44 new July endorsements, 44 names you need to know

Run for Something
Jul 12, 2018 · 18 min read

There’s a lot of focus these days on taking back Congress this fall, which is a great and important goal, but it leaves out a critically important point: State and local government is where the real change happens.

Gun violence prevention, gerrymandering, the fate of the right to choose — that’s what state legislators around the country are deciding. The best way to ensure our fates don’t rest in the hands of Trump’s Supreme Court is to make sure crappy laws don’t get written or passed in the first place.

That’s exactly what we’re working on. We’ve got 44 incredible new endorsees for state and local races across the country, ready to take over for the guys who got us into this mess in the first place. Read about their stories and get inspired to volunteer, donate or run for something yourself.


Jared Vaughn
State House District 30

Through practicing law for the past nine years, Jared has helped people through the most difficult periods in their lives. Jared is running because he sees an opportunity to help Alabama in concrete ways that will benefit our community. Jared believes that infrastructure investment, including water systems, can help our economy and add jobs. He feels that access to quality education for all children, starting with universal pre-K, will increase opportunity. Jared will bring the insights he has gained from his work in the legal system to help find ways to work hard here on the ground for our community.

Jessica Fortune Baker
Alabama State Board of Education

Jessica Fortune Barker, wife, mother and lifelong resident of Huntsville, is running for State Board of Education. Armed with a passion for service and education, it was her service as president of the parent board of a local Head Start program that propelled her into the world of education. It is her desire to ensure that every child in the district and state has access to fair and equitable education that makes her attractive to voters. Fortune Barker has the drive and the ability to bring about real, lasting change for the children of her state.

Danielle Mashburn-Myrick
Alabama State Legislature, House District 94

A practicing attorney, Danielle is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis and the University Alabama School of Law. When elected, Danielle will fight for better schools, updated infrastructure, clean water, and thriving communities. Danielle and her husband, Matt, live in Fairhope with their two children, Ida Mae (5) and Telly (3).


Alma Hernandez
Arizona State House LD3

Alma was born and raised on the south side of Tucson. She earned her Bachelors of Science and Masters in Public Health from the University of Arizona. As a 14-year-old she was brutally attacked and subsequently exposed to the criminal justice system rigged against people of color. This experience showed her first hand what happens in our school to prison pipeline. For the last decade, she’s worked hard to elect Democrats in Arizona. Most recently she led efforts in Arizona to defeat the repeal of the ACA. Because of her experiences, she’s an outspoken activist on healthcare, public education and criminal justice reform.

Consuelo Hernandez
Sunnyside School District Governing Board

Consuelo Hernandez is a graduate from the Sunnyside School District — this community is her home. She understands what it’s like to be a young minority navigating through the college system being told she could not succeed. With few resources and, little to no guidance she quickly realized the system was not intended to support students like herself. So, she began mentoring at risk youth to bridge this gap. For over ten years she has been an outspoken activist in her community fighting for education equity and, local politics helping bring transparency and hold our representatives accountable.

Leila Counts
Tucson Unified School Board

Leila Counts is a dedicated educator, TUSD parent, and the descendant of a long line of Arizona educators. She began her career teaching life skills, history and cultural studies to adjudicated youth in Tucson. Leila now works with the Arizona Department of Health Services, Pima Community College, the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt, the U.S. Air Force, and other organizations to provide professional development and training for their educators and administrators.

Leila is committed to working hard for every teacher, student, and family in her community. She’s a passionate advocate for educational equity, inclusion, diversity and equal access to an excellent public education for all.


Jake Rybczyk
San Clemente City Council

Activist, Director of Budget for Saddleback College ASG and 18-year-old college student Jake is running for San Clemente City Council. Jake is inspired to run to fight for Economic and Political Justice. With goals to transition to 100% Renewable energy by 2030, create affordable housing and reject the storage of nuclear waste at San Onofre. Being a Corporate and Developer free candidate, Jake said this at a local rally, “this campaign is for we the people, fueled by your passion and hope, united our voices will become action.” Jake believes it’s time for positive progress.


Asia Zanders
Colorado State Legislature, District 19

Asia is a mother of three, a wife, and an Army Veteran. She believes that the family is the foundation on which we thrive and supports working families. People should be the first to be considered over the profit of businesses, which is why her motto is “People Over Profit.” Asia believes that adding her unique perspective to the Colorado State Legislature would help to represent the people of her state, as she is genuinely willing to listen and consider all sides in her decision making. Asia is currently a student working towards a degree in Political Philosophy.


Colin Hosten
State Representative, CT-140

Colin has been a lecturer at Fairfield University for several years. He currently serves on the Human Relations Commission for the city of Norwalk, and is also a board member of the Triangle Community Center. The son of school teachers, Colin has worked at the grassroots level in Norwalk for ten years. Now he is ready to be our advocate in Hartford, on issues such as the rising cost of living, quality public education, affordable healthcare, environmental responsibility, and civil rights equality. Colin will be an effective partner at the State level as a champion for Norwalk, and for Connecticut.

Gary Turco
State Representative, 27th District

Gary Turco is a homeowner and member of the Economic Development Commission in Newington, Connecticut. He has years of experience advocating for policies that improve the affordability and quality of living for residents throughout the state. He formerly served as policy advisor to the Connecticut Speaker of the House and has years of experience working with non-profits and international small businesses. Before Gary decided to announce his candidacy, he spent some time as a volunteer teacher in Uganda, Africa. He is honored for the opportunity to run and ensure that Connecticut remains a great place to live for all residents.


Elizabeth Lockman
Delaware State Senate, 3rd District

S. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman is running as a Democrat for Delaware’s 3rd District State Senate seat. She’s transitioned from concerned parent to local activist to professional community organizer. Tizzy grew up in Wilmington, connected through projects across the district and experiencing firsthand how some residents are left behind. She is committed to fighting for well resourced schools, safe and healthy communities, transparent and responsive government, and economic opportunity for everyone. Tizzy does not simply want to be the voice for SD3 residents; she wants to use her legislative platform to ensure communities build power through their own voices and actions.


Tammy Garcia
Florida House of Representatives, District 37

Tammy is a mother, a Florida native, and a trained mediator. She is dedicated to fighting for the people of Florida. As a lifetime Girl Scout member, she believes in always leaving a place better than how she found it. That is why she will fight to improve the public education system and improve teacher pay, move Florida forward by demanding increased solar energy production, and bring equality to ALL Floridians. Being trained in various conflict resolution techniques, Tammy is exactly what Tallahassee needs in order to bring resolutions instead of more conflict.


Joshua Deriso
Georgia State Legislature, District 148

Joshua is running for Georgia’s House District 148. Joshua grew up in the district and moved back to serve the people as he has done all over the great state of Georgia. Joshua believes that elected officials have to put people first. Joshua believes in a Brighter GA.


Benjamin Webb
Illinois General Assembly: 105th Legislative District

Ben Webb wants to bring a fresh voice to Springfield, representing the progressive values and background of his constituents. He currently is a high school teacher and plans to fight for our schools, our workforce, and Illinois’ future. Beyond education, Mr. Webb’s priorities of common sense gun legislation, support for labor unions, and women’s reproductive rights provide a stark contrast and choice on the ballot against a long-time Republican incumbent.


Peter Leo
Iowa House of Representatives, District 12

Peter is an attorney from the town of Manning, Iowa. He graduated from Grinnell College in 2006 and Drake Law School in 2010, and has been fighting for his clients’ rights in courtrooms and conference rooms across the country ever since. He is the father of two boys, Eric (7) and Samuel (5), and his wife, Elizabeth, works as a teacher’s associate. Peter is running for Iowa House because he wants to fix Iowa’s healthcare system, increase funding and support for schools, and promote rural economic development through investments in renewable energy, telecommunications, transportation, and housing infrastructure.


Alex Van Dyke
Kansas House of Representatives

A recent father, a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters, March for Our Lives organizer, and lifelong Kansan, Alex Van Dyke is looking to unseat a three-term incumbent and progress Kansas toward a future his daughter can be proud to call home. He has two bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s in the latter, all from Kansas State. Alex is a software engineer and the Director of Engineering for Primary Mobile Med International, a startup that converts shipping containers into mobile medical clinics.


Matt Bennett
Calvert County Commissioner at Large

Matt is a son of Calvert County, a product of the public schools and a resident his entire life. He was elected President of Young Democrats at his high school and is now a member of UMBC College Democrats, where he is pursuing a mathematics degree. He is running for commissioner because democracy is for everybody and Calvert County’s future is too important to wait his turn.


Amaad Rivera
State Senate, Hampden District

Amaad is running for the Massachusetts State Senate in his hometown of Springfield, MA challenging an NRA A rated incumbent. Amaad is a former Springfield City Councilor, and most recently served as the State Policy Director for U.S. Senator Edward Markey. As a Springfield City Councilor, Rivera championed an anti-foreclosure ordinance to protect homeowners from predatory banks, stopped a biomass plant that would have posed a long-term public health problem, and stopped Springfield from participating in a Bush-era program that have turned local police into ICE agents. Amaad has a bachelor at Bentley University and has a M.Ed from University of Massachusetts.

Mary Kate Feeney
House of Representatives, 6th Middlesex District

Mary Kate Feeney has been involved in the civic life of the Framingham community throughout her life both as a volunteer and a public servant. Mary Kate is a former aide to Governor Deval Patrick, where she worked on the front lines of government working with advocates, agencies and residents on solving problems and listening to concerns. Dedicated to making her hometown a better place to live, work, learn and play, she helped lead the successful campaign for Framingham voters to adopt a more transparent, accessible and equal form of government in April 2017. Mary Kate is running to take her passion for her community, her experience and put them to work as her neighbors’ voice on Beacon Hill.

Matthew Crescenzo
State Legislature, 9th Essex District

Matt Crescenzo is committed to the ideals and spirit of public service. Coming of age during the War on Terror, Matt served on the front lines in Afghanistan as a security officer for high ranking dignitaries. Now he wants to make the government more responsive to the residents of 9th Essex.

Born and raised in Saugus, Matt wants a government focused on the concerns of the people. He wants a government that understands that workers who put in a 40-hour week are entitled to a living wage, that we need to do more to combat the opioid epidemic, and that single mothers and their families shouldn’t be condemned to a life of poverty. Matt knows that strong leadership rooted in the values of the community can help make real change. Matt will work to create jobs, protect the environment and ensure that everyone in the community feels they have real opportunity.

Erika Johnson
House of Representatives, 19th Middlesex District

Erika is proud to be a Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 19th Middlesex District in Massachusetts. She’s lived in the district since she was 4 years old, going through the public school system and moving back after getting her Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Roger Williams University. Erika is the Chair of the Wilmington Democratic Town Committee and works full-time for Mass Save, Massachusetts’ Energy Efficiency Program. As Representative of the 19th Middlesex District, Erika will be a new, progressive voice in the legislature fighting for working families, improving infrastructure and college affordability.


Abraham Aiyash
State Senate, District 2

Abraham, the son of Yemeni immigrants, was born and raised in Michigan to a union family where he learned the values of hard work and commitment to community. Abraham started his life in public service at a young age, organizing for Barack Obama’s historic campaign. He started an organization that mentors refugee youth and worked for a State Representative in Lansing.

Abraham believes we need new energy in our politics that will bring collaborative, progressive thinking to protect our environment, reform our criminal justice system, and dismantle the DeVos agenda.

Jason Noble
State Senate, District 19

Jason is running for Senate District 19 in Michigan as a progressive Democratic candidate. He decided to run because he wanted to serve and make Michigan better for everyone, especially his kids. Jason doesn’t take any corporate for profit PAC money. Jason believes in a living wage and rebuilding Michigan’s infrastructure.

Shannon Smith
Detroit Public Schools Community District Board

Shannon Smith, Detroit Public Schools graduate, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor graduate, community advocate and experienced financial professional is bringing his experience and forward thinking to the Detroit Public Schools Community District Board.

Shannon Smith is running for the Detroit Public Schools Community District Board because every child in Detroit should have the ability to create their own world, their own opportunities, and ultimately their own success story. Every child should know their worth, their potential, and their value. Shannon is ready to make an immediate impact on the board by combining fresh perspectives, with a strong background in economics and government relations as well as a track record of collaboration and results.


Dave Hutch
Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office

Dave Hutchinson is running for Sheriff of Hennepin County, where he has spent most of his 15-year career as police officer. His experience as an police officer and a police supervisor motivated him to run. He has spent his career working in the inner city; some of the poorest and most forgotten neighborhoods of Hennepin County and believes that Hennepin County needs a Sheriff that will respond to everybody, all neighbors, no matter where they come from or what they look like.

Christina Nelson
Willmar City Council, Ward 2

A mother of two young children and an active community member, Christina is running for City Council to make Willmar more welcoming to all people and unite the city for the common good. Christina graduated from Valparaiso University and worked as a web programmer for such clients as NGPVAN and Women of the ELCA. Her experience in the tech industry makes her a skilled and creative problem solver. Christina is active in many community groups such as PTSA, West Central Singers, ISAIAH, and most recently participated the Willmar Community Assembly which ignited a passion for local government.


Lisa Buhr
Missouri House of Representatives, District 49

Lisa is a mother of three and an 18-year veteran state worker living in Holts Summit. For the better part of her career, she has worked at the Capitol and knows first-hand how policy works for -and against- her neighbors. She knows having common sense, responsible and honest representation on the state level is crucial. So she got off the bench and into the game. Lisa’s voice is one we need at the Capitol.

New Hampshire

Dr. Jacqueline Chretien
House District 42

Dr. Jacqueline Chretien is PhD bioscientist, mom of 3, and Manchester native. Dr. Chretien is running for the state house because she believes in good government that invests in people and communities. She understands the power of public education, infrastructure, and healthcare to retain and attract talented young people. As a scientist, she will bring excellent analytical skills and a commitment to evidence and data to the statehouse. She is excited to use these skills to serve the state that gave her so many opportunities growing up and ensure that the next generation of New Hampshirites have the same opportunities.

New Jersey

John Bird
Hazlet Township New Jersey Township Committee

John Bird is a high school special education teacher who is running for the Hazlet township committee. As a lifelong resident of Hazlet, John hopes to ensure the success of future generations in the town through policy with a long term vision.

New York

Amanda Septimo
New York State Assembly, District 84

Born and raised in the South Bronx, Amanda Septimo has been involved in community activism since she was teenager. She has worked with the Legal Aid Society, focusing on cases involving domestic violence and Spanish-speaking immigrants. She also worked as the District Director for Congressman José E. Serrano (D-15th CD), making her one of the youngest senior staffers in Congress. Most recently, Amanda worked to help working and middle-class families by fighting for stronger worker protections with the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators.

Jeremy Cooney
New York State Senate, District 56

Jeremy Cooney was born in an Indian orphanage, but raised in Rochester, NY. Adopted by a single mother, he graduated from city schools and through scholarships went on to law school, where he graduated with honors. He returned to upstate to take care of his mother suffering from dementia and cancer. With her death, he dedicated his career to giving back to the community that helped raise him. He has worked at all levels of government — serving as an aide to the late U.S. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, law clerk to Governor David Paterson, and chief of staff to Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. Jeremy was named Forty Under 40 by the Rochester Business Journal and is a proud Eagle Scout. He’s running with a new vision for “what’s next” for upstate New York.

Luke Wochensky
New York State Assembly, District 147

Luke Wochensky grew up in rural Western New York and is the proud son of a town highway worker and a substitute teacher. He worked his way through three college degrees and built a successful career of defending American and European companies abroad as an attorney. He lives in the village of East Aurora, NY with wife Katya and son Motvey. His campaign values of Our Families, Our Land, Our Main Streets and Our Communities reflect his commitment to solving the real problems that face the rural residents of southern Erie and Wyoming Counties in Western New York.

Scott Wilson
Erie County Legislature, 7th District

Scott Wilson is a born and raised South Buffalo resident. He began his education at Public School #72 (Lorraine Elementary) from pre-kindergarten to 8th grade. For high school, he remained in South Buffalo where he attended Bishop Timon High School. His fresh ideas, along with a vast political background, including working with Comptroller Mark Schroeder, County Legislature Patrick Burke and Senator Tim Kennedy, make him a worthy new candidate.

North Carolina

John Motsinger
North Carolina State Senate, District 31

John is running for State Senate 31 in North Carolina as a product of the public school system and as a union tradesman who has seen the shortsighted policies harm his generation. He is dedicated to a sustainable economy and environment that allows for everyone to pursue the American Dream, not just the wealthiest among us.

Laura Marie Davis
Durham County Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor

Laura Marie began her environmental career as an AmeriCorps member working on watershed restoration projects and managing environmental education programs. As a graduate student, she met with Durham County farmers, business owners, and community leaders to learn about the local food system. Now she serves as an Associate Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor and a member of the City-County Environmental Affairs Board. Laura Marie is running for Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor to ensure that all Durham residents have access to the conservation resources and education that they need to create a healthy, sustainable environment for us all.

North Dakota

Brandon Medenwald
North Dakota State House of Representatives, District 41

Brandon is a second generation entrepreneur, learning everything from his parents who worked hard every day in their small restaurant to raise three children and provide for their futures. His parents taught him that if he listened to people, kept the promises that he made, and worked hard every day, that anything was possible. Brandon is running for the North Dakota House because he believes District 41 needs a listener and a problem solver to work hard on behalf of the people who live here and not the out-of-state special interests.

Brandon will fight every day for North Dakota priorities: a diversified economy that works for everyone, a balanced budget, education, and common sense.


Elliot Kolkovich
Ohio State House, 38th District

Elliot is an Assistant Summit County Prosecutor. He’s married and has a child in public schools. He is a first-time candidate who wants to ensure every child has access to a quality public education, that Ohio rebuilds its infrastructure, and that Northeast Ohio regains its foothold as an innovator by investing in renewable energy to create renewable jobs. Elliot will take his fight from the courtroom to the State House to work for Ohio’s families.


Joshua Edwards
Oklahoma District Attorney, Judicial District 22

Josh will restore accountability and integrity as District Attorney for Oklahoma’s 22nd Judicial District. He is committed to justice reform and will employ smarter strategies to better utilize resources intended for prosecuting violent offenders. He will promote public safety by providing strong incentives for those who suffer from addiction to get treatment in order to address and correct the root cause of their criminal behavior.


Lindsey Williams
Pennsylvania State Senate, District 38

Lindsey was raised in a union household to fight for what’s right because when working families do better, we all do better. At the National Whistleblowers Center, Lindsey fought for employees who experienced retaliation for speaking truth to power and advocated for legislation to protect future whistleblowers. When Lindsey stood up for better wages and working conditions in her workplace, she was illegally fired. She refused to be silenced, fought back, and successfully took her case to the National Labor Relations Board. Today, Lindsey works with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers ensuring that every child has a safe, productive learning environment.

Emily Best
Pennsylvania State Senate, District 30

Emily is running for Senate District 30 in PA. She lives with her family in rural Fulton County, and her toddler son is often seen with her on the campaign trail. She has been working in sustainable agriculture for over six years and manages a cooperative of over 40 farmers. She has an MA in Environmental Policy from American University, sits on the board of FRESHFARM, has volunteered with the National Young Farmers Coalition, and co-chaired the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee. Emily is committed to strengthening rural communities for the future of our state.


Mallory Pickert
Tennessee State Representative, District 24

Mallory is a candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives in District 24. She is a wife, mother, and high school English teacher. Mallory grew up in a working class family who struggled to make ends meet, and now she wants to make things better for Tennesseeans who face the same battles. Mallory believes everyone should have access to a quality education, hard work should pay the bills, and no one should go without healthcare because they can’t afford it.


Paige Ellis
Austin City Council, District 8

Paige Ellis is running to bring environmental responsibility experience to the dais. She is a marketing and public involvement specialist for an environmental firm that ensures compliance for transportation and housing projects. She seeks to lend her expertise to find housing and traffic solutions in one of the fastest growing areas in Texas. This district is home to Barton Springs, Town Lake, and Zilker Park which hosts the Austin City Limits music festival. Paige is a proud supporter of Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Barton Springs Conservancy, and has volunteered with Keep Austin Beautiful and the Texas Book Festival.

Sedrick Walker
Judge, Harris County Criminal Court at Law №11

Sedrick is running for Judge of Harris County Criminal Court №11. Harris County, home to Houston, Texas, is the 3rd largest county in the nation. Sedrick is a graduate of Texas A&M University and the University of Texas School of Law. Sedrick has dedicated his legal career to the practice of criminal law, first as a prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, and currently as a criminal defense attorney. He’s had a front-row seat for the major issues facing the local criminal courts and will bring a fresh approach to a system in drastic need of change.


Jewelyn Cosgrove
Alexandria City School Board

As a proud product of public schools, a working mother, and a tireless advocate for parents and children, Jewelyn is ready to fight for a bright future for all Alexandrians. She is a veteran activist and policy professional, and is dedicated to a fully funded, fully operational, and future-focused school system. With her extensive knowledge of advocacy and policy-making, Jewelyn knows what it takes to find common ground, identify solutions, and navigate diverse perspectives to achieve results. Jewelyn earned a BA from Tulane University and a Masters in Public Policy from George Mason University.

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