Changing The Face of Local Politics: Meet Our June 2021 Endorsement Class!
Today we’re excited to introduce you to our latest endorsement class, featuring 39 all-star candidates from 16 states! These new candidates are a reflection of the work we need to do at the state and local level: as more conservative leaders enact policies barring critical race theory, restricting rights for trans folks, and limiting access to safe and legal abortions, it is imperative that we support and uplift young progressive leaders running for down-ballot seats.
The best way to ensure our fates don’t rest in the hands of the GOP is to make sure they are never elected (or re-elected) to any local office, no matter how small.
As we look to protect the rights of our most marginalized communities, it is important that those folks are at the head of the table. In our June 2021 class:
- 64% identify as people of color,
- 36% are women of color,
- 59% identify as women (cis-gender),
- 26% identify as LGBTQIA+,
- 13% identify LGBTQIA+ people of color,
- 21% are first generation,
- 13% identify as members of the disabled community
These stats (while awesome) only represent a small fraction of who our candidates are and what they have the potential to do as elected leaders. Many of these candidates are running to increase equity in their communities.
For example, music education teacher Mario Clopton-Zymler is running for Cleveland Heights- University Heights Board of Education, where the school district is 71% Black but the school board only has one Black member. Other candidates, like Somerville City Council candidate Charlotte Kelly, are running to support protestors and community activists who have been victimized by law enforcement.
As we continue to build the progressive bench from the bottom-up, we are excited to support and amplify more talented, young progressives already making a difference at the local level. Get to know the rest of our June endorsement class and if you want to help us recruit more candidates to run and win, donate or volunteer today.
California State Assembly, District 18
James is a student activist pursuing a BA in political science to become the first in his family to earn a 4-year college degree. As a senior in high school, he ran for and won a seat on the San Leandro School Board becoming the youngest and third openly LGBTQIA+ person to serve on the board. Run for Something proudly endorsed James in his 2018 election. James is unapologetic about his ambition and youth. He says, “We have to think about the future and invest in serious and bold initiatives to address California’s racial, environmental, and social issues.” His policy priorities include passing California’s Green New Deal, enacting a statewide single-payer healthcare system, increasing the minimum wage and expanding workplace protections, implementing a public financing option for state and local elections, converting private utilities into publicly-owned services, and making California’s public four-year colleges and universities tuition-free.
Dr. Anne Keke
Aurora Public School Board of Education, Arapahoe County
Dr. Anne Keke is an educator, a community activist, and an engaged citizen in Aurora CO, with experiences on the front lines of criminal justice, restorative justice, and education. In her community, Anne facilitates public speaking classes for adults, leads a tutoring pod for K-12 students, and has testified on many education bills. She moved to Aurora in 2006 from her home country in West Africa, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), to further her education, and stayed to build her family there. Anne is running for a seat on the Aurora Public Schools District’s Board of Education, the largest ethnically diverse city in Colorado.
Lakewood City Council, Ward 2
Sophia is running for Lakewood City Council Ward 2, in the fall 2021 election. She is running to improve and protect the quality of life, dignity, and health of all of Lakewood. Lakewood deserves more than the status quo, and she will fight to represent those communities least heard in local government. Her platform is especially focused on sustainability, mental health services, and ensuring Lakewood is affordable and livable for all residents.
Sophia is the Director of State Partnerships for the League of Conservation Voters, a national environmental organization, where she focuses on race and equity issues within the environmental movement. She previously worked at Conservation Colorado as a transportation and environmental justice advocate, with a longer history as a community organizer. She was born in the San Luis Valley and is an Emerge Colorado Alumnae. Though she is a relatively new Lakewood resident (7 years), she chose it as her forever home, which she shares with her Husband, Curtis, and her three dogs, Zuko, Xix, and Annika.
Aurora City Council, At-Large
John understands the opportunity that Aurora holds for so many because he’s lived it. John grew up in a working household, earned his way to college, and eventually earned a doctorate. A Latino LGBTQ+ educator, husband, and dad, John understands the intersectionality of Aurora, believes it’s time for Aurora to put people and progress first, not just politics. John will help build an Aurora that everyone is proud to call home.
Orlando City Commission, District 5
Shaniqua “Shan” Rose, a Caribbean-American Floridian, is a purpose driven leader with public and private experience advocating for the community. She is involved in youth mentorship, homeless justice, community policing, negotiating, and fighting for the equality of all Central Floridians. A survivor of gun violence, Shan was a participant of the the City of Orlando’s night time economy study to ensure people could enjoy the entertainment Orlando has to offer, and also make it home safely. She lives in the Parramore community of Orlando with her young son.
Shan is running for City of Orlando District 5 Commissioner to reduce crime, to create equitable employment opportunities, and to provide technical training to young people so they can participate in higher wage infrastructure projects.
Miami City Commissioner, District 3
Quinn Smith is the co-founder and Managing Partner at GST LLP, a leading international arbitration boutique. He is also a proud husband & father, author, community activist and bridge builder. Quinn believes the people deserve a Commissioner who will put their interests first and who will get things done. He sees the inequality in housing, the lack of urgency in preparing for climate change, the failure to support local businesses and overlooking the need to invest in our community and its people. He wholeheartedly believes we need to start putting the “we” ahead of “me” because he knows our community, our city, and our county will only thrive when we are all looking out for each other. He has served as counsel or arbitrator before more than 45 arbitral tribunals and ad-hoc committees. Throughout his career, Quinn has worked tirelessly to improve the community in which he lives. Committed to community and social impact causes, Quinn sits on the boards of the Community Justice Project, Opa-locka Community Development Corporation, Miami International Arbitration Society, and O, Miami.
Yterenickia “YT” Bell
Mayor of Clarkston
Yterenickia ‘YT’ Bell is a public servant, organizer, and advocate that’s running for Mayor of the City of Clarkston. She is a native Georgian and graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Political Science and a Masters in Social Work and Public Administration. YT values equity, people, and efficiency. As Councilwoman in the City of Clarkston, she worked diligently to create an inclusive city by prioritizing the needs of her constituents. She is a results driven leader whose passion for improving Clarkstonians’ lives was realized with the city’s first-ever voter registration drive hosted in partnership with Disability Links, a Multicultural Mental Health Fair, and the establishment of the Clarkston Complete Count Committee, the first 2020 U.S. Census committee and task force in Dekalb County. She also developed and worked for the passage of non-discrimination legislation, a moratorium on small box stores, rent relief partnership, and the first-ever tiny home ordinance in Georgia.
YT Bell is the President of the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence’s Executive Board. She was selected to serve on the Campaign School at Yale as an Advisory board member for the 2021 class. She is also an active member of the National Association of Social Workers. She was also selected for the 2018 New Leaders Council — Atlanta cohort and 2018 Emerging leaders DeKalb cohort. Previously, Bell was chosen as a fellow of the Georgia WIN List and joined the 2016 Class of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta’s Georgia Women’s Policy Institute. Through her involvement, Bell worked to raise the profile of young voices in the fight for policy reform. She continues to be a force in her community as a board member of OurFutureGeneration Inc., Sagal Radio, and The Bizzie Group. As Mayor, she will continue to move the city forward while working relentlessly on behalf of all who call Clarkston home. Her efforts will be dedicated to progressive, innovative legislation and initiatives which focus on community development, health care, and economic development.
Des Moines City Council, Ward 1
Indira is a movement leader and community activist running for Des Moines City Council in Ward 1. She is running in her home district to represent those in her community who have gone unrepresented for too long.
As an organizer and activist with Des Moines Black Liberation Movement and Des Moines People’s Town Hall, Indira has been at the forefront of the fight for racial justice and liberation in her city. Indira’s passion for building power for the residents of Ward 1 is reflected by her campaign slogan: “All Power to the People”. Indira is a working-class member of her community, and has experience working in government spaces like the Public Library, Parks and Recreation, and the Community Centers. Growing up in an economically declining neighborhood, and graduating from the most diverse high school in the state, Indira is intimately familiar with the needs and life experiences of her community.
She is running as a first-time candidate because she sees how her elected representatives refuse to listen to the people, continue to enact discriminatory and dangerous policies, and remain silent on the issue of police violence and misconduct in the city. Indira’s vision for Des Moines is to move from a model of criminalization and individualism to a model of community care, and transformative and restorative justice. She will transform Des Moines into an equitable and accessible city that gives residents stability, basic needs, and control over their lives and their community.
Overland Park City Council, Ward 2
Melissa is a mom, community advocate, and policymaker with experience solving problems at the federal, local, and neighborhood levels. Melissa loves living in Overland Park, a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family. Melissa’s top priorities are to keep the city working well; to build a city that is welcoming, forward-thinking, and innovative; and to improve community engagement. As the primary author of the region’s Climate Action Playbook, a member of the city’s Environmental Advisory Council, and former Professional Staff for the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Melissa will also work hard to incorporate sustainability in city decisions.
New Orleans City Council, District A
Bob is a progressive candidate for New Orleans City Council, District A. Bob is running to put people first and fight for a habitable and prosperous city for all. He has been in the working class his whole life and understands City Council’s impact in eliminating poverty and homelessness. Bob is a software developer, actor, comedian, and goofy dad who advocates for a Green New Deal, housing for all, and dismantling white supremacy in his neighborhood. His unique experiences and talents suit him well to actively advocate for residents and facilitate work between multiple stakeholders.
Guillermo Creamer Jr.
Worcester City Council, At-Large
Guillermo is running for Worcester City Council, At-Large because of his love for the city of Worcester and deep commitment to increasing civic engagement among city residents. Guillermo is invested in bringing a fresh new perspective to local government in Worcester as the city embarks on a new stage of living in a post-pandemic era. As a co-founder of Pay Our Interns, a national nonprofit that has seismically shifted the internship realm throughout the US, Guillermo has experienced diversity and inclusion firsthand and is committed to bringing those lessons to his hometown.
Guillermo is unapologetic about who he is and what lived experiences he brings to the table. Guillermo is a proud openly gay man, Latino individual, college-drop out, and outspoken national organizer. He was raised by two hard-working South American immigrants in Worcester where finances were always a topic of discussion. Similar to many residents in Worcester, the Creamers were renters in several of Worcester’s numerous triple deckers. The city of Worcester needs a representative that has seen the spectrum of what Worcester has to offer. Guillermo is running to ensure that people of all backgrounds have a voice in their local government. Guillermo hopes to be the first openly gay individual elected onto the Worcester City Council and continue paving the way for other LGBTQ+ community leaders.
Worcester City Council, District 5
Yenni Desroches is running for Worcester’s District 5 City Council Seat to fight for a more modern, equitable, and accessible Worcester. She obtained a degree in Electronic Game and Interactive Development from Champlain College in 2012 and worked as a project manager. She fell in love with Worcester’s history, character, and potential after buying a multifamily home and moving to Newton Square in 2013 with her husband, a lifelong Worcester resident. She opened Next Level Pet Care in 2014, which closed due to the pandemic in March 2020, so she understands the struggles other small business owners go through. As a disabled person and member of the LGBTQ+ community, she believes the city must do more than show lip service to minority groups.
Throughout her entire life, Yenni has always been a forward-thinking, data-oriented, problem solver. As a game developer and small business owner, she has used this trait to her advantage and she believes that our council needs these traits now more than ever. There are great opportunities for the city to prepare for the rapid pace of technological change and automation, improve our infrastructure, expand public transport, support our schools, and expand access to affordable housing. To best effect positive change the council must fully analyze problems, collect needed data, consult experts, and only then act on solutions with an eye toward the future. This is the mindset and expertise we need from Yenni Desroches at City Hall, so let’s Move Worcester Forward together!
Somerville City Council, At-Large
Charlotte (she/her) is a queer, fourth-generation resident, renter and community organizer running for City Council, At-Large. She is running to make sure community voices can shape a Somerville that works for all of us.
Charlotte has organized shoulder-to-shoulder with frontline communities, workers, and neighbors to take on the crises of our time from police brutality to climate change. At 23 years old, Charlotte became the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, a statewide coalition of parents, teachers, and students fighting for more equitable public schools and colleges. Together, they won more than $1.5 billion dollars in state funding for K-12 schools across Massachusetts, leaving an unprecedented impact on a generation of students.
She is currently organizing with neighbors who have experienced violence at the hands of the police to defund SPD. Somerville has directed more funding toward expanding policing instead of addressing systemic racism and economic inequity for decades.
Charlotte has fought for an investment in public services that are accessible, life-affirming, and work toward structural change. Charlotte knows we can do things differently. Somerville residents can have more affordable housing, invest in our schools, make public transportation free, and create good union jobs in the process. Charlotte knows that bringing people together to fight for solutions can be truly transformative, not just for ourselves but for our communities.
Cambridge City Council, At-Large
Theodora (Theo) is a renter, environmentalist, organizer, and small business advocate. She has spent her lifetime advocating for worker empowerment, sustainable business practices, and more equitable access to opportunity for all members of our community, including BIPOC and immigrants, renters, LGBTQ+ members, and women. As the daughter of small business owners, Theo understands the importance a strong local economy and civic community has in uplifting the community. Theo is running for Cambridge City Council to fight for housing justice, climate solutions, local businesses, and to hold the City accountable for the progressive leadership Cambridge deserves
Theo currently serves as the Executive Director of Cambridge Local First, a non-profit that advocates for locally- and independently-owned businesses. She co-founded the Cambridge-Somerville Black Business Network, which brings together Black entrepreneurs and identifies programs to ensure these businesses survive the pandemic and thrive moving forward. As a Board member to the American Independent Business Alliance, she works to amplify local economies nationally. She also serves as Board Chair to the Cambridge YWCA, which is the city’s largest residential housing provider for women, with 103 units of single room occupancy (SRO) housing for single women at the Tanner Residence and a 10-bed shelter for homeless families. She was an early Board member to the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association, and she serves as Vice Chair to the Ward 8 Dems. Theodora believes in Cambridge and will work for the community by fighting for housing justice, climate solutions, equitable public education and small business owners.
Mayor of Pontiac
Jeremy is an attorney, realtor, and mentor hailing from the city of Pontiac. A product of the Pontiac School District, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science Pre-law from Michigan State University and his Juris Doctor from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Prior to earning his law degree, Jeremy spent time in Washington, DC working for Senator Carl Levin and The White House for the Obama Administration.
Growing up in a single-parent, working-class home, Jeremy was taught that success would require great tenacity, perseverance, and grit. Jeremy was also taught to help others. He is a former assistant prosecutor in the domestic violence unit at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. Currently, he is an attorney with the Perkins Law Group PLLC in Detroit. Additionally, he is a mentor on the FIRST Robotics team at the International Technology Academy in Pontiac.
As mayor, Jeremy will work to: (1) bring accountability to education; (2) connect Pontiac to the world; (3) protect the seniors, veterans, and disabled; (4) engage, energize, and elevate the youth; (5) create economic diversity and sustainability; (6) recognize and celebrate the different cultures in Pontiac; and (7) evolve Pontiac into a city where people can safely live, work, and play.
St. Clair Shores City Council
Jennifer Oresti was Born in San Antonio, Texas and adopted at just a month old, living in the Metro Detroit Area all her life. She grew up in New Baltimore, MI, an only child, passionate student, and athlete. Jen went on to graduate from Oakland University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Minor in Spanish Language in 2016. During her time there, she became deeply invested in causes supporting Mental Health Awareness, even leading a student organization on campus (To Write Love on Her Arms) working to combat stigma and connect students to resources.
Jen has worked in various industries from the time she was 16, often holding multiple jobs at once. From the service industry, to healthcare, to corporate office settings and with environmental organizations, she’s worked with a diverse group of individuals from all different backgrounds. Most recently, Jennifer was an Organizer for the 2020 election working on the One Campaign for Michigan and then became a Regional Mobilization Manager, working to elect candidate Jon Ossoff in his historic runoff race. As a young, progressive, Hispanic woman, living in the community for the past four years, Jennifer Oresti is working to build a more equitable and empowered future for St. Clair Shores, ensuring all residents feel represented and that they have a seat at the table.
Detroit City Council, District 4
Ken, a nationally recognized political activist, is running for office because the city needs more progressive leadership. The Detroit Cass Tech Alum was the youngest person in history to run for Mayor of the City of Detroit in 2017. He has worked in the Detroit Public School Community District as an educator for three years, served as a Deputy in the Wayne County Sheriff Office, and sits on the Board of Directors for multiple social justice organizations. He has also coached youth basketball for eight years in the community.
In 2021, Ken looks to become the youngest City Council member. “It’s not about age, but it’s about building a bridge of multigenerational leadership to ensure a bright future for the city of Detroit.”
Lansing City Council, At-Large
Peter, a fourth generation resident of Lansing, has a long track record of making a difference in the city of Lansing. As President of the Lansing School Board, Peter led the district to a successful school bond issue in 2016 — taxpayers voted for hundreds of millions of dollars to be invested in our local schools under his leadership. Peter has put the same passion to work for the City of Lansing, during his first term on the Lansing City Council working toward better governance and inclusive growth for all residents.
Peter was quickly recognized as a leader and consensus builder by his colleagues on City Council, having been elected Vice President his second year and serving two terms as President, navigating Council through the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual meetings, and unprecedented financial challenges.Peter was elected to the Lansing School Board in November of 2011. Peter is a graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University where he studied Social Relations and Policy with an emphasis on education policy and homeland security studies. He was also a fellow in the prestigious Michigan Political Leadership Program fellowship and named one of Lansing’s 10 over the Next Ten for 2013 and Distinguished Young Alumni by the Michigan State University Alumni Association in 2015.
New Jersey Senate, District 30
Dan was born in District 30, has lived and worked in the district nearly his entire career. Dan attended Wall Township Public Schools and is now raising his family in Howell. Throughout his childhood, he experienced the profound impacts public policy can make on families- both positive and negative. Now an accomplished Community Manager, and life-long resident of the district, Dan has gained an in-depth understanding of the community. Dan has worked in the real estate industry in Ocean and Monmouth Counties for the last three years; prior to that, he worked in sales and marketing and human resources. Dan’s diverse professional experiences position him to expertly advocate for housing, labor, public health and consumer protection.
Currently, he sits on the Howell Township Municipal Alliance, focusing on suicide prevention initiatives. Dan has also worked on the organizing committee for Ocean County’s 3rd Annual Pride Festival in Downtown Toms River.
Gabriel B Franco
Little Egg Harbor Township Committee
Gabe is running for office because he’s driven by public service and wants to put his skills and experience to use for the public good, and to create a greater sense of community and government accountability in Little Egg Harbor, NJ.
He’s a community leader, a public service lawyer, and has served as a pro-bono voting rights attorney, humanitarian aid missionary, political activist, and he gives hundreds of volunteer hours every year to worthy causes. He’s running to end political corruption and the pay-to-play status quo in local and state government, and to foster fairness, justice, and prosperity for the community.
Rensselaer County Legislature, District 4
Working in the New York State Legislature over the last five years, Alex knows what effective and responsible government looks like. Alex is running to uplift working families and residents in his district with publicly-owned high-speed broadband and energy, rebuilding local infrastructure including expanded child care and support for local small businesses, and preservation of local farmland and open space.
Through his work as a Legislative Analyst and Communications Director in the New York State Senate and Assembly, Alex understands the critical role that our state, county, and local governments play now more than ever amidst a devastating global pandemic, working to effectively communicate key public health information to the public and helping craft policies that help ordinary people and their families weather this crisis.
Alex grew up in the Village of Castleton attending Schodack Central Schools K-12, and as a lifelong resident of the Town of Schodack, he knows how our area is connected by its people, schools, farms, and rural character that defines our sense of community. Alex went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in History, as well as Public Policy, from the University at Albany, SUNY.
New Albany City Council, At Large
Andrea Wiltrout is a mother of three, a corporate attorney, a community leader and a strategic planner. When Andrea chose New Albany as the place to raise her kids, she became deeply invested in the community. Andrea has served as Chair of the Board of Zoning Appeals, on the Planning Commission and on several community boards.
New Albany is an idyllic place to raise a family, but Andrea wants to make it even better. Andrea will champion smart and thoughtful business and infrastructure development, elevate the voices of all New Albany residents and spearhead community giving initiatives. Andrea will draw on her previous experience to be a bridge between the New Albany of the past, and the New Albany of the future.
Cincinnati City Council
Evan is a Cincinnati native, graduate of the School for Creative and Performing Arts, and local filmmaker. He was raised by his single mother, a social worker in Hamilton County for over 26 years.
Evan’s background as a service industry professional and lifelong renter drives his campaign mission to elevate the material living conditions of Cincinnati’s working class and ensure our city works not only for the wealthy and well-connected few, but for all of us. Holt is running on a platform that centers on living wages, affordable housing, and anti-racism. Ultimately, Evan’s campaign isn’t just about getting him elected, it’s about starting a massive working class movement to hold elected officials accountable and to finally have a voice in shaping the direction of Cincinnati.
J. Matt Nickels
Cincinnati City Council
J. Matt Nickels is a father of two (Thatcher and Zelda) and a husband for nearly ten years to Lindsay, PhD. After a tour with the US Cavalry in Baghdad, he moved to Cincinnati in 2007 to attend Xavier University, where he completed a M Ed. Nickels has a diverse professional skill set in real estate, education, sales, and hospitality; a work history that will benefit the council. His goals include: improvement of the integrity of real estate development relationships within the city council, modernization of our public education system by working to provide internet to every citizen, and improvement of the quality of life by increasing social services, decreasing police activity, addressing affordable housing shortage, and improving roadways.
Hilliard Board of Education
Kara grew up in a small town in Ohio and attended a High School where she served as Class President and was voted Most Likely to be President. It was in High School that she discovered her love of serving, leadership and civic responsibility.
In 2001, she attended The Ohio State University as a first generation college student with a major in political science. However, during a trip around the globe, she discovered a new passion- working with children. During that trip, Kara worked with children in orphanages, various school settings and classrooms and through community based programs like Operation Hunger. When she returned from her travels, she changed her major to education.
For the last 14 years, Kara has worked as a teacher in a Title 1 school teaching many different grade levels but she is currently teaching kindergarten. Her educational career has been full of wonderful awards including The 2020 Outstanding Educator of the Year. However, if you ask her she would tell you that the highlights of her career have always been about her students. At her school, she was able to create a Robotics Program that ran strong for over 8 years and provided her the opportunity to speak at the local, state and national level. She was also able to create a Gentleman’s group that brought incredible mentorship and field trip opportunities to at-risk boys in 3rd and 4th grade. Her beautifully diverse classroom is an open and loving place that is filled with both academic and cultural learning opportunities. It is a place that welcomes all students as they are and supports their growth not just for the time they are in her classroom but forever. It brings her heart so much joy to see current and past students thriving! Kara loves to stay up to date on curriculum by taking professional development and college courses through programs such as The Teachers College at Columbia University. Kara has also done many many fun learning experiences like digging dinosaur bones through The Dig School, taking archery through The American Wilderness School and studying sharks in Australia with The National Science Foundation.
Kara is currently married to a High School teacher and they have 2 young children that attend Hilliard Schools. It would be Kara’s honor to serve on The Hilliard School Board.
Cleveland City Council, Ward 13
Kate is a community leader and advocate who has spent her career fighting for people in poverty. She is running for Cleveland City Council because she wants to tackle Cleveland’s tough issues- like poverty and health disparities- so that Cleveland can be a better place for decades to come.
She has always wanted to help people and make the community a better place, which is why she went to work serving people experiencing homelessness in Cleveland. That work taught her so much about the systemic problems facing the city, and led her to her current work, doing research and advancing public policy to support access to health and social services.
Kate has the leadership experience and the community service knowledge to effectively serve Cleveland on City Council.
Dublin School Board
Lindsay is a candidate for the Dublin City Schools Board of Education. As a bi-racial woman, who was raised by a single mother in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, Lindsay takes pride in her area connections. Lindsay is a 12-year Dublin resident and resides with her husband, three daughters, and mini Goldendoodle. Lindsay is an experienced Realtor® by trade, but her true passions are found in her philanthropic endeavors. She has a deep passion for family, education, and community.
As a mom of three daughters currently attending Dublin City Schools, she has a vested interest in the success of the DCS district. Lindsay is running for School Board to ensure that a quality and equitable education is received by all students. Lindsay will fight for the DCS district to be more inclusive and transparent; to provide an education that will ensure that all students have bright futures and a fighting chance in society. Transparency, accountability, inclusion.
Lindsay is running for School Board as a Mom who sees an opportunity to improve #TheDublinDifference to prepare our children for the future.
Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education
Mario is a charismatic and dedicated leader, music educator, and academic who combines his shared experience in education and social justice advocacy to challenge power constructs and inform students, organizations, and society-at-large on best practices in anti-racism and equity. In 2020, he completed his doctoral coursework in Educational Leadership at Ohio University. His research focus includes educational equity policies and practice. Mario worked as a field organizer with Obama for America in 2008, and in 2015, he was appointed to a four-year term on the Cleveland Community Police Commission, an advisory group created by consent decree that recommends policies centered around ending unconstitutional policing and improving community-police relations. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Cleveland Heights Racial Justice Task Force.
Mario is running for school board to empower and support the students of Tiger Nation with all the resources and structure they need to learn, grow, and thrive in our schools and in society. Mario will advocate for more Black, intersectional experience on the Board of Education and other positions of leadership on Board committees and task forces. He seeks to rebuild trust with all stakeholders of the community by holding the school district accountable to its mission, distribution of resources, and strategic planning. He is also a staunch advocate for Arts education and will fight for quality visual, technical, and performing arts within the school day. He currently resides in Cleveland Heights with his husband, Ryan and their dog, Bowser.
Franklin County Municipal Court Judge
Rena is a criminal defense attorney at the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office, and is currently a 2021 candidate for the office of Franklin County Municipal Court Judge.
A career public defender, Rena spends her days zealously advocating on behalf of Central Ohio’s most underserved populations. She has handled cases ranging from traffic offenses to the most serious of felonies, including those that have been referred to specialty dockets such as drug court, human trafficking court, veterans court, and mental health court.
Rena holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Political Science from The Ohio State University, as well as a Juris Doctor degree from Capital University Law School. Rena believes that every person deserves equal justice under the law and is committed to achieving equity in the courts. Rena has a lifelong passion for public service, fundraising, and volunteer work- making it her mission to serve the residents of Franklin County in and out of the courtroom.
Economy Borough Council
Elizabeth is a young professional who has dedicated most of her free time to local politics and different organizations in the borough and county. Elizabeth is running to make the local government more transparent, accountable, and accessible.
She has served as a member for the Recreation Board as Secretary and was also previously the Vice President. She has been an active member of the Zoning Hearing board, and has never missed a meeting since she was appointed as an alternate. While on the Economy Borough Zoning Hearing Board, Elizabeth has voted in favor of small businesses being established in the borough, showing her commitment to local small businesses, and a willingness to live by the values that she espouses.
Elizabeth has been lucky enough to still be working full time in addition to all of her additional extra-vocational activities. Her position as an Administrative Assistant has been playfully referred to as “Controller of Chaos” due to the number of different responsibilities, groups, and projects that she keeps on track.
In addition to her degree she also earned certifications from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as competed in Master’s Degree Level War Games as an undergraduate student. Elizabeth lives with her husband of 3 years, Mr. Ian Hunt, on a quiet little street in Economy’s 5th precinct. And Elizabeth would not have it any other way.
Knoxville City Council, District 6
Deidra, a Knoxville native, is embracing her title of business woman and active community leader, focusing on bringing effective change and leadership to the city of Knoxville. Deidra is running for City Council, 6th District because there is an urgent need to bring an elevated vision to matters that are important to us: creating social investment opportunities, developing avenues that will allow businesses to grow, and funding youth enrichment programs. There is an urgent need for someone to effectively champion matters that will directly reduce the current 42% poverty rate in Knoxville. She carries within her heart the purpose to serve as a visionary for and a voice of the people.
Virginia House, District 86
Irene is an organizer-turned non-profit executive director running for Virginia’s House of Delegates in the 86th District. She is the proud daughter of Korean immigrants; her dad is a small business owner and her mom is a homemaker. Irene went to a state university on scholarship and paid her way by waiting on tables. She watched a cancer diagnosis almost bankrupt her family. She’s worked for political campaigns, non-profits, and start-ups. Throughout her career, she is always focused on making democracy more accessible and the government more representative of everyone.
Irene is running because she knows it shouldn’t make a difference how much money you make, how you pray, which languages you speak, or who you love. Government exists to serve us, the people. And she plans on making it work better for all Virginia families. As our next Delegate in the 86th district, Irene knows that what matters to you should matter to your government, too.
University Place School Board, Position 1
As the parent of University Place students, Alecia understands the issues that matter most to families in the district. Her twin boys have both been diagnosed with autism and each has their own Individual Education Plan. Because of the challenges her sons have faced, Alecia has unique experience collaborating with teachers and the district to solve challenges in the classroom.
Alecia will bring her leadership and experience as a parent to the University Place School Board to ensure that EVERY child succeeds in our schools.
Kent City Council, Position 4
Clifford “Cliff” Cawthon is an educator, organizer, and freelance journalist who has been working across the region for the last several years and currently lives in Kent, with his fiancee, Monica.
Cliff is currently a professor of Political Science at Bellevue College. He has participated in movement and advocacy work in the US and abroad. In Washington his advocacy work has heavily focused on communities in South Martin Luther King Jr. County. He has worked on several local electoral campaigns and achieved historic local wins for Black candidates, expanding regional transit, defending tenants’ rights and on the “Fight for $15” campaign to raise the minimum wage. As a freelance journalist, he has published in local Seattle newspapers such as the South Seattle Emerald, the International Examiner and Real Change; he writes on housing policy, civil rights issues, politics, and popular culture. His work has received wide acclaim and he continues to write today. He received his Master of Arts degree in Human Rights and Political Science from the University of Manchester in the UK and he is looking forward to moving onto a PhD program within the near future.
Port of Seattle Commission, Position 3
Hamdi came to the U.S. when she was three years old with her family, after the outbreak of a civil war in Somalia, and her first port of entry was Sea-Tac airport. Hamdi has lived across King County and is ready to bring a refreshing change to the Port of Seattle.
Hamdi has dedicated her life to public service, helping families, small businesses, and communities at the local and federal levels. Hamdi decided to run for the Seattle Port Commission for two reasons. First, there is a lack of regional representation at the port. The port’s operations significantly impact cities in South King County, and none of the current port commissioners live in that area. SeaTac airport is the port’s largest asset, providing nearly seventy percent of the Port budget. Secondly, Hamdi wants to bring her expertise in economic development and job creation to the Port of Seattle. As a Policy Advisor for the King County Executive Office, Hamdi provides advisory and monitoring support to the $12 billion county budget, including collaborations with stakeholders and community organizations. Creating jobs, economic development, environmental protection, and increasing transparency and accessibility at the port are Hamdi’s top priorities. As we defeat COVID-19, Hamdi will ensure that the port helps our working people hit the hardest by the pandemic recover and thrive.
King County Executive
Joe is the son of Vietnamese refugees and a current Washington State Senator who has already made a big splash in the legislature with his effective and community-based leadership style and unwavering commitment to progressive values and working people. Driving the passage of historic bills on progressive taxation, police accountability, and economic justice, he knows what it takes to get things done. In 2021, he’s running for King County Executive because the local leadership needs the same urgency Joe brought to the Senate in order solve the issues we’ve been treading water on for years.
He’s running on a platform that centers representative government to make bold change on the issues that matter most. The Kings County Executive office oversees affordable housing and homelessness, criminal justice reform and police accountability, and efficient and accessible public transit. The community deserves a leader with the lived experience and political will to solve these issues.
Joe still lives just miles from where he grew up, with his wife, a former special education teacher, and his three young children.
Federal Way City Council, Position 6
Renae is a first-generation Indian-American born to immigrant parents. Growing up, she has seen the impact of a lack of childcare access that resulted in her mom sacrificing her career to stay home to take care of the family. While seeing her parents struggle to maintain a family and continue their business, Renae obtained her BA in Political Science and since college, Renae has been heavily involved in youth education rights and served in several nonprofits and board positions before returning to school for an MA in Business and Data Analytics. Renae is now a financial risk analyst at a local credit union where she has developed financial models and products to ensure equitable access to financial stability for working class families.
As a young woman of color, Renae is advocating for representation of young people in business, politics, and next-generation leadership positions. When elected, Renae will push for expanded child-care access, financial stability and workers’ rights, fiscal responsibility and elimination of wasteful spending, and concrete, humane steps to address the homelessness crisis in her city. Renae is running because she sees the need for equitable representation in politics as well as the importance for a voice of representation for the youth population to push for youth advancement opportunities such as pipeline programs and address critical youth issues such as racial equity, the school-to-prison pipeline, and housing affordability.
Dr. Shukri Olow
King County Council, District 5
Dr. Shukri Olow is a mother, a community organizer, and a candidate for King County, District 5 (covering the cities of Kent, SeaTac, Tukwila, Burien, Normandy Park, Des Moines and Renton). For the last 14 years, she has worked directly in service to the residents of South King County working on a variety of issues including housing, education, and human services. She mentors youth through several programs, pushing the systems from the outside so that we can all get to collective liberation.
She previously worked at Neighborhood House, Seattle Housing Authority, and Seattle Public Schools, and currently works at King County. In addition to serving on several boards like Kent Youth and Family Services, Kent YMCA, One America Votes, and Somali Health Board, she is passionate about creating a pipeline for young people to access opportunities and provide exposure to new experiences.
Port of Seattle Commission, Position 4
Toshiko Grace Hasegawa is a fourth generation Japanese American from the Beacon Hill neighborhood in South Seattle. Her great-grandparents arrived in the U.S. through the Port of Seattle seeking economic opportunity, but were instead sent to government camps during WWII. This history informs her core values of advancing civil rights and racial equity through public policy. Toshiko was raised in a union household, which taught her to stand in solidarity with others. She is called to a life of service and worked in legislative offices on the federal, state and county levels until she joined King County’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight to improve systems of police accountability. Toshiko was appointed in 2018 by Governor Inslee as Director of Washington State’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. She is the youngest woman of color ever to serve as a cabinet member. If elected, she would be the first woman of color to serve on the Port Commission. Toshiko holds a BA & MA in Criminal Justice from Seattle University.