The results are in from Tuesday’s primaries, and People For the American Way is proud to commend seven Young Elected Progressives endorsees on their victories.
In Connecticut, PFAW applauds Assemblymen Matthew Lesser and James Albis, both running for reelection. Lesser, of Connecticut’s 100th district, has been a proven advocate for the middle class, education, and equal rights since he was first elected in 2010. Albis, a tireless voice for seniors and the middle class, was first elected in a 2011 special election. Both assemblymen face challengers in November, but are continuing their momentum into the fall’s general election.
PFAW also extends its congratulations to five YEP endorsees who emerged victorious in primary elections in Florida: Dwight Bullard, Andrew Gillum, John Alvarez, Leo Cruz, and Ricardo Rangel. While Bullard, winner of this year’s Barbara Jordan Leadership Award given by affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s YEO Network program, defeated four primary challengers in the state Senate’s 39th district, Gillum, YEO Network National Director, defeated three challengers to his Tallahassee city commission seat in a landslide victory. Elsewhere, openly gay state House candidate Alvarez continues to shatter ceilings, advancing onto the general election after an exciting 15 point victory. Cruz and Rangel, state Senate and House hopefuls, respectively, now also face challengers in November.
For more information on PFAW’s other Young Elected Progressives endorsees, click here, and be sure support these strong progressive voices!
Today, the Center for Media & Democracy and The Nation unveiled www.ALECexposed.org, an important resource that provides key insight into the workings of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the shadowy organization that shepherds corporate-crafted bills through state legislatures, as detailed in this PFAW Foundation report. This new wiki-style website allows you view the actual legislation ALEC is pushing, including bills affecting:
These “model bills” are extraordinarily influential – they reach almost every state, and give incredible advantages to big corporations by carving special loopholes into environmental, tax and safety regulations and slashing worker and consumer protections. Below is a clip of PFAW’s Andrew Gillum discussing ALEC’s work with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell:
Last night, People For’s Andrew Gillum went on the Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss PFAW Foundation's new report on ALEC, the group that helps corporate donors get legislation they like placed in statehouses.
Last week, People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network gathered in Baltimore to talk about ways states and municipalities can address the foreclosure crisis and promote neighborhood stabilization. On Saturday, 40 of the elected officials toured Baltimore to find out about creative ways city residents are working to revitalize troubled neighborhoods.
Baltimore's Fox 45 News met up with the group and interviewed Andrew Gillum, the YEO Network's director:
The first stop of the tour was the Whitelock Community Farm in the Reservoir Hill area. Whitelock, on a formerly vacant commercial lot, is tended by neighborhood residents. It sells produce to neighbors and donates food to a local soup kitchen.
Whitelock Farm’s Thor Nelson shows YEOs around the farm’s greenhouse:
In Central Baltimore, an area that had been losing residents…
...became the site of a brand new affordable housing for artists connected to the nearby Maryland Institute College of Art:
Charlie Duff of Jubilee Baltimore, one of the developers behind the project, showed the YEOs around one of the apartments:
Finally, the YEOs visited Load of Fun Gallery, an arts venue in Central Baltimore that uses the graffiti-covered alley behind it to host performances and events:
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Michael B. Keegan has extensive experience as a business executive, philanthropist and longtime board member of both People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation, beginning his tenure with the organizations in 1994. In that time, Michael has been an active participant on all of the key board committees overseeing the program activities of the organizations. He as shown a deep commitment not only to the institutions themselves, but to the values and guiding principles on which People For the American Way and People For Foundation base their missions. As President, he brings with him a unique wealth of knowledge about People For from his 15 years on the board.
Michael has a rich background progressive activism, particularly in the area of LGBT equality. He is a founding national board member of The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Michael also serves on the board of the Los Angeles Public Library and as a trustee of the Muriel Pollia Foundation.
Mr. Keegan is a real estate investor and has worked in various capacities in the media and entertainment industries, at companies such as Columbia Pictures and at Act III Communications where he served as President of the 500-screen Act III Theatres Circuit. He received his MBA in International Business and Entertainment Management from Columbia University. He received his BA in American Studies from Vanderbilt University where he was President of the Student Body. He was awarded the post graduate World Trade Council Traveling Fellowship for travel to developing countries on four continents.
Marge Baker oversees People For’s policy and programmatic work, including its campaigns on the courts, nominations, LGBT equality, voting rights and elections. She has worked for nearly 30 years in various public service roles. Prior to her current position she was the Staff Director for the late Senator Paul Wellstone on the Senate’s Employment, Safety and Training Subcommittee. Ms. Baker is a graduate of Yale Law School, has served as a law clerk in the federal judiciary, as a counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as head of consumer protection for a state regulatory agency. Ms. Baker is married, and has three children, ages 24, 26, and 29.
Andrew Gillum is Director of Youth Leadership Programs. An alumnus of Florida A&M University (FAMU), former president of the Student Government Association, and FAMU's first student member of the Board of Trustees, Gillum became the youngest person ever elected to the four-member Tallahassee City Commission in February 2003. Gillum has held prominent leadership roles such as Mayor Pro Tem, ChairmanCapital Region Transportation Planning Agency and lead commissioner for the Long Range Community Based Target Issue Committee. In keeping with his mantra to uplift and build the collective community, Gillum has championed several community initiatives including the Nims Middle School Digital Harmony Pilot Program, the Landlord Tenant Mediation Program; the Code Enforcement Amnesty Program; and the creation of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Park. Gillum served as Field Organizer and statewide Director of the "Arrive With 5" program with People For the American Way Foundation. He organized the largest "Arrive With 5" get-out-the-vote campaign in Florida's history. He also worked as Deputy Political Director with the Florida Democratic Party. He founded PFAW Foundation's Young Elected Officials program, which unites elected officials age 35 and under in a network which supports them with leadership and personal development training and public policy support.
Peter Montgomery oversees People For the American Way Foundation’s research and writing on the Religious Right, as well as our work to help progressives understand and more effectively communicate with important constituencies, particularly the reachable religious middle. Mr. Montgomery is a spokesperson for People For the American Way Foundation on a range of issues, such as the Supreme Court, the Religious Right political movement, religion and politics, LGBT rights, public education, and free speech. Before joining People For the American Way Foundation in 1994, Peter Montgomery was associate director of grassroots lobbying for Common Cause, where he planned and directed grassroots lobbying campaigns, volunteer recruitment, and media relations strategy. He wrote and edited for Common Cause Magazine, an award-winning journal featuring investigative reporting about the federal government.
Diallo Brooks has over 15 years of non-profit management experience working with national and state leaders to enhance social justice missions through leadership development training, project management and technical assistance. In his current position as Director of Field Mobilization at the People For the American Way, Mr. Brooks works to engage PFAW’s various networks and membership in key program activities related to the organizations mission. Prior to joining PFAW, Mr. Brooks was the Field Director for The Education Trust, Director of Legislator Relations for the Center for Policy Alternatives and Client Services Coordinator for Millennium Communications Group. Mr. Brooks also has served as Co-Chair and national spokesman for Black Youth Vote (BYV!) and is a current executive board member of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Mr. Brooks has provided trainings for numerous non-profits, state elected officials and other institutions in the areas of values baled leadership development and organization management. Mr. Brooks is also a founding partner at Momentum Strategies, LLC. a strategic consulting firm.
Leslie Watson Malachi is the Director of African American Religious Affairs for People for the American Way. She is the former National Policy Director for the Balm In Gilead and served for nine years as the Director of the Multicultural Programs Department of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice where she managed and developed La Iniciativa Latina (LIL), the Women of Color Partnership Project (WOCPP), and the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) which included annual planning of the National Black Religious Summit on Sexuality for African American clergy and laity. Leslie is co-author of two of the Coalitions faith-based sexuality education dialogue models for African American congregations, award winning and nationally recognized “Keeping It Real!” for teens, and “Breaking the Silence” for adults. Both curriculums are designed to strengthen communication betweens teens and adults in order to reduce teen pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. Leslie has served as the National Coordinator and Field Director for the National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Coordinator of the Public Policy Institute of the Citizenship Education Fund, the 501(c)3 arm of the Rainbow. A Minister, she is also a master trainer and has been trained by several institutions including the National MultiCultural Institute for advanced training of trainers in “Building Cultural Competency in the Workplace” and “Teaching Skills and Cultural Competency”. Leslie has provided training in, among other areas, cross cultural communication, prejudice reduction, facilitation, effective collaborations, events and strategic planning, and issue campaigns for over 20 years