May endorsements

Run for Something
17 min readMay 30, 2018


The May round of Run for Something endorsed candidates are a diverse group, but they’ve got two things in common: heart and hustle.

This class of 38 candidates, representing 21 states, includes three immigrants, eight educators, two arts administrators, a police supervisor, a varsity basketball coach AND a candidate who could become the first Deaf person elected to a state legislative position in the United States (!!)

Get to know them, love them, donate to them, volunteer with them, and if you can, vote for them.


Amber Selman-Lynn
Alabama House of Representatives District 64

Amber is proud to be the Democratic candidate for Alabama House District 64. She was born nearby in Fairhope, AL and has strong family ties to the area. With a Masters in Clinical and Counseling Psychology, Amber worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor before leaving work to focus on raising her two daughters, Harper (6) and Caroline (5). With both girls in school next year, she is ready to get back to work. As Representative of District 64, she will work toward improving Alabama’s healthcare, education and infrastructure, and restoring trust and transparency to our state government.


Elaissia Sears
Justice of the Peace — West Mesa Justice Precinct, Legislative District 26

Elaissia Sears is an Arizona native and a proud product of Mesa Public Schools. She is an active member of her community, having served as a mentor to international students, the Youth & Education Assistant for Phoenix Sister Cities, and as staff at the Arizona House of Representatives. She is a global professional who has had the privilege of representing Arizona as a student ambassador through Congress to Germany, and was later selected for an internship with the U.S. State Department at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.

She graduated from Arizona State University, and has a B.A. in Global Studies, a minor in German, and certificates in Political Entrepreneurship, Women and Gender Studies, and International Relations. As a strong advocate for education, Elaissia taught English in rural communities in the Dominican Republic and South Korea, and now works as an assistant 4th grade teacher. She also is a social entrepreneur and non-profit founder who focuses on issues of food insecurity and lack of education funding. In the future, she aspires to work in youth incarceration.

Elaissia believes that leadership for a better Mesa includes empowering citizens with education, implementing restorative justice practices, cultivating new awareness of social and community issues, and providing a fresh outlook on how we can all be part of the solution in our justice courts.

Vania Guevara
Phoenix City Council, District 5

Vania Guevara is a first-generation Salvadoran American. She is running for District 5 of the Phoenix City Council where 50 languages are spoken daily. If elected, Vania would be the first woman to be in this seat.

District 5 is Vania’s home. This candidacy is meaningful because Vania personally knows the residents. For six years, she was an advisor for the District 5 council office where she worked directly with residents. She served to ensure that people were heard.

As a Councilmember, Vania will continue to empower all communities, and improve the quality of life for people in District 5.”


Chris Birch
Arkansas House of Representatives, District 92

Chris is an Air Force veteran running for the District 92 seat of the Arkansas House of Representatives. He is a University of Arkansas School of Law graduate, a father of two, and fierce advocate for social justice, public education, and healthcare access. Chris grew up in Gravette, Arkansas which is where he and his children currently live. He hopes to represent his hometown in Little Rock in 2019.


Mya Whitaker
Oakland City Council District 6

As a conduit for social change and empowerment, Mya is a strong believer that Oakland can save itself from the issues that our communities struggle with. Oakland is home to many innovative people, ideas, and organizations that shape the direction of not only the United States, but the world. At this present moment, Oakland needs representation in city government that is truly reflective of our community. Mya understands our neighborhoods because she, like many others, is fighting to ensure that Oakland always remains home.

Victor Olivieri
San Francisco College Board

Dr. Olivieri immigrated to the U.S. at 12 speaking only Spanish. He is a first-generation community college student who went on to defy the odds and become a decorated Army Officer, a respected educator, and a senior administrator of one of the most diverse universities in the country. With proven leadership and over a decade of experience in higher education, Dr. Olivieri is uniquely qualified to improve student success, strengthen the city’s diverse community, and embrace innovation at City College of San Francisco.


Corey Paris
Connecticut General Assembly — District 146

Corey Paris is uniquely equipped to be the energetic leader and passionate, yet common-sense problem solver that the 146th district needs in its next state representative. A proud resident of Stamford Downtown, Corey is a product of the Connecticut State Colleges and University system. He was educated at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.

Pragmatic, genuine and passionate about serving people and producing results, Corey has dedicated his professional life to raising awareness about systemic injustices and prejudices that plague marginalized communities. As a development professional, Corey has successfully demonstrated his ability to hear and understand a need and translate it into a plan tailored to solve the problem or meet/exceed the need. He has raised funds for University of New Haven, political candidates and campaigns, and most recently for the Hispanic Health Council.

Corey has developed his ability to collaborate for the common good through his service on multiple boards, including the Ives Authority for the Performing Arts, the WCSU Alumni Association and the Multicultural Council for the City of Stamford.

Matt Pugliese
Connecticut General Assembly, 23rd District

Matt Pugliese is a non-profit theatre administrator and Chair of the Old Saybrook Economic Development Commission. He has spent his career in the arts working to create opportunities for dialogue and build community. Matt lives in Old Saybrook with his wife, Kristen, and their two daughters. Named to the Hartford Business Journal 40 Under 40 Business Leaders, he recently completed his Masters in Public Administration at UCONN.


Bilan Joseph
Pinellas County School Board, District 7

Dr. Bilan Joseph is a passionate educator, mother, and a concerned citizen running for Pinellas County School Board, District 7. As a teacher in a failing public school, she has witnessed firsthand the lack of access to the necessary funding and resources required to provide every student within her county an education that will prepare them to do more than simply sit for a test. Moreover, she holds three professional degrees in education. Dr. Joseph also has eleven years’ experience as an elementary, middle, and high school English teacher in the public, private, and charter school sectors.

Brandon Alfred
Miami-Dade School Board, District 2

Brandon is an educator who is running for Miami-Dade County School Board. After graduating from Yale University, Brandon came to Miami as part of Teach for America to teach at Miami Central SHS. Brandon would go on to become the Dean of Culture at Jose de Diego MS where he helped transform the school from an “F” to a “C” in just two years. As the son of educators, Brandon knows he was lucky to have parents who could navigate the public education system. In District 2, where 70% of traditional high school students did not pass their state exams in Math or Reading, Brandon is running to eliminate luck from the equation.


Christina Fivecoate
Indiana Senate District 21

Christina is running for State Senate District 21 in Indiana. She grew up the youngest of eight to a single mom in Pittsburgh, PA, but has called Kokomo, IN her home for the last 15 years. She is a recent graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University. She intends to advocate for the issues that matter to Hoosiers in the district that have been generally ignored by the current leadership. She plans to fight for fair and equal government that is representative of the diverse population that is District 21.


Chris Haulmark
Kansas House of Representatives, District 15

A former government IT Manager, Chris is known nationally for founding the Deaf Grassroots Movement, his national and local activism, and his travels throughout the world to learn of other cultures. Chris’s passion for diversity, accessibility, and social services are a perfect fit for an underrepresented 15th District. When elected, Chris will be the first Deaf person elected at a state or higher level in the history of the United States.


Tyler Murphy
Fayette County (Kentucky) Board of Education, District 2

Tyler, a lifelong Kentuckian, is a public school teacher running for Fayette County School Board (District 2) in Central Kentucky. Tyler teaches history in neighboring Woodford County, where he serves as the President of his local teachers’ association and a member of the School Based Decision Making Council. Tyler is passionate about education and public service, working as an administrator with the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program, serving as a mentor to college students at Transylvania University, and volunteering in his downtown Lexington church community.

Tyler has been an advocate for progressive causes at the state, local, and national levels for most of his life.


Drew Russo
Massachusetts House of Representatives, 11th Essex District

A Lynn native and first time candidate for public office, Drew Russo has served as Executive Director of the Lynn Museum/LynnArts organization since May 2015. Prior to his work with the Museum/LynnArts, Drew directed in-district operations for former U.S. Representative John Tierney, managed State Senator Thomas McGee’s successful campaign for re-election in 2010, and served as Assistant Director of Advancement at St. Mary’s High School, whose campus in the heart of downtown Lynn. After graduating St. Michael’s College, he served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps working as a case manager in Detroit, Michigan. Drew lives in Lynn with his wife Patricia Ridge and is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for State Representative in the 11th Essex District (Lynn and Nahant).

Ted Steinberg
Massachusetts State House, Norfolk 13

Ted Steinberg is running for State Representative in Norfolk County’s 13th District, which includes his hometown of Needham, MA. With extensive experience in local, state, and federal government, and a focus on transparency, Ted is ready to fight as a progressive advocate in the Massachusetts State House. A former Congressional Aide and constituent caseworker, Ted began his community organizing efforts during the 2016 election cycle, coordinating voter registration sign-ups, leading civic engagement workshops, and volunteering for local Democratic candidates. Earning a degree in Public Policy and a certificate in Public Administration, Ted was named a 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 Student Scholar. He is an avid advocate for education reform, strong environmental policy, immigrant rights, and LGBT+ equality.

Ted will serve as more than just a vote on Beacon Hill, ready to champion progressive values and put words to action.


Kyra Harris
Michigan State Legislature-House District 35

Kyra Harris Bolden is a lifelong resident of Southfield and proud product of Southfield Public Schools. Moved to give voice to issues to improve her community, Bolden attended law school to gain the skills necessary to be a strong advocate for the rights of others. Bolden currently serves as a Civil Litigation Attorney and a Commissioner on Southfield’s Total Living Commission. She cares deeply about the community that raised her. Bolden will be a BOLD voice for young people, working families and seniors.

Myya Jones
Michigan State Legislator, House District 4

Myya is proud to be a lifelong Detroiter and Michigan State University alumna! She uses her many platforms to spark dialogue concerning marginalized groups, and how they can acquire resources to advance their communities. Specifically, she has been successful in advocating for cultural sensitivity and diversity training for officers, faculty, and staff at MSU — mandating mandatory sexual assault workshops — acquiring in-state tuition for Dreamers — and accessing educational resources for minority students to increase retention and graduation rates. Become a State Representative will allow her to give people of color, women, and Millennials a seat at the table in Michigan politics.


Eric Williams
Omaha Public Power District, Board of Directors Subdivision 6

Eric Williams has been working on energy policy in his community for over ten years. He supports fair rates for rate-payer owners, public engagement with all members of the community, and taking advantage of new energy market opportunities. Eric is prepared to address the significant challenges of climate change. He will work to make new technology in clean energy, smart grid, and electric vehicles a benefit to people in Omaha. Eric’s experience with solar and biofuels, his leadership with community organizations, and his vision for the future of public power make him the best candidate for OPPD.

New York

Anthony Nicodemo
New York State Legislature, 90th District

Nicodemo currently teaches social studies and serves as union President of Greenburgh-North Castle United, the NYSUT affiliated union. He also is the boys varsity basketball coach at Saunders Trade and Technical High School in Yonkers. He garnered national attention in 2013 when he came out as gay to his team and community. Since coming out Nicodemo has been an advocate for the LGBT community.

Nicodemo serves on the board of directors for the Sports Equality Foundation and is co-chair of Yonkers LGBTQ Advisory Board. He received Pace University’s Community Service Award in 2016, a Gay City News Impact Award in 2017 and a GLSEN Hudson Valley Leadership Award for his advocacy.

Jessica Ramos
New York State Senate District 13

Jessica Ramos is a Queens native, grassroots activist, and mother of two. Ramos is running to fund our public schools, pass real rent reform, and fix the broken subway system. A strong labor advocate with deep experience championing union rights, Ramos worked with Build Up NYC to fight for construction, hotel, and maintenance workers in New York City. Ramos has also worked with Social Service Employees Union Local 371 of AFSCME District Council 37 and 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. Ramos was a member of Queens Community Board 3 and served as a Democratic District Leader from 2010 to 2014. Most recently, Ramos served as Director of Latino Media for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Ramos lives in Jackson Heights, Queens, with her husband and two young sons. Ramos does not have a driver’s license — she rides the subway every day.

North Carolina

Aimy Steele
North Carolina House of Representatives, District 82

Aimy is running for NC House District 82 to restore order in the public school system of North Carolina which she has worked in as a Spanish Teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal for 10 years. She believes in fair and equitable treatment of all students, better pay for teachers and administrators, increased living wages for workers, and high quality healthcare for all. Aimy’s mission is bring a diverse perspective to the General Assembly by representing the voices of all North Carolinians. She, her husband, and their five children reside in Concord, NC.

Katie Tomberlin
Carteret County Commissioner, District 2

Katie Tomberlin has had a lifelong passion for politics. She sits on several local political Boards, and provides a strong, sound Progressive voice in Carteret County. Katie is an active part of the community, and a strong fighter for equal rights and social justice. As the mother of three children in the Carteret County Public School System, education is an issue close to her heart. Keeping the Arts in the schools, protecting curriculum, and properly funding the schools are keys issues to her. It’s time for a change in Carteret County, and Katie is committed to bringing this change.

Kristoffer Rixon
North Carolina House of Representatives, District 09

Kris Rixon is the youngest Democrat running for the North Carolina General Assembly this year, at the age of 23. He is running for NC House District 09, and if elected will be the youngest member of the House and one of the few openly LGBTQ+ legislators. Growing up, Kris had a difficult life — having experienced homelessness, lack of healthcare, his family struggling to make ends meet, and more. In Pitt County, where his district is, people struggle everyday with these same issues. That’s why Kris wants to be their voice in Raleigh, so that he can help bring responsible government back to North Carolina. He is not only running on the issues, but a promise to make North Carolina a better, stronger, healthier, and fairer place to live.


Louise Valentine
Ohio State Senate 19th District

Louise Valentine is a mother of two running for the Ohio Senate District 19. Louise grew up in a middle-class Ohio family, as her father was a member of the Chemical Worker’s union. After graduating from Elyria Public High School, Louise received a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from The Ohio State University and worked in management at L Brands for a decade. With two sons who just finished Kindergarten at Westerville Public Schools, Louise is running to ensure that the next generation of Ohio families have access to quality public education, healthcare, and a thriving job market!

Rachel Crooks
Ohio House of Representatives, District 88

Raised in Green Springs, Ohio and currently a resident of Tiffin, Ohio, Rachel is a long-time resident of Sandusky and Seneca counties. She grew up in her district and is proud of her roots. She wants to see everyone in the district thrive, not just the select few at the top. Professionally, Rachel has worked in higher education for over a decade and enjoys most the work that she has done with international students. Rachel is currently pursuing a Ph.D. and her research focuses on the experience of Middle Eastern university students with their community hosts in the U.S.


Clay Layton
Oklahoma State House of Representatives District 9

Clay Layton is an everyday Oklahoman. He decided to run for office after witnessing years and years of ineffective leadership at the state Capitol. The final straw was that our Oklahoma teachers had to walk off the job to get adequate funding and pay. Clay decided that it was time for new leadership. He has followed politics for many years and decided that instead of sitting on the sidelines he would get involved and run for office himself. It’s time for change and Clay Layton is the guy for the job.

Kevin Hammond
Sheriff, Cleveland County, OK

Kevin is a 4th generation Oklahoman, who lives in Cleveland County, Oklahoma with his wife and two children. After earning a BA in Criminal Justice and an MA in Business and Organizational Security Management, he has worked as both a police supervisor and security manager. He is running for Sheriff of Cleveland County to implement progressive policing reforms that will protect the rights of the citizens, modernize the Sheriff’s Office, and build relationships with the community.

Lauren Morris
Oklahoma State Legislature, District 84

Though Lauren is not a professional politician, she believes that the citizens of Oklahoma deserve honest, responsible, and well-considered representation at the state level. Lauren will be the voice we need at the Capitol.

South Carolina

JA Moore
South Carolina House of Representative District 15

JA Moore is a Lowcountry native, community advocate, and professional chef.

His father, the late James A. Moore, was one of the first African-Americans to serve in the Marine Corps, and worked as a plant-worker; his mother, Ernestine S. Moore, is an educator and former non-profit executive. JA is happily married to Victoria Rae Moore, a communications professional. The two are celebrating their second year of marriage.

JA is an active volunteer in the community, he specializes in engaging young people in civic activity. He frequently organizes voter registration drives, coaches youth basketball through the North Charleston Recreation Department, and mentors at-risk youth.

JA has been featured on CNN Tonight, Yahoo News, and MSNBC. He is currently the SC Democratic nominee for the South Carolina House of Representatives District 15th in this year election.

Joe Preston
South Carolina House of Representatives 112th District

Joe Preston is running for the South Carolina House from the 112th District, a seat that had gone unopposed since 1996. He and his wife of ten years are adoptive parents of 2 ten year old boys. Their boys were adopted after struggling through 5 years of failed infertility treatments. Prior to becoming adoptive parents, he was a foster parent for children with complex medical needs. After high school he worked with adults with disabilities and mental processing delays. At age 19, he joined the local volunteer fire department. He spent the next 13 years juggling the demands of a job, volunteer work, fire school, and family. While in the fire service, he rose through the ranks, becoming Lieutenant in 2001, and eventually Captain in 2008. He was nominated Firefighter of the Year for 3 consecutive years and was also named a “top responder”. Now Joe looks to take the skills he learned in the fire service to bring true ethical leadership the South Carolina legislature.


Joda Thongnopnua
Tennessee House of Representatives, District 30

Joda Thongnopnua is a candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives in District 30. The child of two parents with immigrant roots, Joda grew up in East Ridge, Tennessee watching his parents work their way into the middle class. Today, Joda heads up the Metro Ideas Project, a non-profit organization that helps midsize cities work better, smarter and for the good of all citizens. His record is one of making his community a better place for everyone. Now he is ready to continue this work, in Nashville, fighting for working families and a better Tennessee.

Nicholas Knight
Hamblen County Commission District 6

Nicholas Knight is running for the District 6 County Commission seat in Hamblen County, Tennessee. A native of District 6, Nicholas loves Hamblen County, and he knows that with the right leadership it can be a place where everyone wants to and is able to, live. From education to higher-paying skilled jobs, to better care for the most vulnerable in the community; it’s time for Hamblen County to invest in its future. Nicholas believes that together, we can build that future. Together, we can bring change to the County Commission. Together, we can!


Armando Gamboa
Texas State House District 81

Armando Gamboa was born in Mexico, immigrated to the United States at an early age with his mother. Through her dedication and hard work, they were both able to acquire citizenship. This is what would become the driving force in his life. Through his mother, he learned the value of hard work and a sense of accomplishment. He has since worked commercial finance, oil and gas, and real estate throughout his life. As an openly LGBT candidate, Armando wants to fight for all Texans, and give them the tools to be able to reach their God-given potential.

Eric Stoltz
El Paso City Council, District 6

Eric is a young El Pasoan who is running for City Council District 6. Eric believes it’s imperative to bring community voices back to City Hall. He is running to ensure everyone in the frontera is treated with dignity and respect. While attending UTEP he saw a city that prioritizes the needs of campaign donors, ahead of regular El Pasoans struggling to survive ever-increasing taxes. He will fight to bring a progressive voice, community first approach, and environmentally friendly vision to Far West Texas.


Canek Aguirre
Alexandria City Council

A native of Los Angeles and the son of Mexican immigrants, Canek is a community advocate and progressive leader focused on improving the lives of all Alexandrians. A member of numerous boards and commissions in the region, he has made it a priority to give back to his adopted community. In his professional capacity, Canek works to increase access to care and improve health outcomes for Medicaid populations throughout Northern Virginia. Prior to this, Canek spent three years serving students and families in Alexandria City Public Schools. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Sasha Bentley-Feinberg
Washington State Legislature, Legislative District 14, Position 1

Sasha Bentley will work tirelessly to support working people, grow the middle class, and help communities left behind. She will champion state and private investments, ensuring that our district, from the City of Yakima to our rural areas, receives resources it needs to thrive. Sasha is committed to working across the aisle on important issues like affordable housing, education, healthcare, and property tax reduction. She is a resourceful problem solver, hard-working entrepreneur, and proven leader who is passionate about public service and transparent, efficient government. Sasha is dedicated to working year-round to be your voice in Olympia.

Caleb Frostman
Wisconsin State Senate District 1

Caleb grew up in Green Bay and graduated from the UW-Madison Business School before pursuing a career in commercial real estate finance. He was thrilled to bring that experience home to northeast Wisconsin as the Door County Economic Development Corporation’s Executive Director.

Frostman sits on the Bay Area Workforce Development Board and serves on the boards of the Door County Visitor Bureau, Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center, Sunshine House, an organization that serves adults with disabilities, and the Advisory Council of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Door County. After college, he served as a Big Brother to the same Little for more than five years.



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