We’re Not Waiting Until 2020: Get to Know Our April Endorsement Class Today 💪
BIG FACT: Major changes don’t just occur in Congress. They happen in your backyard.
Despite what you may have heard, 2019 is not an off-year — thousands of local elections are taking place across the country as we speak. From city council to county clerk, we have seen a massive increase in young progressives who’ve decided to take a chance and run for something in their community. And we, for one, couldn’t be more stoked 😉.
This month, we are introducing our new endorsement class, featuring 38 bright new hopefuls!
Their stories are all unique and equally evocative. We’ve endorsed a son who lost his mother to substance abuse and subsequently dedicated his life to public service; there’s our Navy Reserveman who’s working to provide adequate health benefits to veterans; and a community organizer who is looking to give back to the same town that supported his family as refugees. Despite their differences, they are all running for the same reason: they are here to represent those who have been forgotten or left behind. We are so proud to have the opportunity to endorse these 38 remarkable candidates and we hope that you are just as pumped to support their race to the finish line!
Denver City Council District 5
Amanda Sawyer is running for Denver City Council to represent the voices of the people who live in her community. She has a proven track record of advocating for thoughtful development, safer streets, public transportation and mobility infrastructure. Amanda spent her professional career working in marketing, sales and business strategy, and has lived in Colorado off and on since 1989. She and her husband moved their family home permanently in early 2016 after her daughter was diagnosed with special needs. She is a licensed attorney and also has her MBA.
Indianapolis City County Council, District 4
Ethan is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis. He has an M.A. in Secondary Education from Indiana University. As a community activist, Ethan has been a strong voice for sustainable communities, promoting locally-owned businesses and livable wages, affordable and accessible public transit, permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness, and treatment, not jail, for those with mental illnesses.
Portage City Council At-Large
Ferdinand is running for city council at-large in Portage, Indiana. He is eager to use his background in law and public policy, along with his experience serving the community through various boards and organizations, to make responsible decisions that will affect Portage’s future. As a third-year law student with a master’s degree in public affairs, Ferdinand is uniquely qualified to serve and is prepared to tackle the challenges that Portage faces.
Noblesville City Council District 5
Jason Myers is an Eagle Scout with a strong management background in a diverse group of industries including customer service, project management, and manufacturing. These fields require a strong aptitude for critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and collaboration between multiple departments. All skills that will be put to good use serving the community.
Jason is running a grassroots campaign to impact his community on a higher level and be a voice for those who feel they aren’t being heard. Jason is encouraging residents to Take Back Noblesville by voting for him: someone who promises to bring needed transparency, integrity, and responsible growth to our council.
Bloomington City Council District 1
Kate is running for city council to create a more inclusive and sustainable city that lifts up everyone. Her goal is to bring out the best of every neighborhood, while welcoming families of all income levels to live alongside each other. Kate also wants to improve Bloomington’s transportation system for everyone, including drivers, bikers, pedestrians or those that use public transportation.
Kate is an attorney, and has leveraged her training and education as a community development and housing professional. Kate is a next-generation leader who is ready to bring fresh ideas and a new perspective to council.
Hammond Council At-Large
Katrina D. Alexander is a long time resident of Hammond, Indiana. She is an educator at East Chicago Central High School, a graduate of Hammond High School, and a graduate of Purdue University Calumet with a BS in Computer Information Systems. Katrina is a member of the AFT Union and a licensed minister and motivational speaker.
Most importantly, Katrina is an advocate for the youth. She can relate to many of the issues faced by young people today such as bullying, low self esteem, and suicide. Katrina will focus on transparency, accountability, youth engagement, senior involvement through mentorship, and safety in Hammond neighborhoods.
Lynn City Council Ward 6, Massachusetts
The daughter of Cambodian Genocide survivors who immigrated to the US in 1988, Cinda and her three brothers grew up in Lynn. Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of her parents, including her dad’s working as a union machinist and her mom taking on various jobs to support the family, they would buy their first home in Ward 6.
In 2011, Cinda got her first exposure to the power of advocacy when their home was forced into foreclosure. She was approached by local organizers who informed them of their rights as homeowners which allowed them to stay in their home. Through sharing her family’s story with elected officials, Cinda got her first exposure to how government works and how it can better serve all of us.
Advocating for residents going through foreclosure ignited a passion for public service that led her to the Massachusetts State House where she served as an intern, legislative aide, and then as chief of staff to a state representative. Currently, Cinda is a government relations specialist at Preti Strategies. She is the creator of Faces of Lynn magazine, co-founder of Voices of Lynn festival, a member of the Lynn Rotary Club, a board member for Arts After Hours and Community Path Coalition of Lynn, a volunteer for Kakrona Center of Lynn, Raw Art Works alumni and a graduate of Lynn Classical High School. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in human services from UMass Boston, Cinda moved back to Lynn to work for and serve her community.
Lowell City Council
Ty Chum is running for Lowell City Council to give back to the community that supported him and his family through homelessness, hunger and other struggles they faced after moving to Lowell in 1990 as refugees from Cambodia.
His quote to the Lowell community “You guys helped me out when I was down, when I was kicked on the floor, when I was really down on myself and now I’m OK,” he said. “I can do things now and I want to give back.” He is looking forward to bridging his skills as an entrepreneur and community organizer on violence prevention to better his hometown as a city council.
Delvin J. Moody
City of Utica Common Council, Ward 5
From an early age, Delvin felt called to the service of helping others and empowering his community. He is a compassionate young leader who understands the importance of unity and progressive leadership. Throughout his life, Delvin has been active in numerous organizations on various topics. From the NAACP to being a delegate to the United Nations. He also co-founded the National Black Action Committee and served as Chairman for 2 years. Delvin currently serves as Northern Vice President of the New York State Young Democrats and is an unapologetic progressive. When elected, Delvin will be the Youngest Black Elected Officials in the State of New York.
Mayor of Yonkers, NY
Karen Beltran is running for Mayor of Yonkers, NY. Karen is a public service attorney in the Family Court where she protects children from abuse and neglect. She is a long-time public school education advocate fighting for equitable funding, better academics, better school climate and needed services for all children. She is also an immigrant, union member and homeowner who understands the need for local good paying jobs to support our families. Karen Beltran wants to be the leading advocate for education, affordable housing, public safety, and responsible economic development.
Monroe County Legislator District 8
Megan Thompson is a devoted mother, wife, and IT manager who is running for Monroe County Legislator District 8. Megan’s love for her community can be seen in her volunteer activities. When she realized how the opioid crisis was affecting Webster, she organized training sessions on how to administer life-saving Narcan. She leads her youngest daughter’s Girl Scout troop which builds their confidence and character. Megan co-chaired an event for the Susan B. Anthony House encouraging millennials in the organization. She volunteers at two of Rochester’s major universities and her alma maters, Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Rochester.
Oyster Bay Town Clerk
Rachel Klein has a long history of service and dedication to others. In 2008, Rachel was accepted to the NYC Teaching Fellows program, which recruits and trains educators to serve in high need neighborhoods and subjects. She taught Special Education in Queens.
Rachel is currently a full-time mother, class mom, and enrichment teacher. As a concerned parent and citizen, Rachel founded the grassroots group, Long Islanders for Gun Safety, in response to Parkland. Her advocacy resulted in the passage of numerous gun violence prevention laws, making NY a safer place. Rachel earned a BFA from NYU, an MA from Columbia, and an MAT from Queens College.
Brookhaven Town Council District 2
Sarah Deonarine is running for Brookhaven Town Council in District 2. Sarah was trained as a marine scientist and has since worked in state and local government for more than a decade. She believes that government should be open, transparent, and accessible and that these traits determine the quality of life for the residents. Sarah will bring integrity back to the Town of Brookhaven. She has the knowledge and experience to make her a great councilperson who works diligently for the people of Brookhaven.
Mayor of Niagara Falls
My name is Seth Piccirillo and I am running for Mayor of Niagara Falls to do something, not to be something. Our campaign will be about what we can get done together in our neighborhoods.
Lorain City Council, Ward 6
As a first-generation American born to Mexican immigrant parents, Javier Espitia knows the promise of the American Dream firsthand. He is the first person in his family born in the United States and is a native Spanish speaker. As a community activist and organizer, Espitia registered hundreds of voters and knocked on thousands of doors in South Lorain. Espitia sees political engagement as his way of protecting and renewing the American Dream for future generations, and after serving members of Congress, a Secretary of State, and the first black President, Espitia wants to serve the people of South Lorain.
Newark City Council At-Large
Seth Dobbelaer is running for Newark City Council At-Large. A Newark native, Seth is committed to serving the community that he has always called home. Seth’s background is unique, and his experiences provide him with intimate knowledge of the challenges faced by citizens of Newark and Licking County. His deep drive to help others enables him to balance multiple public service commitments while laboring as a farmer, general contractor, and most recently as a Loaned Executive to the United Way of Licking County. Seth believes all people should have a fair chance to build a good life, and this is what he wants most for his fellow citizens.
Sahar Yarjani Muranovic
David Douglas School Board, Position 4
Sahar Yarjani Muranovic is a first-generation Iranian-American who grew up in Vienna, Austria. She has a Master’s degree in International Human Rights and a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Formerly the Volunteer and Training Coordinator at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), Sahar now serves as the Communications and PR Manager for Child Foundation, an international nonprofit focused on supporting economically disadvantaged children to make sure they are able to remain in school. Sahar is running to make sure our youth of color, ESL students, queer youth, and immigrant and refugee communities are heard and represented.
Shanice Brittany Clarke
Portland Public School Board, Zone 2
Shanice is a community organizer proud Portlander and educator at Portland State University who oversees a resource center for Black students. Shanice engages with PPS students, families, and employees through continuous programming and partnerships hosted on PSU’s campus, and shapes educational policy for student retention.
With her teachers union, Shanice organizes with educators in the area for increased educational funding, and fair collective bargaining procedures. As an educator, an advocate, and a progressive community organizer who proudly calls Portland home — she cares deeply about our students, families, education professionals, and their unmet needs. That’s why Shanice is running for Portland Public School Board, Position 2. Staff retention initiatives, wraparound services, and restorative discipline practices are solutions she can bring to the leadership of Portland Public Schools.
Philadelphia City Council At-Large
Adrian Rivera-Reyes is a cancer biologist, labor organizer, LGBTQ+ rights advocate, and proud PhillyRican. Growing up in a working class family, Adrian knows what it’s like to not afford a home or health insurance. These are the same struggles facing working people in Philadelphia today.
Adrian is running for City Council At-Large because we need a Philadelphia that works for all. There are no millennials, LGBTQ+ people, or scientists on City Council. Our voices deserve a seat at the table. That’s why Adrian is fighting for everyone’s right to housing, education, and healthcare and for a Green New Deal.
Upper Makefield Township Supervisor
For ten years Ben has run a successful photography business working with clients who are drawn to his enthusiasm, creativity, and his ability to manage a diverse array of projects. He works regularly across multiple fields, including for Fortune 500 corporations, universities, ad agencies, magazines and small businesses.
Ben and his wife both grew up in Bucks County got married in the house where they live in Upper Makefield. They have four young children and proudly chose this community as the place they wanted to raise their kids. Ben is optimistic, has a talent for seeing the larger picture, and a willingness to do the day-to-day work to achieve that long-term vision. He’s demonstrated it in his business and is excited to bring that experience and skill-set to local government.
North Hills District School Board
Deanna Philpott is a school wellness advocate, a parent, and a North Hills graduate running for North Hills School Board. Working to improve school meals, recess, gym and health curriculum, and mental health programs every day has inspired Deanna to bring the amazing things that are happening in school districts across the country to North Hills, too. With a BA from Penn State in Human Development and Family Studies and an MA from American University in Sociology, Deanna is also ready to make community and parent engagement a priority in North Hills.
North Strabane Township Supervisor
Emily Holmes is running for North Strabane Township Supervisor because she wants the best future for her community. Having children has inspired Emily to work towards ensuring a safe and healthy township, with ample and accessible educational, recreational, and community resources, for all residents. As a citizen who formerly didn’t understand the gravity of municipal elections and decisions made at the township level, she is now informed, engaged, and passionate about educating voters and encouraging them to participate in local government.
Emily has a unique combination of career experience in the fields of education (children through adult), non-profit, legal, consulting, and defense contracting. She earned a B.A. in Advertising & Public Relations from Penn State University.
Abington Commissioner, Ward 10
Jessica believes that local government is where real impact happens and often goes unnoticed. The opportunity to make a difference for her fellow neighbors in stewarding the Township resources and planning for the future called her to step up and run in a special election in 2019. Jessica is a career fundraiser having worked for Philadelphia area nonprofits for the last 14 years. She is a volunteer with Abington Hospital, cub scouts, and a local professional development organization. Jessica is married to Dane and has two young boys.
Sheriff, City and County of Philadelphia
Malika Rahman most recently served as a Deputy Sheriff Officer for the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. She began her career in law enforcement in 2009, working as a correctional officer in the Philadelphia Prison System. Although she was born in Baltimore, MD, Malika has embraced Philadelphia as her home.
Malika received a Bachelor’s of Science from Chestnut Hill College and a Masters of Science from St. Joseph’s University. She takes pride in her duties as a public servant and challenges those around her to do the same. She lives by her own personal affirmation, “the day you stop learning is the day you stop living.” Malika encourages everyone she comes in contact with to embrace lifelong learning and take bold chances.
Malika’s entire professional career and much of her personal life has revolved around community service and the empowerment of those around her. She is the founder of Be A Great You, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing and empowering the lives of young women in urban communities. As an advocate for change and a member of various committees for youth engagement in Philadelphia, she seizes the opportunity to share her purpose and passion with those who need it most. In her various roles, she often serves as a voice for the voiceless, expressing the concerns and perspectives of the city’s most vulnerable populations. One conversation with her and you will feel her passion and know that she means business.
Mayor of Easton
Taiba Sultana is a fresh progressive voice in Pennsylvania ready to bring bold ideas to the table. Running for Mayor of Easton, Taiba has a history of public service and political activism: She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Northampton Democratic Party and serves on the Advisory Council of PAK PA. She is also a Emerge PAC alum. Taiba has extensive knowledge of political issues on a national, state, and local level and is ready to put her expertise to good use!
Taiba lives in Easton with her husband and children.
HEB ISD Board of Trustees Place 7
Aisha is running for HEB ISD Place 7. Aisha holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work focusing in Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Aisha also owns a dance studio in Hurst, TX where she teaches dance and public speaking skills to 60+ HEB ISD students. Aisha ran group sessions and worked as a volunteer to help at-risk students for a year in GP ISD which helped her realize taking care of the students mental health must come before anything else.
Asa O. Woodberry
Dallas City Council, District 4
Asa is a candidate for the Dallas City Council, District 4. He is a community activist that has a passion for the community in which he grew up. Asa has a B.A. in Political Science from Texas Tech University and a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from Alabama A&M University. He is passionate about empowering the community through investments in its people. He believes that District 4 is ready for a progressive change. He is committed to transparency and accountable for all elected officials. Asa is running as a candidate for the people, inspiring Unity in the community.
Dona Kim Murphey, MD PhD
Pearland ISD Board of Trustees, Position 5
Dona Kim Murphey, a physician, scientist, community advocate, and mother, is running for Pearland ISD Board of Trustees, Position 5. She is running for the board to set the district on a path of healthy students, healthy schools, and healthy communities. Dona brings her professional and life experiences to bear on data-driven educational policy, reasoning through systems failures, and inclusion of vulnerable student communities. The current board has not been responsive to the needs of our diverse students and fails to assess and pivot when their responses have been insufficient or inappropriate. We have a teen suicide rate that is 150% national average.
Our district is unsafe for students with economic need (28%), disabilities (8%), identifying as black (15%), immigrant (46%), or LGBT (4.5%) in terms of equitable access to learning opportunities, severe and disproportionate punishment, lack of devoted outreach in a dangerously anti-immigrant climate, and active religiously motivated intolerance. Parents, students, and teachers understand that safety is a precondition to learning and overwhelmingly support a whole school, whole community, whole child health approach.
Eduardo M. Torres
San Antonio ISD Board of Trustees, District 6
Eduardo is running for the San Antonio ISD Board of Trustees. At nineteen years old, Eduardo is a husband, father, nonprofit administrator, and full-time student at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Eduardo has been endorsed by multiple unions, and is a staunch advocate for teachers and support personnel. A graduate of public school, Eduardo is a fierce defender of the public nature of his community’s schools, at a time when the San Antonio ISD is mirroring the national tendency towards educational privatization. With his deep community roots, which run five generations deep, and his proxy to public education, Eduardo has the unique perspective that his community deserves.
San Antonio City Council District 4
Joel Mendoza is a candidate for San Antonio City Council District 4 to be the voice of the unheard. He is running to represent each resident in his district that has been forgotten about as the city continues to move forward. One of the top priorities for Joel is to remove power and politics out of politics and give the power back to the people. Joel believes that the power must be in the people’s hands to create real change and progress we all need.
Van Horn City Council
Karolyne Carloss is a native Texan and proud Van Horn community member. A non-profit professional, Karolyne has dedicated herself to initiatives ranging from women’s homelessness to international microfinance to global primary healthcare. Karolyne currently serves as a Program Director for Van Horn school, helping to create college and career pathways for rural students.
Located in the West Texas desert, Van Horn may be remote, but it’s also in the middle of many important conversations around immigration justice, rural healthcare, sustainable development, and rural education. Van Horn is ready to lead on these issues, and Karolyne is excited to help the town rise to the occasion.
Aaron C. Edmond
Prince William Board of County Supervisors, Occoquan District
Aaron in running for the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to represent the Occoquan District! Aaron is a Yeoman Petty Officer First Class in the United States Navy Reserve and is a Senior Executive Assistant for Vista Technologies Inc. Aaron is also a proud parent to two Labrador Retrievers, Abbey and Ace. Aaron has spent the last several years organizing around local issues and working on several political races. Aaron was a lead field organizer in Virginia for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Race and also worked on several successful races in 2017 that resulted in almost flipping the Virginia House of Delegates.
Aaron was inspired to run for local office after recognizing the glaring inequalities on a local level in regards to services for Veterans, adequate funding for the public school system, and the lack of affordable housing options. Aaron wants to fight for a community where everyone has a seat at the table and every individual has the ability to thrive. As an Eagle Scout Aaron served his community, as an Enlisted Petty Officer he served his country, and as the next Occoquan District Supervisor he wants to work hard everyday to serve the residents of the Occoquan District!
Virginia House of Delegate, District 20
Jennifer Lewis is running for Virginia’s 20th house district. Jennifer is a mental health worker, community advocate, and leader in the fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. She’s been a civically active member of her community, volunteering for various local groups, serving on boards and commissions, and fighting on the front lines for the values of the valley. Jennifer spent the early part of her professional career working in the Virginia public school system, providing mental health services to at-risk youth. She currently works with adults with mental illness who are transitioning from inpatient care back into the community.
Virginia House of Delegates District 28
Joshua Cole is a Pastor, Community Activist and Son of the 28th District. He currently serves as the President of the Stafford County NAACP, A Member of the Stafford School Board Equity Diversity and Opportunity Committee and a host of other local community endeavors. As someone who grew up in the district he’s currently running for, he understands the growth and change that has faced and will face the 28th District. In 2017, he ran for the 28th District and narrowly lost by 73 votes, he’s back and ready to win to ensure the Virginia General Assembly represents ALL Virginians.
Fairfax County School Board, Providence District
Growing up in an inner-city public school district, Jung Byun saw first-hand the inequities in public schools. She was one of the lucky ones that tested into a top HS and graduated from Carnegie Mellon. This was only possible because of her immigrant parents and teachers who believed in her. She never forgot the privilege of having a strong support network and works in local and national education policy by making data-driven decisions as a data scientist. She is eager to serve Fairfax County as its first Asian American woman on the School Board.
Loudoun County Sheriff
Justin running for Sheriff of Loudoun County, Virginia. If elected, he would be the first African-American to hold the position in the history of the county. He is a commander of a Military Intelligence Unit in the U.S. Army Reserves and federal government contractor. In his decade of military service and intelligence work, Justin has regularly come face to face with public safety issues like the protection of people and property. He currently commands a unit that is the only of its kind in the U.S. Army. It has the unique mission of providing rule of law support and policing to areas where they are deployed. He hopes to bring all he is learned in the military to his campaign to address Loudoun County’s failing drug policy, the mismanagement of the Sheriff’s Office and the corrosive partisanship that has plagued the County’s policing.
Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Occoquan District
Kenny is the former Chairman of the Occoquan District Democrats and Prince William NAACP Criminal Justice Committee, and an advocate for social justice. Kenny comes from a low income background and due to key mentors and hard work, graduated from Georgetown University.
After losing his mother to chronic homelessness and substance abuse, Kenny decided to devote his life to fighting for the most vulnerable. He also discovered that his maternal ancestors were enslaved Africans brought to Virginia over 200 years ago. Kenny will fight for more equitable schools, transit options, better jobs and more county services in Prince William County.
Morgan K Goodman
Virginia House of Delegates, District 55
Morgan Goodman is running to represent Virginia’s 55th House of Delegates District because she believes we need legislators who will do more listening and less talking so we can find common ground. Married with two children, Morgan holds a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and a master’s degree in Environmental Policy. She has worked to protect the environment in the non-profit sector, for the federal government, and currently as a state employee. Morgan is active in her community and is a Vice President on the PTA at her children’s school and co-leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop.