Run for Something’s January 2018 endorsements
We’re so excited to announced 61 new Run for Something candidates for the 2018 elections.
This new batch includes five (!!) incredible veterans, one Peace Corps alum, an environmental scientist running for to be American River Flood Control District Trustee, a graphic designer, a professional wrestler, a DREAMer, an equine vet, four judicial candidates, and a whole lot of parents fighting for their kids.
Many of our endorsed candidates running in competitive primaries; many others are running in elections that Democrats haven’t contested in literally decades. They’re all running strong campaigns focused on voter contact, local issues, and authentic connections to their communities.
So far in 2018, Run for Something has endorsed 89 progressive millennials running for local office across 25 states — on top of our 93 endorsed candidates in 2017. As we keep hitting filing deadlines and we expand our efforts, we hope to endorse 1,000 people before the November elections in an unprecedented movement of young progressives running (and, hopefully, winning!) positions of power across the country.
Get to know the Run for Something endorsed candidates -- you're going to LOVE them.www.runforsomething.net
With that, meet the newbies. You’re going to love them.
Arizona House of Representatives, LD12
Joe Bisaccia is a former TV news reporter and a public school teacher in Gilbert, Arizona. He’s a graduate of Arizona State University and the son of union workers. Joe is running for office to build a strong future for Arizona: with properly funded education, strong infrastructure, excellent healthcare, and elected officials that represent the views of the people, not special interest groups.
Arkansas State House District 70
Michael has been a lifelong resident of Conway, Arkansas and graduated from the University of Central Arkansas. He’s a political newcomer, but after the 2016 elections realized he can no longer stand idly by while the people of Arkansas are neglected by their representatives. He decided that he could no longer be a witness to injustice, he had to stand up and fight for the people who need a voice in modern politics.
Sacramento City Council, 7th district
Tristan Brown was born into a multi-ethnic, working class household and was taught from an early age that cooperation and equity were cornerstones of a modern society. He came to Sacramento to earn a law degree and continue his many years of services to working families as an advocate for worker’s rights. Now as a public education advocate by day, he spends his extra time helping his community through organizations that provide training, legal assistance, community education, and other types of community service and is ready to serve the residents of the 7th District of Sacramento.
Jon Wizard lives in Seaside, a coastal California city, with his partner, Jessica, two step-sons, Ashton and Tristan, and a miniature dachshund named Björn. Jon has dedicated his life to public service, having worked as a youth sports coach and referee, firefighter, 9–1–1 dispatcher, and police officer. Now, as a member of the Monterey County Planning Commission, he works on combining economic, environmental, and social justice components into his county’s land use and development.
Long Beach, California
Long Beach City Council District 7
Jared Milrad is an entrepreneur, non-profit leader, public interest lawyer, and filmmaker. Raised by a single mother and educated in public schools, Jared is a descendent of immigrants who fled persecution to live the American Dream. Having worked for President Barack Obama and advocated for numerous social causes over two decades, Jared is proud to call Long Beach home with his husband, Nate, and adopted dog, Oliver.
Costa Mesa, California
Costa Mesa City Council, District 3
Andrea Marr is a 34-year old professional engineer and is currently Chair of the Costa Mesa Cultural Arts Committee. She graduated from the US Naval Academy and was deployed three times while serving on US Navy ships as an officer. After five years, she left the Navy and began her career in renewable energy and energy efficiency, eventually going on to found her own consulting firm which was later acquired. She currently manages large energy efficiency projects for Anaheim-based Willdan.
San Diego, California
San Diego City Council, District 2
Jordan Beane is a renter, good husband, bad surfer and a Director on the Pacific Beach Town Council, a neighborhood he’s lived in since he first arrived in San Diego. An environmentalist and community activist, Jordan is running to fight for a San Diego that works for everyone — including millennials, working people, renters and new families. In a district where the median age is 34 and the majority of residents are renters, Jordan’s message of a better future for all is truly resonating with voters ready for progressive change in 2018.
Rachelanne Vander Werf
American River Flood Control District Trustee
Rachelanne is running for the American River Flood Control District as an environmental scientist and a community activist who has studied and dedicated her service to improving and maintaining the quality of water and water resources in the Sacramento Valley area. With a Bachelors in Environmental Policy and Masters in Water Resource Management, she hopes to utilize her specialized background to better her community. Flood protection is extremely important in Sacramento as many folks live in floodplains. She’s running because she feels that her professional focus and experience, education and love of her community would be an asset to the District.
Clerk and Recorder in Jefferson County, Colorado
George Stern is running for Clerk and Recorder in Jefferson County, Colorado, the state’s most important swing county and one of the top bellwether counties in the country. George is an attorney and a volunteer firefighter in Jefferson County, and he has worked in the Obama White House and for Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Before earning his law degree, George worked as a public high school teacher and baseball coach in Colorado.
Colorado State Senate District 32
Raised by a single mom in a single wide trailer, Hazel Gibson was one of the first people in her family to go to college. As the mother of two children (one on the autism spectrum) Hazel is running for office because she is tired of politicians playing with our children’s future.
DC City Council, Ward 6
Lisa Hunter began her career by serving in the Peace Corps, teaching literacy to children and leading HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Guyana. In 2008, Lisa was hired to work on the campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama, and later served as a political appointee in the Obama Administration where she worked to implement the Affordable Care Act at the Department of Health and Human Services. She is running for DC Council to bring much-needed progressive change on behalf of those who lack access to stable housing, affordable health care, high-quality education, and economic opportunity.
AT DC Council
Jeremiah Lowery is a Washington, D.C. native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Maryland. Jeremiah has worked with and organized low-income residents in the Washington, D.C. area on the issues of political empowerment, sustainability, and organizing. Currently, he is the director of the Universal Childcare NOW DC Coalition, political appointee to the DC Food Policy Council, and a candidate for Democratic Candidate for At Large DC Council in June 2011.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Florida State House, District 93
Emma Collum is a small business attorney, President and Founder of Women’s March Florida, and National Head of Field Operations for Women’s March, Inc. Emma’s decision to run for House District 93 is inspired by the strong feelings she has about protecting our environment, critical infrastructure needs caused by sea level rise and storm surge, public education funding, and small business and STEM job growth, and consistently fighting for the rights of impacted communities.
Lithia Springs, Georgia
Solicitor General of Douglas County
Christina J. Peterson, Esq. has been a community servant all of her life and her legal career has been dedicated mostly to public service as a prosecutor where she has protected the streets and advocated for victims of crime. Peterson has worked in the Prosecutor’s Office in Douglas County and has witnessed the inequities in the justice system and lack of true rehabilitative and restorative justice efforts. Peterson is running for Solicitor General of Douglas County, the office responsible for prosecuting the misdemeanor and traffic offenses of the county where she will bring relatability, accountabiltity, results, and education to the courtroom and Douglas County community. Justice is FOR ALL and Peterson is FOR THE PEOPLE!
Everton Blair Jr.
Gwinnett County Board of Education, District IV
Everton Blair is a product of and candidate for school board in Gwinnett County Public Schools. He is a former high school math teacher who works as the Manager of Programs at UnboundEd, a non-profit organization that provides standards-aligned programming for educators across the country. Before UnboundEd, he served as a Policy and Advocacy Fellow at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and graduated from Harvard College and Stanford University.
Idaho House of Representatives District 17 Seat A
Randy Johnson is the son of a Mexican immigrant, a veteran of the Idaho Army National Guard who served during combat operations in Iraq, and is a lifelong volunteer and community organizer. He, his wife and two children, have made their home on the Boise Bench, enabling him to know the challenges and opportunities facing Boise’s families. Serving his community as the Central Bench Neighborhood Association president and as a member of the Hillcrest Elementary PTO has shown he has the experience, energy and enthusiasm to work with community members towards consensus, solutions, and best steps forward.
County Treasurer, Macon County
Elk Grove Village, Illinois
Cook County Board Commissioner, 15th District
Kevin has dedicated his life to organizing communities for better representation and services, while also devoting many years to his family and their small business. Running against the Chair of Illinois’ Republican Party, he looks forward to bringing inclusive leadership to his District that will value every voice. When elected, Kevin would become the first openly LGBT and youngest Commissioner ever elected to the Cook County Board.
DuPage County Board, District 1
Ashley grew up in Wheaton, IL and has lived in DuPage County for most of her life; she currently lives in Elmhurst, IL. For the last 5 years, she has worked in non-profits. Ashley is running for DuPage County Board (District 1) to bring accountability, transparency, and a new generation of leadership to her local government.
Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Illinois House of Representatives, 59th District
Democrat Daniel Didech is a candidate for the 59th House District in Illinois. As a municipal attorney, Daniel provides legal counsel to units of local government, including villages, townships, school districts, park districts and community colleges. Daniel is a lifelong resident of Buffalo Grove where he lives with his wife, Jen, who is a 6th grade math teacher, and their dog, Captain Hook.
DuPage County Board Member, District 1
Zahra is a mother, writer, and active community member. She has dedicated her career to furthering women’s empowerment, through co-founding the I Speak for Myself book series, traveling on behalf of the U.S. State Department to Southeast Asia to engage in cross-cultural dialogues, and initiating women’s outreach and upliftment programs at her local mosque. Zahra is a professor of English at Elgin Community College, and has taught English in both Cairo, Egypt and in Bangkok, Thailand; she brings a global awareness to her teaching methods, as she inspires young minds to appreciate and enjoy literature and the written word.
Indiana State Senate, District 31
As a native Hoosier and President of the Indiana Young Democrats, Derek Camp has advocated for increasing youth involvement in government and the community by pushing for increased opportunities to have a seat at the table. Under his leadership, the Indiana Young Democrats have tripled in size and gained recognition in communities across Indiana. As the next State Senator for District 31, Derek will fight for fair wages, early education opportunities for all Hoosiers, and an end to gerrymandering in Indiana.
State Representative, Iowa House District 99
Lindsay James is a wife, a college chaplain, but most importantly a mother. Lindsay has devoted her life to breaking down the walls that divide people. As a city commissioner, county official, and active leader in the NAACP, she has already proven her commitment to breaking down the barriers that keep our hard- working families from accessing safe and affordable housing, mental health services, nutritious food, and good jobs with living wages.
Kansas House of Representatives, 45th District
Aidan Loveland Koster is a 37-year-old trained administrator and mother of two who has worked in state public health service, higher education, the non-profit sector, and the corporate world. Her family has spent the last 45 years dedicated to improving children’s health and public education, and Aidan is ready to take that effort to the next level. She is running for the 45th District of the Kansas House, hoping to unseat a blue county Republican who has held the seat for 22 years.
Kentucky State Representative, District 31
Josie has dedicated her career to creating opportunities for people in poverty. In her current role coaching students at the University of Louisville, she is responsible for making sure thousands of young people have the best shot at graduating. She has one husband and two small children.
Ronald McDaniel Jr
Ronald McDaniel, Jr is a devoted and loving husband and father, and a Captain in the United States Army National Guard who served his country as a veteran of the Iraq Campaign. Growing up in both Baltimore, MD and Charlotte, NC, he went on to earn his bachelor of science degree in legal studies from the University of Mississippi, Masters of science degree in criminal justice from Walden University and is currently a doctoral candidate in Public Policy and Administration at Walden University. Over the years, Ronald has served as a prominent youth mentor in Charlotte, NC and now in Clinton, MD, while also serving as a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc and AMVETS (American Veterans)
Montgomery County, MD Council, District 3
Moved by a spirit of service, Ben Shnider worked for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, then advocated to prioritize diplomacy over war with J Street, and pushed for economic justice, civil rights, and immigration reform on Capitol Hill with Bend the Arc. Now, Shnider is running for Montgomery County Council in District 3 where he hopes to fight for hard-working families struggling to make ends meet amidst a sky-rocketing cost of living. Ben believes that together we can build a more progressive future for Montgomery County and provide the proactive leadership our community deserves.
Bel Air, Maryland
Maryland House of Delegates, District 7
Allison Berkowitz is a social work doctoral student, an instructor of social action to master’s-level social workers, and an active legislative advocate for several groups and causes. Originally from Florida, she spent three years in Alaska and has settled down in Maryland. Allison believes in people and tries to make the world a little better each day.
Andrew Van Wye
North Potomac, Maryland
Maryland House of Delegates, 15th District
Andy is your homegrown candidate, a third generation Marylander from North Potomac, he attended Montgomery County Public Schools, K-12. He has worked for some of Maryland’s finest public servants, including: Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Reps. Steny Hoyer and Anthony Brown, and Gov. Martin O’Malley; he also worked on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, as a political consultant, and most recently, as a reporter of the U.S. Senate. Andy will fight for a More Perfect Maryland, a Maryland that eases the financial burden of health care costs, reduces the education achievement gap, and that ensures that women receive equal pay for equal work.
Maryland House of Delegates, district 16
Samir Paul is a teacher, problem solver, and organizer committed to expanding economic opportunity and helping sustain and reform public institutions. The son of Indian immigrants, Samir worked as a field organizer for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and as an analytics consultant for IBM before returning to teach computer science at his home high school. Now, he prepares his students to become compassionate problem solvers in a new economy, and he wants every young person to have the same fair shot at a full life.
Dennis Port, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Legislature, House 1st Barnstable District.
West Roxbury, Massachusetts
Suffolk County Register of Deeds
Katie Forde is a progressive community organizer, wife, and mother of two daughters running to serve the cities of Boston, Winthrop, Chelsea, and Revere as Suffolk County Register of Deeds. Katie will lead a service-oriented agency focused on increasing accessibility to homeownership. If elected, Katie will be the first woman to serve Suffolk County as Register of Deeds.
Huntington Woods, Michigan
University of Michigan Board of Regents
Jordan Acker was born in Detroit and raised in Huntington Woods, Michigan, the son of a lawyer and a public school teacher. After graduating from U of M in 2006, he worked on Capitol Hill and in the Obama Administration before returning to Michigan to practice law in 2013. He’s the first millennial to run for the U of M Board of Regents because he wants to make sure that a debt-free, quality education is accessible and affordable to all Michiganders. He lives five blocks from his childhood home with his wife Lauren and their daughters Jenna and Meredith.
Royal Oak, Michigan
Michigan State Senate, 13th District
Mallory McMorrow wants to bring design thinking to Michigan politics. Her background in automotive and product design, creative direction and writing for the likes of Mazda, Hot Wheels, and Gawker Media make her an untraditional candidate. But the core of her approach — listening, storytelling, and immersing herself in the issues — makes her just the candidate to move Michigan forward.
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Minnesota State Representative, 52B
Minnesota House of Representatives — House District 37B
Brandon Taitt is a lifelong progressive who’s lived in the Minneapolis North Metro suburbs his entire life and currently lives in Blaine, MN with his wife Jill and their two-year-old daughter Clara. After his childhood home was lost on the eve of the financial meltdown of 2008, and college became out of reach financially, he doubled down and often worked two or three jobs at a time to pay the rent and gain the skills needed to build a successful career in information technology. Brandon has been an activist, organizer, and volunteer for multiple local and national political campaigns, and his strong belief in the nobility of politics and the power of participation convinced him that this year was the perfect time to announce his candidacy to serve the residents of Blaine and be a voice for working families in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Sauk Rapids, Minnesota
Minnesota House 13B
Ben grew up in a struggling single parent home with his 5 brothers and his mother who worked nearly 80 hours/week. He joined the Air Force right after high school and managed to get a Social Science degree during his service as an intelligence analyst and cybersecurity professional. Now he is running for the MN House so that he can work to modernize government systems and fight for inclusive economic justice.
Minnesota State House, District 8A
Brittney is a young farmer who is passionate about building and sustaining vibrant rural communities. She has spent her career working with farmers to improve the economic and environmental outcomes of agriculture, with an emphasis on ensuring a safe and secure food supply for everyone. In addition to her advocacy work to improve food security, she has moved the conversation forward on important topics in her community by organizing two timely forums focusing on healthcare and the Federal Farm Bill.
State Representative in Missouri’s House District 107
Curtis is a family man, business owner, and progressive democrat who also happens to be an Independent Professional Wrestler. In Feb. 2016, he was inspired by Sen. Bernie Sanders to step up, take control of his own destiny, and become a leader. So, in his first year of political involvement, he was elected or appointed to 6 positions within the Democratic Party including but not limited to the County, State, and Democratic National Committee. (2016–2020).
St. Louis, Missouri
State Representative — Missouri House, District 87
Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina General Assembly — House District 33
Antoine Marshall is a community economic development attorney who has dedicated his young career to public good. A graduate of Wake Forest School of Law, Antoine began his career as a Legal Aid attorney working with low income North Carolinians facing homelessness, denial of government benefits, or employment issues. It is with his knowledge of the circumstances that create intergenerational poverty and adept understanding of how smart policy we can provide equity for North Carolinians that he seeks to represent the 33rd District in the North Carolina General Assembly.
Raleigh, North Carolina
State Senate, District 16
New Bern, North Carolina
North Carolina General Assembly, District 79
Bryson Jones is a disabled Marine Corps veteran and progressive candidate running for the North Carolina General Assembly, District 79. Bryson believes in fairness and equality in government, and is running a campaign to bring jobs to the community, fully fund schools, and ensure Medicaid expansion for the state. He is married to his wife, Brittany, and is a father of three children, with a fourth expected in April.
Ohio State Senate, 15th District
Born and raised in Columbus, Kyle Strickland will bring a new perspective to the State Senate to fight for our values. As an attorney at Ohio State’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, Kyle devotes much of his time to the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which promotes educational and community opportunities for youth of color. Kyle is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Harvard Law School, where he served as Student Body President.
Ohio House of Representatives, 94th District
Growing up through struggle and adversity, Taylor learned what it means to work hard. He believes firmly in community, integrity, and advocacy for a region left behind. Now a tireless fighter for his hometown, Taylor wants to bring an strong Appalachian voice to a State House overrun with apathy and monied interests.
PA State House, 181st District
Malcolm Kenyatta is a third-generation North Philadelphian and fierce civic and community advocate. The grandson of Muhammad Kenyatta, who ran for mayor in 1975, Malcolm is a graduate of Temple University, and recently headed the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s diversity and inclusion initiative. He was elected a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention with 82,000 votes, the second-highest of any delegate in the state.
Pennsylvania State Representative District 19
Aerion Andrew Abney lives his professional life at the intersection of social work, politics, and philanthropy. He is a proven visionary and strategic leader who has developed a reputation built on quality, integrity and uncompromising ethics. He views this as an opportunity to leverage the position’s sphere of influence to continue his work in the community.
Pennsylvania State Legislature, 165th District
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Maryland State Delegate, 18th District
Thompsons Station, Tennessee
Williamson County Commissioner District 2
Lori is a mother to a one year old daughter, the wife of a quadriplegic husband, a clinical translational research coordinator, a lifelong Democrat, and member of Emerge Tennessee class of 2018. She’s running for Williamson county commissioner district 2 because her community needs new leadership that will fully fund our public schools. Like many others, she was inspired to get more involved in politics after the 2016 election.
Knox County School Board District 1
Evetty Satterfield is a proud Knoxville native, former special education teacher and holds a master’s degree in social work. She is devoted to her community by serving as the co-director for TENSE Summit, Site Coordinator for Children’s Defense Fund East Knoxville Freedom Schools and holds multiple chair positions with organizations throughout Knoxville. In her free time, she enjoys watching Netflix, traveling the world and hanging out with her mentees.
Texas House District 64
Andrew is an Anglo-Australian immigrant and ten-year resident of Denton County. After completing his higher education in Australia and the United States, Andrew works as a Proposal Writer for Tyler Technologies. With his wife, Elizabeth, he lives in Argyle TX, where they are entertained by their four rescue cats, and enjoy travelling, musicals (especially Hamilton!), and working to making the world a better place.
Judge, County Criminal Court 5
Armen “Hammer” Merjanian is the personification of a “dreamer”; he immigrated to the United States as an undocumented alien at the age of 10. Over the past 24 years, Armen has worked hard to put himself through college at the University of Florida to become a High School Math Teacher and Track coach, became a United States citizen, went back to school to earn his law degree, and now has his own criminal defense practice in the Houston area. As a graduate of Gideon’s Promise, Armen is extremely passionate about criminal justice reform and has vowed to end mass incarceration in Harris County as the next judge of County Criminal Court 5.
District Court Judge, 68th District
Amanda Ghagar is an attorney, community activist, and the daughter of a public school teacher and immigrant from Tehran. Amanda has more than eight years of legal experience as a trial attorney and in-house counsel advocating for a broad range of clients, including defendants and plaintiffs, on matters ranging in size from a few thousand dollars to over $500 million. Amanda has a strong history of public service, advocacy, and community involvement, and is active in efforts to support communities throughout Dallas County and beyond, from working to protect U.S. citizens and detainees at DFW Airport, to championing the rights of those affected by Senate Bill 4 and hauling supplies and providing hot meals to first responders in Rockport following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
Texas State Legislature, 104th District
Jessica Gonzalez is an attorney who has dedicated her life to public service. She was born and raised in Dallas and is native of Texas House District 104. Jessica formerly served as the Statewide Voter Protection Director for the Obama re-election campaign and as a White House Intern, where she worked directly with the Senior Advisor to the President on Immigration Policy. Throughout her life, Jessica has remained conscious of her family’s courage, sacrifice and hard work, and plans to use her diverse background to create positive change for the communities in her district.
Aurora Martinez Jones
459th District Judge, State of Texas
Aurora Martinez Jones is an Associate Judge in Travis County presiding over the Family Drug Treatment Court and Child Protective Services dockets. The daughter of immigrants, she grew up in La Porte, Texas before coming to Austin to attend the University of Texas for both undergraduate and law school after which she founded her own firm focused on family and civil law. Judge Martinez Jones is a certified Child Welfare specialist and serves her community as chair-elect of the Texas Children’s Justice Act Task Force, board member of the Travis County Women Lawyer’s Foundation, and board member of Girls Empowerment Network.
Williamson County Clerk
Born and raised in Texas, Jessica grew up in Copperas Cove and Sherman. She originally moved to Austin in 2011 to work for Apple as an AppleCare support agent — she has since moved to California and returned to Austin in 2017 and now works for MobileIron as a Senior Technical Support engineer managing an online knowledge community for users. She decided that it was time to get involved in politics when she realized that the Democrats were going to be fighting a hard battle against a Republican party that no longer cared to listen to their constituents or to speak truth to power when leaders made decisions that were detrimental to the country.
Judge, County Court at law 5
County Board Supervisor — District 11 — Dane County, Wisconsin
Kelly Danner lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her partner, Logan, and whatever dog they happen to be fostering on any given day. During the day she manages a small business — an equine veterinary clinic- and nights and weekends are spent talking with neighbors and community leaders about how we can make Dane County the most progressive region possible. Kelly wants to use her Type-A management skills and collaborative leadership style to focus on mental healthcare, youth services, environmental protections, and public health initiatives, with a particular emphasis on reducing racial disparities in Dane County.
Town of Trempealeau Seat on the Board of Education
Cooper is student at the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School located in Galesville, Wisconsin. He’s running for School Board after being an advisor for two terms. He decided to run for public office because he loves politics, he wanted to start his political career early, and because he wanted to make a difference in his community. On the School Board, he wants to increase accountability to voters, increase funding for the arts, increase protections for LGBTQ students, and increase funding for science and Career and Technical Education classes.
South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors District 8
James was born and raised in Southeastern Wisconsin, attended the University of Wisconsin Madison and received his law degree from the University of Florida. Since moving to South Milwaukee, he’s fallen in love with the South Shore communities and is involved with Growing South Milwaukee, an nonprofit working to bring a community garden to South Milwaukee. James is happily married to his wife Stephanie, who was born in Cudahy, and is a public high school teacher.