We’re only halfway through May and it’s been a rollercoaster ride. Abortion bans, federal hearings, the contentious penultimate episode of GOT… #issalot
But today, we’re sharing some good news: our May endorsement class! This month, we’ve endorsed 28 new kickass first-time candidates running for positions that range from state senate to district school board. These candidates are committed to ushering in a new era of progressive policies and agendas that will improve the lives of women, working class families, and people of color across the country.
Now, more than ever, we need these candidates.
If you haven’t been paying attention, state and local seats have become a critical component in our fight to protect the rights of marginalized communities. With conservatives “leaders” in the Oval Office, the Supreme Court, and dozens of state legislatures, we have to make sure we a filling every open seat with a young progressive.
The 28 candidates below should serve as an inspiration to all of us: they’ve taken their frustration, anger, and pain and channeled it into good work.
Take some time out of your busy schedule to learn more about these candidates, and when your done follow their lead and join the fight 💪.
Los Angeles City Council, District 12
Carlos Amador is a human rights advocate and a candidate for LA Council District 12. His leadership has been shaped by lived experiences growing up as an immigrant.
Carlos has played a critical role in campaigns that have changed the lives of millions. Those include the DACA campaign, the California Driver’s License campaign, and the State Sanctuary Law campaign, among others. He is the Community Engagement Director at the California Immigrant Policy Center, a board member of the local neighborhood council, and a board member of the ACLU of Southern California. He lives with his wife and daughter in Granada Hills.
Elizabeth (Liz) Wuerffel
Valparaiso City Council At-Large
An educator, artist, and midfielder, Elizabeth (Liz) Wuerffel has invested herself in the city and region through her work teaching digital media art at Valparaiso University and co-directing the Welcome Project, a Northwest Indiana story collection, with her partner, Allison Schuette.
Liz believes city government should be open, transparent, and accessible, and that government decisions should benefit the whole and not the few. Given the increased cost of living and skyrocketing housing costs, Wuerffel is particularly interested in the role City Council can play in making sure that the people who work in Valpo can afford to call Valpo home. Wuerffel is running for City Council At-Large.
Longmeadow School Committee
James is running for School Committee so that he can use his years of experience as an educator and public servant to help guide Longmeadow Public Schools, for now and for future generations.
James’ priorities include fiscal stewardship, promoting behavioral health for students, advancing vocational-technical education, and adequately supporting special education programs.
Mayor of Brockton
Born and raised in the City of Brockton, Jimmy has dedicated his personal and professional life to the people of our city. As a father, urban & regional planner, youth advocate, homeowner, and dedicated community activist, Jimmy has a deep connection to the challenges our community is facing and a demonstrated commitment to working on behalf of all families.
Growing up in the Department of Youth Services, Jimmy transformed his life after personal experience with systemic inequity. Jimmy’s personal experience has not only informed his leadership, but motivated him to engage with proven-risk youth that consistently fall through the cracks.
Jimmy is running for Mayor of Brockton to continue his lifelong public service and commitment to the City of Champions. With growing income inequality, worsening health disparities, increased homelessness, gun violence, and poor educational outcomes, Jimmy is running to create opportunity and prosperity for all families.
Southfield City Council
Sara is running for Southfield City Council. She is a product of Southfield Public Schools. She is a legal aid attorney and serves as the Director of Operations of a nonprofit in Southfield. She is on the Commission on Senior Adults and the board of the National Lawyers Guild Detroit Chapter.
She learned the importance of service as a student and took those lessons to make a career in serving others.
Sara isn’t running to be the voice of her community, but the microphone to address residents’ concerns. She is running because there is no greater work than serving others.
State Senate, District 22
Colton is running for State Senate District 22 in Mississippi to be a voice for progress. Colton is ready to take action against the rural healthcare crisis by being a voice for Medicaid Expansion. Colton is also ready to fight for a real teacher pay raise and the full funding of public schools, both of which have been neglected for far too long in Mississippi.
State Senate, District 8
Kegan Coleman is running for Senate District 8 in Mississippi. He is an attorney practicing across the state. Kegan has been a Mississippian and involved in his community all of his life. He has been involved in politics since age 12 and has decided to not only stand but run to make a difference.
Kegan believes the next generation of Mississippians need to have a voice in shaping the state and be inspired to create change through public service. Kegan desires to use his knowledge of policy creation, and the rule of law to be a vocal advocate for the people of District 8 and Mississippi.
Public Service Commission, Central District
Ryan Brown began his tenure at the Mississippi Public Service Commission in January 2016 where he served as Central District Deputy Commissioner until March 1, 2019. Prior to the Public Service Commission, Ryan served as Policy Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Services from 2012–2015.
Throughout his career, Ryan worked for a number of policymakers such as Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, Virginia Congressman Glenn Nye, and New York Congresswoman Kathleen Hochul.
Ryan received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi and his Master of Public Policy and Administration degree from Jackson State University. He served as an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Millsaps College in Jackson from 2018–2019.
Pitman Borough Council
Vanessa James is running for Pitman Borough Council. As a member of the Pitman community, Vanessa is excited to see her town thrive. She currently volunteers on Pitman’s Memorabilia and Economic Development Committees, coaches youth soccer, and serves as the President of the Greater Pitman Chamber of Commerce.
Through her experience as an attorney, Vanessa has seen firsthand how local governments can impact the lives of everyday people. It is her desire to play a larger role in that process, and ensure that Pitman remains the best place in South Jersey to live, work, and raise a family.
Brookhaven Receiver of Taxes
Dom Pascual is running for Receiver of Taxes in Brookhaven, Long Island. Dom Pascual is a financial crimes attorney, bank compliance officer, patriot and a commissioned military officer. Dom believes that government should be open, transparent, and accessible. Dom will bring integrity back to the Town of Brookhaven. As your Receiver of Taxes, I pledge to educate the public so eligible senior citizens, veterans and new homeowners get that tax relief they are entitled to under the law. No one should have to pay a penny more than what they have to; so they can take care of their family.
Nassau County Legislator, District 3
Monique Hardial is running in a Democratic Primary for Nassau County Legislator in Nassau’s 3rd Legislative District. Monique is an Attorney and a Women’s Rights & Community Advocate. She is running to restore Ethics, Integrity and Accountability to the Nassau County Legislature. If elected she will be the only Latina to serve on the 19 body legislature and only one of two women of color. Monique believes that a representative government reflective of all of the people living in Nassau County is paramount to creating a county that is equitable for its people. Monique is a Mother of two boys and as such is fighting for her seat at the table as a MOM, to ensure that legislation is drafted surrounding affordable childcare, universal pre-k, pay equity, combating the rising maternal mortality rate and so much more, and is done so with the understanding of the value that women contribute both to the labor force and at home raising their children.
Robert K. Hoggard
Rochester School Board, At-Large
Robert is an advocate, mentor, and educator. He taught at two district schools, Leadership Academy for Young Men and Vanguard High School. He has also served as a Counselor in the Higher Education Opportunity Program at Keuka College. These experiences have exposed him to the consequences of at-promised kids being underserved by the K-12 system. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education to further explore how Rochester can ensure every student in the Rochester City School District graduates career or college-ready. He cares deeply about the unfulfilled needs of every student in the district. This is why he is running for a seat on the Rochester City School District School Board. If elected, he plans to focus on trauma-informed practices, restorative justice in discipline efforts, expanding quality after-school programs, and special education reform.
Yonkers City Council, District 1
Terence Miller is a lifelong Yonkers resident with almost 10 years of experience in advocacy, government relations, and community development running for Yonkers City Council in the 1st District. He is also a graduate of Yonkers Public Schools.
As a student at St. John’s University, Terence was an intern for Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Thereafter, he worked for State Senator Gustavo Rivera. He returned home and was elected as a District Leader in the First Ward of the 1st Council District in 2016.
Terence loves this city and is passionate about being someone on the Council who will fight hard for the 1st District, voicing their true concerns every step of the way.
Victoria Watlington, PE, PMP
Charlotte City Council, District 3
The City of Charlotte is changing rapidly, and it’s time to get proactive. District 3 deserves a community-led vision that addresses residents’ challenges: affordable housing, transportation, and economic mobility. As the Land Use Chair for the West Blvd Neighborhood Coalition, Victoria is spearheading this work with city staff and other neighborhood leaders.
An engineer and operations manager, Victoria has applied her strategy development and data-based problem solving skills to advocate for and build capacity in the community for the last decade. Victoria is committed to servant leadership, empowering residents to lead the way towards a connected, inclusive, and responsible future.
Lakewood City Council, Ward 1
Laura Rodriguez-Carbone is running for Lakewood City Council, Ward 1, in Lakewood, Ohio. As a community advocate for over 17 years, Laura believes strongly in transparency, inclusion, and community-centered governance. She seeks to facilitate increased communication and outreach to residents and city departments, develop equitable policies that address needs that are most pressing to Lakewood residents.
Laura is also dedicated to prioritizing community services and seeking smart solutions for bridging access gaps to community services for elderly and disabled residents. If elected, Laura will become the first person of color to sit on Lakewood City Council.
Liliana Rivera Baiman
Columbus City Council
Liliana Rivera Baiman is running for Columbus City Council to provide a voice for working families. She is an immigrant from Mexico, labor activist and a mother. She is running a campaign for and with the people that creates One Good Job, affordable housing and reliable public transportation.
With her 13 years in labor, immigration and community organizing she wants to create a Columbus for the many; not the few. She is a Resistance Democrat for a Resistance City!
Allegheny County Council, At-Large
While playing varsity lacrosse for North Hills High School, Bethany Hallam tore both my ACL’s, one immediately after recovering from the other. At the time, the overdose epidemic was not as well known as it is today. She was over-prescribed Vicodin, and as a result, became addicted to prescription opioids. She began her recovery in 2016, and is fortunate for the support systems that helped make that possible.
Due to her struggles with addiction, she has spent time in our county jail and has temporarily lost her driver’s license. She’s seen first-hand the problems in our jail, and she also understands how critical public transit is to so many Allegheny County residents, especially herself. Her background would bring a unique insight to council, and that’s exactly what we need in order to move council forward.
Berks County-County Commissioner
Jess Royer embodies the ‘stop complaining, start campaigning’ philosophy. Royer is a proud Reference Librarian, hobby farmer, and husband and father of three. Whether he’s assisting a patron who has never used a computer to apply for a job or find an apartment, repairing the pasture fence after a storm blows through, or wrangling a gaggle of high-energy children, he knows how important quick and decisive action is.
Royer is running on a platform built around protecting Berks County’s public institutions and employees, defending Berks’ natural resources, and promoting governmental transparency.
William Penn School Board, Region 8 — Yeadon
Monique Curry-Mims is a Democratic Candidate for William Penn School District School Board, in Delaware County Pennsylvania. Monique has a Bachelors of Science in Digital Design, a MBA, as well as, a Master of Education in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. A mother of two, with over 15 years of education, funding, and school strategic planning experience — Monique is working to improve opportunities for the students in her district, access to resources and support for teachers, relief for taxpayers, and collaboration with the community.
Monique’s professional career and personal pursuits have always involved utilizing her skills to make an impactful difference in the lives of others.
From the Arts Education nonprofit she founded and ran for 10 years that helped increase student scores and academic comprehension through art and design, to currently working as a consultant helping community and philanthropic organizations meet their mission while holistically serving their community, she is experienced and ready to make an impact in the William Penn School District.
State Senate, District 17
Ben is a computer scientist and former National Science Foundation with a focus on AI who lives in Culpeper, VA with his husband, Chris. Ben plans to bring his problem-solving skills to Richmond and engineer solutions to help his community succeed. His skills were used in 2017 as the Democratic nominee for Delegate in the conservative 30th House District, over-performing expectations and becoming the best-performing Democrat in 20 years. Ben was inspired to run for State Senate when his Senator, Bryce Reeves, ran a divisive and homophobic campaign for Lt. Gov.
House of Delegates, District 14
Eric Stamps is running for the 14th district House of Delegates in Virginia. Wages are too low for working people in Southside Virginia. Eric wants to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Eric wants to fully and equally fund our education system. Protect our environment from the effects of climate change and provide better healthcare for all. It’s time for a New Way Forward in Southside Virginia.
Loudoun County School Board, Blue Ridge District
Ian is running for Loudoun County School Board after years of advocating — successfully — for improvements in Loudoun County Public Schools. As a result of Ian’s efforts as a leader of the More Recess for Virginians advocacy group, Virginia passed a new state law in April 2018 that allows local school districts more flexibility in providing recess, and the LCPS school board passed a new recess policy in June 2018 that more than doubled the amount of recess time students receive in elementary school.
Ian’s biggest priorities include reducing overcrowding, lowering class sizes, and paying teachers a living wage so they can afford to live in Loudoun County.
House of Delegates, District 25
Jennifer is running for the Virginia House of Delegates to give voice to the underserved rural communities of the Commonwealth. Focusing on farmers, addressing the needs of rural infrastructure, and creating equity in education funding across the Commonwealth, Jennifer has clear priorities on important matters for her first term. For the first time in 24 years this district is an open seat and with the swiftly turning tides of rural progressives Jennifer is the perfect candidate to bring the needs of the people to Richmond.
Board of Supervisors — Rivanna District, Albemarle County
Jerrod Smith is a native of Barboursville, Virginia and a graduate of Albemarle County High School. He attended Bucknell University where he majored in economics and political science. In 2013 Jerrod pursued a Master’s in Public Policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. He was selected as a 2014 Mayoral Fellow for the City of Chicago further renewing his commitment to involvement in local government. He graduated from Batten in 2015 and embarked on a career in finance. He is currently a grants analyst for PRA Health Sciences in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Lee District
Larysa is an accomplished lawyer and a passionate disability rights advocate. She currently serves as Chief of Staff to a large nonprofit that creates thousands of jobs annually for people with disabilities. With nearly 20 years of experience in law, business, nonprofit management, and government relations Larysa’s career has always embodied service and advocacy.
Larysa is the proud mother of Symon, who is on the autism spectrum. Navigating the system to provide Symon with the care he needs has opened her eyes to the roadblocks many families face in getting access to the services they need and inspired her to run to fight for families like hers.
Virginia State Assembly, District 91
Michael Wade first ran for elected office in 2017 when he could not find anyone willing to challenge his delegate, Republican Gordon Helsel, in Virginia’s 91st House of Delegates District. Michael entered the race himself and came up short, but outperformed expectations and the district’s partisan lean. Now, he is running to finish what he started and bring progressive representation to the 91st District.
Michael manages CMIT Solutions, a technology solutions company. As the husband of a union steward, he is passionate about protecting workers’ right to organize, and as a father of two daughters, he is committed to offering them a sustainable world.
Albemarle County Sheriff
Patrick is running for Albemarle County Sheriff to push the envelope of what it means to be elected beyond just core responsibilities, aiming to lead this office through community engagement, green energy initiatives, growing partnerships with state and local officials, and more. Patrick first came to UVA to go to school and play football, and has since played in the NFL and served in a variety of law enforcement roles. Today, Patrick is ready to serve the community he loves, using his experience, values, leadership and team approach to make a difference everyday while enhancing the safety of this community.
State Senate, District 28
Qasim is running for Virginia Senate in the 28th District. He is a human rights attorney, an author, a media and book consultant, a speaker and a husband and father.
Qasim is running on a platform to increase education funding, expand healthcare and healthcare access, ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, and reform our criminal justice system to one based on reformation, not retribution.