroller, District Attorney and County Assessor. During his tenure, Nassau Democrats have held the Legislature through 4 elections, elected more judges than in all prior years combined, raised and spent over $12 million, and built a formidable field organization. For the first time in history, in 2008, Nassau could boast more registered Democrats than Republicans.
Chairman Jacobs' political work is completely voluntary and he takes no compensation, nor expenses, for either of his roles, and holds no governmental office. He earns his living operating the TLC Family of Camps, which runs three sleep-away camps (Timber Lake Camp, Timber Lake West and Tyler Hill Camp), three day camps (North Shore Day Camp in Glen Cove, Hampton Country Day Camp and Teen Hamptons, both in East Hampton) and a NYS chartered preschool (North Shore Day School in Glen Cove). His past professional affiliations include serving on the New York State Camp Health and Safety Council, President of the American Camping Association's (ACA) NY section, and President of the New York State Camp Directors Association.
Chairman Jacobs' charitable organization, Timber Lake Foundation, is instrumental in raising and donating funds for programs to help children in need. He is the founder of SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Provide an Edge), a program that sends inner city children to not for profit camps. In 2001, he founded and currently serves as Chairman of Project Heal the Children, an ACA program that provides free summer camp experiences for the children of victims of the 9/11 tragedy.
Chairman Jacobs lives in Laurel Hollow, NY, with his wife Mindy. He has two daughters, Jessica and Jacqueline.
NORTH CAROLINA - DAVID YOUNGDavid Young knows how to win elections, and he understands the importance of building strong local party organizations. His goal for the North Carolina Democratic Party is to continue the momentum of our 2006 and 2008 victories by bringing our elected officials, party leaders, and activists together to forge a partnership that is energized and engaged for electoral success.
Public service has always been important to David. From 1992-2008, Young served on the Buncombe County Board of County Commissioners, where he quickly became a leader on the issue of finance and economic development. During his tenure, the county strengthened its financial position and raised its bond rating. These steps allowed the county to raise teacher pay and invest in school construction, improving the system’s education facilities from one of the ten worst in the nation to a system that is now one of the best funded in North Carolina.
Young served as President of the NC Association of County Commissioners from 2007-2008. He also currently serves as a member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Young started his career in banking with BB&T, one of North Carolina’s leading financial institutions, providing financial guidance to businesses and families throughout eastern North Carolina. Young later moved his family to Asheville to continue his business career. Through hard work and perseverance, he and his wife, Leigh, own and manage several successful businesses in western North Carolina. He also consults with local governments on executive personnel search efforts.
David and Leigh are the proud parents of three daughters.
NORTH DAKOTA - MARK SCHNEIDEREducation:
B.A., North Dakota State University (1970)
J.D., University of North Dakota (1974)
Senior partner engaged in general practice in Schneider Law Firm (currently Schneider, Schneider & Schneider) since January 1979
Regional Attorney (eight southern states), U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Atlanta, Georgia, January 1976 - December 1978
Staff Attorney, U.S. Water Resources Council, Washington, D.C., September 1974 - December 1975
Visiting Professor, Center for International Legal Studies, Lazarski School of Commerce and Law, Warsaw, Poland, 2008; CILS training, Salzburg, Austria, 2007
Former member, Board of Directors, National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives
Former N.D. Supreme Court appointed Member, North Dakota Joint Committee on Civil Legal Access to the Poor
Former member, North Dakota Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Former Vice President, Governor's Council on the Status of Women
Former member and Chairman, Governor's Council on Human Resources
Former Chair, Protection and Advocacy Project
OHIO - CHRIS REDFERNChris Redfern was elected Chairman in December 2005, promising to rebuild the Ohio Democratic Party from the ground up. In five short years, Chairman Redfern has moved the Ohio Democratic Party from chronic defeat to widespread victory, making the Party one of the premier state political organizations in the country.
Central to Chairman Redfern’s success has been the “88-County Strategy” which recognizes that Democrats win by competing for votes in every area of Ohio, metropolitan or micropolitan, industrial or agricultural, urban or rural.
The strategy bore fruit immediately in 2006 with the election of Governor Ted Strickland, Senator Sherrod Brown, and three other statewide candidates. These broad-based victories proved that Democrats could win in any region of the state. Following these sweeping successes, Chairman Redfern led the Ohio Democratic Party into key municipal elections, capturing the Canton mayor’s office for the first time in sixteen years and helping to elect the first African-American mayor in the history of Mansfield, Ohio.
In 2008, Chairman Redfern set the party’s sights on historic victories in the general election and began constructing the largest field operation ever envisioned by a state political party. Together, the Campaign for Change and the Ohio Democratic Party registered 105,862 new Ohio voters and engaged in 3,552,486 conversations with Ohioans at their doors or on the phone. Fueling these record-breaking figures were the efforts of more than 60,000 committed volunteers from neighborhoods across Ohio.
On Election Day, Ohio Democrats delivered a decisive victory for Barack Obama and picked up three new congressional seats. Democrats also captured the Ohio House of Representatives on a legislative map drawn by state Republicans, a feat never before seen in Ohio history.
Chairman Redfern previously represented the families of the 80th Ohio State House District for five terms where he established himself as a leading voice for fiscal discipline, an advocate for tax fairness, and a staunch proponent and advocate for Lake Erie. Redfern served in various leadership positions within the House Democratic Caucus, including Minority Leader from 2003 until early 2006. Before coming to the Statehouse, Chairman Redfern was an Ottawa County Commissioner – the youngest in the state when his term began in 1993.
Chairman Redfern attended Bowling Green State University where he earned both a Bachelor’s Degree and then his Master’s Degree in state and local government. He received the BGSU Accomplished Graduate Award in 2004. Chairman Redfern lives on Catawba Island with his wife Kim and their daughter, Reese.
OKLAHOMA - TODD GOODMANA lifelong member of the Democratic Party, Todd Goodman will work as state chair to help fulfill the promise of a fairer world and a more hopeful future for all Oklahomans.
Todd was raised in Oklahoma City, spending much time in his childhood at the family farm in Shawnee. Todd learned the value of Democratic activism from his parents, Jimmy and Debby Goodman. The Goodmans were active in the McGovern campaign early in their marriage, and passed along their Democratic values - including the importance of volunteerism - to their children, Todd and Tia. Todd has joined his family in volunteering on many campaigns, and Democratic politics was always a favorite topic at the dinner table.
Todd was educated at Drew University in Madison, NJ and began his career in medical equipment sales. Building on his success in that field, Todd became Chief Operating Officer for a medical device startup in New York and helped patent a device now used in open heart surgeries worldwide. He went on to manage a multimillion-dollar sales territory for Johnson & Johnson - until his love for Oklahoma and for Democratic politics brought him back home.
Since returning to Oklahoma, Todd has worked for I.N.D.N.'s List and State Senator Andrew Rice. Since 2007, he has been working for the Oklahoma Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee, where he has served as Field Director, Voter File Manager, and Communications Director. Since August 2008, he has served as acting Executive Director.
Todd has gone through formal training in political activism and management by Wellstone Action, I.N.D.N.’s List, DFA , and Twenty-First Century Democrats.
In addition to dedicating his time and energy to the Democratic Party, Todd has continued to shape his community by volunteering for several organizations. He currently sits on the Caddo Nation’s Housing Board, and is a proud and active member of his tribe. Todd is also a member of the Planning Committee for “Red Tie Night,” the premier fundraising event for the Oklahoma Aids Care Fund. Todd continues to volunteer for Loaves and Fishes, Habitat for Humanity, Regional Food Bank, and is an active member of the Paseo Neighborhood Association.
OREGON - MEREDITH WOOD SMITHMeredith Wood Smith has served since March 10, 2007 as full time Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon and previously served four years as the full-time DPO Vice Chair. She also serves as Western Vice President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs and is a member of the Executive Committee. In 2009 she was appointed by DNC Chairman Tim Kaine to serve on the Change Commission. The Commission is charged with reviewing and making recommendations on automatic delegates to the national convention, timing of the Presidential primaries and process for presidential caucuses. Governor Kaine also appointed her to the DNC Budget and Finance Committee.
Her political involvement was born in 1961, when she became active in John F. Kennedy's Presidential campaign in Kentucky. Since coming to Oregon 38 years ago she has served as a Party county chairperson, chair of several Party committees, worked full time on a Congressional Campaign and volunteered on many congressional, gubernatorial, legislative, city and county campaigns, first in Jackson and Josephine counties and later in the Portland Metro area. She has also participated in local and statewide referendum and initiative campaigns (both for and against), giving her positive and constructive avenues for community participation. As State Party Chair and Vice Chair, Meredith has worked tirelessly to strengthen county parties through training, mentoring and support. She is also actively engaged in DPO fundraising and in building coalitions with allied groups and minority and business communities. She has served as precinct committee person for over 20 years.
As a small business owner, president of a local business association, and sales representative for a mid-sized national corporation, she developed a keen interest in, and understanding of the needs of the small business community.
Meredith loves Oregon and cannot imagine permanently living anywhere else. Living in both rural and urban environments has provided her the opportunity to gain an understanding of the blessings and challenges of each.
She was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts and at ten moved with her family to Versailles, Kentucky. She attended the University of Kentucky and received a BA in Education. Upon graduation she taught children with disabilities, served as a vocational counselor, taught delinquent and neglected adolescents and later served as an "at risk" youth advocate and community organizer for city, county and state government. She maintains close relationships with her three brothers and a sister in Vermont, Georgia, and Utah.
Meredith has been married for twenty-six years to Joe Smith, former Legislator and Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Oregon, and chief aide to both the Speaker of the Oregon House and a member of Congress. He is semi-retired as a business consultant and attorney, and remains politically active in both the Democratic Party, and the Oregon Bus Project. They enjoy a close relationship with their four sons and their partners and three beautiful grandchildren, three living in Portland and one in England.
PENNSYLVANIA - TJ ROONEY[elected chair in March 2003 at the age of 38; bio is from Tri State Strategies Pennsylvania, where he is a principal] Mr. Rooney has been a leader in Pennsylvania state government since 1992 when he was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives at the age of 29.
T.J. was overwhelmingly reelected to seven consecutive terms in the Pennsylvania House, where he earned a reputation for responsiveness, integrity and results. As a successful representative of the people, T.J. was a frequent commentator on CNN, NBC’s Today Show, C-Span, Fox News, MSNBC and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. The National Journal called T.J. “a rising star” and the Harrisburg Patriot News deemed him “one of the most influential members of the Legislature.”
As a Pennsylvania State Representative, T.J. served on the Aging and Youth Committee (Chairman of the subcommittee on youth); the Consumer Affairs Committee (Chairman of the subcommittee on public utilities); the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee (Chairman of the subcommittee on Federal State Relations); the Insurance Committee (Vice Chairman); the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee; the Professional Licensure Committee; the Democratic Policy Committee, and the Rules Committee.
In addition to his elected responsibilities, T.J. was – and remains – heavily involved in the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania. T.J. was one of the first members of the House to endorse Ed Rendell for Governor in 2002. T.J. served as Vice Chairman of Pennsylvania’s Democratic State Committee from 2001 to 2002 and currently serves as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania. T.J. also served as Co-Chairman and Director of Operations of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee.
On the national level, T.J. was an integral member of the Gore 2000 campaign and was a Presidential Elector of the Pennsylvania Electoral College selected by Vice President Al Gore. T.J. also served in 2004 as President of the Pennsylvania Electoral College.
RHODE ISLAND - REP. EDWIN PACHECO
In 2002, Pacheco decided to embark on a campaign for the District 47 (Burrillville – Glocester) seat in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. He successfully won both the democratic primary and general election becoming one of the youngest State Representatives in the history of Rhode Island.
During both his years on the Burrillville School Committee and as State Representative, Pacheco has worked towards bettering education, healthcare, the economy, and the overall quality of life for all Rhode Islanders. Rep. Pacheco successfully introduced legislation regarding campaign finance reform, health care reform, voter’s rights, and job creation. All while reaching beyond the lines of party affiliation for the betterment for our community by working with both Democrats and Republicans alike.Representative Pacheco lives in the town of Burrillville with his lovely wife Claudia and their 15 month-old-daughter Savannah. The Pacheco’s have been married for just over 2 years. He has a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island and is attending Roger Williams University for his Masters in Public Administration. Pacheco is the Executive Director of Education in Action a non-profit organization that provides experiential learning opportunities for local school children focused on financial literacy, civics, and economics.
SOUTH CAROLINA - CAROL FOWLER
Carol Fowler has been SC Democratic Party Chair since late April of 2007. She had served as Second Vice Chair since 1988 and has been a member of the Democratic National Committee since 1989. She represents the Southern Regional Caucus on the DNC Executive Committee and is a member and former Co-Chair of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. Carol is a former Richland County Democratic Party chair.
The SC native is a graduate of Columbia College. She is on the boards of directors of the Domestic Abuse Center and the Cooperative Ministry and is a member of Washington Street United Methodist Church. Carol has been married for 2 years to Don Fowler and has 2 children, 2 stepchildren, and 2 grandchildren.
SOUTH DAKOTA - CHERYL CHAPMANCheryl Chapman is the South Dakota Democratic Party Chair, elected in May 2009. She is a professional engineer and owns her own company Matrix Consulting, which specializes in all aspects of environmental planning.
Cheryl has a long political career, holding many appointed and elected posts, including:
- Pennington County Commissioner (1987-1994)
- State Democratic Party Treasurer (1988-1992)
- Delegate, 1992 Democratic National Convention
- Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment (1994-1997)
- Pennington County Democratic Party Chair (2007-2009)
- Delegate, 2008 Democratic National Convention
- State Democratic Party Vice Chair (2008-2009)
Cheryl holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from South Dakota State University and B.S. degrees in Civil Engineering and Mathematics and a Doctorate of Public Service from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. She was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Secretary of the Navy during her tenure with the Department.
In the past few years she has been President of the Girls Scouts—Dakota Horizons; Chair, Western Dakota Tech Foundation Board; Chair, South Dakota Rural Enterprise; Chair, Calvary Lutheran Church Endowment Fund, Treasurer of Lifeways, member of the Black Hills Workshop Foundation, and member of the South Dakota School of Mines University Advisory Board.
Cheryl is married to Rapid City Alderman Malcom Chapman. They have
three children, Lesley Kandaras, Michael Kandaras and Alex Chapman.
TENNESSEE - CHIP FORRESTER
[elected Jan. 24, 2009] Chip is the son of a retired soldier who saw combat 3 times during his 35-year military career. Originally from Watertown, TN in Wilson County, Chip's father met his mother in Japan. Chip was born in Ft. Benning, GA and lived all over the world during his father’s military career.
In 1985, Chip moved home to Tennessee to raise his family. He has 2 sons, Evan, a senior at the University of Tennessee and Wilson, a senior at Hume-Fogg High School in Nashville. He is married to Gabrielle Mittelstaedt and they live in Nashville.
After graduating from the University of Chicago with a degree in Politics, Economics, Rhetoric and Law (PERL), Chip began his political career working for Harold Washington. Chip worked on numerous campaigns with Washington that culminated with Washington being elected Mayor of Chicago. Chip subsequently served as Assistant Director of Chicago’s Department of Economic Development in Mayor Washington’s administration. In 1985, Chip moved to Tennessee to be Deputy Campaign Manager for Speaker Ned McWherter’s successful campaign for Governor.
In 1990, Chip was U.S. Senator Al Gore’s campaign manager for his reelection to the US Senate. After the re-election Chip was appointed as Gore’s Tennessee Chief of Staff.
Chip’s prior service to the Tennessee Democratic Party has included a stint as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Democratic Party from 1987 -1989, serving as an Executive Committee member since 1988 and most recently as TNDP Treasurer.
TEXAS - BOYD RICHIE
Boyd Richie was unanimously elected Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party on April 22, 2006.
During his first speech as Chairman, Boyd’s message to Texas Democrats was “our job is not win arguments, but to win elections” and announced his five point plan to revitalize the Texas Democratic Party and expand field staff and grassroots trainings, build a pro-active communications team and incorporate modern technology into the Party’s fundraising, communications and outreach strategies.
In 1976, Boyd beat an incumbent to be elected District Attorney for the 90th Judicial District, which covered three counties. A lawyer in private practice for over 35 years, he also served for three terms as County Attorney for Young County. Boyd has also served as Vice President of the Young County Bar Association and in 2005, was elected a life fellow of the Texas Bar Association.
Prior to being elected Chair, Boyd served two terms on the State Democratic Executive Committee and was Chair of Audit Subcommittee of the Finance Committee. Boyd was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Selective Service Local Board, a position he held until his election as Young County Attorney.
Boyd resides in Graham, Texas with his wife, DNC Member Betty Richie.
UTAH - WAYNE HOLLAND, JR.
Wayne Holland Jr. is an International
Staff Representative for the United Steelworkers of America. The Staff
Representative is the chief negotiator for collective bargaining,
arbitration proceedings, and coordinator for legislative and political
activities. Previously, he worked for the Utah AFL-CIO in community
relations raising over $1 million per year for community, charitable
services organizations. He was also the treasurer of his local union at
Kennecott where he worked. He has taken numerous leaves of absence over
years to work on political campaigns since 1980. His most recent
with the 2004 Kerry Presidential campaign in the western battleground
states Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado.
In 2005, Wayne was elected as the Chairman of the Utah State Democratic Party. He was re-elected in 2007 and again in 2009. He also serves on the Democratic National Committee and was elected by his fellow state party chairs to the Executive Committee of the Association of State Democratic Chairs.
During Wayne’s tenure as Chair, the Utah
Democratic Party has more than doubled its budget per election cycle
historical norm of the past twenty years. He has been successful with
recruitment fielding the largest slates of candidates in the past
There has been high turnover in the legislature with a complete change
leadership and nearly two-thirds (63%) of all Democratic legislators
being elected to their current seat during Wayne’s term of office.
account for half of the Democratic legislators, Hispanic representation
tripled, and there have been as many as three Gay/Lesbian members of
the Utah Democratic
legislative caucus. Democrats added four new members to the State House
the past two election cycles, and defeated the sitting Speaker of the
2008. Barack Obama was the first Democratic Presidential candidate to
win Salt Lake County in 44 years.
Congressman Jim Matheson and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon have
their highest election margins ever. Democrats took control of the Salt
County Council for the first time since its creation in 2000. And, the
Party has helped in non-partisan municipal elections throughout the
our most notable success being the election of State House Democratic
Ralph Becker as the Mayor of Salt Lake City in 2007. Democrats also
defeat a well-funded school voucher proposal on the ballot in 2007.
Wayne grew up in Magna, Utah. He comes from a strong labor and Democratic Party tradition and is a third generation copper miner. His father, Wayne Holland Sr., was the Subdistrict Director of the United Steelworkers. Given this background, he started working on his first campaign for Gov. Cal Rampton's re-election in 1968 and walked with Wayne Owens in 1972 for Congress. He has been the labor liaison to a number of elected officials.
Wayne has also been active in the community as the President, Vice President, public relations director, and coach of the Hunter/Magna Little League teams for twelve years. Wayne is the father of two boys, Justin and Nick, and the grandfather of two Kaden and Karlee. Justin is a fourth generation copper miner. Nick is currently working with labor on political education. Wayne is married to Katie Thompson.
VERMONT - JUDY BEVANS
Judy Bevans came to Vermont for the first time when she was a student enrolled in the Goddard College Adult Degree Program in the 1970s where she studied Gerontology. Her MS degree is from Southern Connecticut State University where she studied Therapeutic Recreation and Exercise Physiology.
When Judy moved to her farm in the northeast kingdom, she built a small community fitness center that she ran until her partial retirement in 2003. Now she works part time as a private fitness trainer for those people who need to focus on health in the face of disease.
Always a Democrat, much of the activism of Judy's life in Delaware, New York and Texas was issues based. Judy first became active in Democratic Party politics when she lived in New York, working predominantly on local political issues and for local candidates. Her first contact with the Democratic Party in Vermont was during Bill Clintons campaign.
In 2003, Judy was one of the many people who volunteered for Howard Deans campaign. Howard Dean said to everyone that they had the power to make governmental change, but what Judy heard was, If I want change to happen, it is my responsibility to work to make it happen. She grew through the ranks, having chaired the Orleans County Democratic Committee for six years. She was an active member of the State Committee, serving on several of its sub-committees. She became Vice Chair of the Party in May of 2007, serving until she became Chair in March 2009.
Judy's political belief system is a natural extension of her professional and personal life. She believes that an individuals health and well-being must grow out of and have the support of a healthy societal environment. The principles and platform of the Vermont Democratic Party provide the roadmap for creating robust and caring public policy.
Judy lives with her husband, Bill on their farm in Albany, VT. They
live with their rescue cats, their Yorkshire Terrier, Tess, and two
nasty, but well-loved geese. They have three adult children, all of
whom carry her activist gene.
VIRGINIA - HON C. RICHARD CRANWELL
[elected June 18, 2005] Dick Cranwell grew up in a family of five in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia, in the small town of Richlands. At the age of two, an accident took the vision in his left eye. In spite of this sight loss, Dick was an outstanding football player in high school, and won a football scholarship and lettered at Virginia Tech.
After graduating from Virginia Tech, Cranwell earned his law degree from the University of Richmond in 1968 and returned to Southwest Virginia to practice law. Cranwell has specialized in representing injured workers and families in Western and Central Virginia.
Elected in 1971, Cranwell served for 30 years in the House of Delegates, representing Virginia's 14th District. He led Democrats in the House from 1992-2002, and was chairman of the House's powerful Finance Committee for a decade. Cranwell was widely considered the House's most brilliant legislative strategist of the last three decades. As the floor leader in the House of Delegates, Cranwell was known to be an effective advocate for issues important to Virginia: good schools, good roads, and good jobs.
Cranwell brings to public service his love of Virginia, his understanding of the challenges faced by working families, and his belief that a strong public education system offers the one chance most children have to make their dreams become a reality.
Cranwell is a member of Vinton's Chamber of Commerce and its Lions
Club. He is married and has six children.
WASHINGTON - DWIGHT PELZ
A fifth generation Washingtonian, Dwight was born in Seattle in
1951. In 1954 the family moved to Washington DC when his father joined
the staff of Seattle Congressman Don Magnuson. Dwight graduated from
the University of Michigan in 1974 and returned to Seattle the next
year. For 15 years he worked as a community organizer for a variety of
grassroots groups on a variety of social issues. In 1977 Dwight
organized the statewide initiative campaign that repealed the sales tax
on food. He was elected to the State Senate in 1990, where he
represented the 37th District for six years. He chaired the Senate
Education Committee and Labor and Commerce Committee for two years. In
1996, Dwight was appointed to take Ron Sims's place on the King County
Council, representing South Seattle. He was elected in 1997 and
re-elected for a second term in 2001. He became a recognized
leader in the areas of transit and transportation, growth management,
the environment, human services, and civil rights. He served on the
Sound Transit Board and led the fight for the East Lake Sammamish
Trail. Dwight was elected Chair of the Washington State Democratic
Party in January 2006 and re-elected in 2007 and 2009.
WEST VIRGINIA - NICK CASEY
Nick Casey is a member of Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins who has extensive experience in business development matters, financing, real estate leasing and acquisitions, government relations and as a lobbyist before the West Virginia legislative and executive branches regarding legislation, policies and regulations. In addition, he holds a certificate as a Certified Public Accountant.
Mr. Casey earned his J.D. from West Virginia University College of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Kentucky. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, United States District Courts in West Virginia, United States Bankruptcy Court, United States Tax Court, United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and Circuit Courts in the State of West Virginia. Mr. Casey is listed in Best Lawyers in America® in government relations.
Mr. Casey's professional experience includes:
- Acquisition and sales of hospitals, nursing homes, out-patient clinics, home-health agencies, behavior health organizations, multi-specialty groups, individual physician practices and capital companies.
- Securing passage of legislation by the West Virginia Legislature regarding tax increment and excise tax financing.
- Campaign Financial Agent or Treasurer for statewide gubernatorial races and local races including: Governor, Secretary of State, Legislature, State Court Judges, County and City Officials.
Mr. Casey's leadership positions and affiliations include:
- West Virginia Democratic Party, Chairman
- West Virginia State Bar Association: Past President and Current Member
- American Bar Association: State Delegate and Member
- Kanawha County Bar Association: Past President
- West Virginia Bar Foundation, Inc.: Past President and Past Board Member
WISCONSIN - MIKE TATEMike Tate was elected State Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in June, 2009. Thirty years old when elected, Tate is the youngest state party chair in the nation for either the Republican or Democratic Party.
Mike’s career in Democratic organizing began at a very early age, when in 4th grade he helped Michael Dukakis score an upset victory in his school’s mock election. Two years later, Tate was begging his mother to drive him down to Tom Loftus’ gubernatorial campaign office, where he would help stuff envelopes after school.
Mike’s passion and commitment to the Democratic Party and progressive causes haven’t waned since. In 1998, Mike worked as a volunteer for Senator Russ Feingold’s reelection campaign, and then became very active with the College Democrats, serving as Chair of the College Democrats of Wisconsin and Vice President of the College Democrats of America.
Mike has worked for Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Governor Jim Doyle, and AFSCME Council 40, and in 2003, Mike served as the Wisconsin State Director for Dean for America, and then served as the Deputy State Director for America Coming Together, overseeing one of the largest grassroots voter mobilization efforts in Wisconsin political history.
In the 2006 election cycle, Mike managed the Fair Wisconsin campaign, overseeing the effort to defeat the constitutional amendment banning civil unions and marriage. Fair Wisconsin was one of the largest anti-amendment campaigns ever mounted, raising a historic $5.3 million from over 11,000 individual donors and mobilizing significant progressive turnout in opposition to the constitutional amendment.
Most recently, Mike directed Advancing Wisconsin’s vast voter mobilization effort in 2008, helping boost turnout in key legislative districts and for Barack Obama.
For many years, Mike has served as a board member and is now the President of the Democratic Leadership Institute. He has also served on the Administrative Committee of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and as a member of the Democratic National Committee.
Mike received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and currently lives in Milwaukee County with his wife Amy, a member of the academic staff at the UW-Milwaukee Alumni Association.
WYOMING - LESLIE PETERSEN
Leslie Petersen was elected as state chair of the Wyoming Democratic Party in April 2009. Leslie has been a Teton County Democratic Party activist for years, is a former Teton County party chair, and served as the county's state committeewoman for the previous election cycle.
Leslie has also served as a Teton County commissioner and has been involved with various conservation, political and natural resource boards. She once worked as legislative liaison for former Wyoming Gov. Ed Herschler, and she was the Democratic Party's nominee for secretary of state in 1982 and for a state House seat in 1990.
Petersen has helped organize fundraising events for presidential candidates Sens. John Kerry and Barack Obama, each one raising more than $450,000.
She is a retired realtor and is married to Hank Phibbs, chairman of the Teton County Commission.