The roadmap to success.
Former Online Engagement Director for Pete for America
Stefan Smith is a former historian and trained academic turned content creator and digital strategist. Most recently the Online Engagement Director for Pete for America, Stefan built a novel digital volunteer corp that married organizing and content. Previously, he served as Digital Director for the Democratic Party of New Mexico, Chief Digital Strategist for Senator Martin Heinrich, and Deputy Digital Director of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Michigan.
President of the Indiana Democratic Latino Caucus
Elise Shrock is a Co-Founder of Wide Awake Digital where she specializes in candidate communications development, strategic campaign communications, and press relations. In addition to her work there, she serves as the Director of Operations at Tamm Capital Group, where she leads the firm’s association management program and serves as the principal Democrat on their government affairs team.
Serving as the President of the Indiana Democratic Latino Caucus, she works to engage Latino voters and ensure that the state’s growing Latino population is reflected in local, state and federal representation. She is also a founding board member of Hoosier Women Forward, the state’s leading leadership program for democratic women.
Elise is a regular Democratic television commentator on Indiana’s political Sunday line-up including Indiana Week in Review and INFocus. A graduate of Butler University, she studied broadcast journalism and has worked in both TV and radio news.
J.D. FORDIndiana State Senator
Elected on his 36th birthday, Senator J.D. Ford represents Hoosiers of Senate District 29 which encompasses parts of Boone, Hamilton and Marion counties. Senator Ford’s interests turned to public service at an early age, largely due to the careers of his grandparents. His maternal grandfather was a city councilman and his paternal grandmother was a city auditor. Senator Ford is a son of truck driver and an assisted care facility administrator for the elderly.
Senator Ford was the first person in his family to go to college. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Criminal Justice from The University of Akron and earned a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis on Human Services from Purdue University. Senator Ford has spent much of his career in higher education, “paying it forward” from his own experience as a first-generation college graduate. He also has held numerous executive-level positions for non-profits located here in Central Indiana.
Senator Ford is the first member of the LGBTQ+ community ever elected to the Indiana General Assembly and is proud to represent millennials across the State of Indiana. In addition to his duties as a legislator, Senator Ford also been appointed to numerous advisory committees and task forces, including but not limited to:
- The Medicaid Advisory Committee
- Civics Task Force
- Redistricting Commission
- Jail Overcrowding Task Force (2019)
- Distressed Unit Appeals Board (2019)
Senator Ford enjoys swimming, basketball, reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family. He is also a proud member of Theta Chi Fraternity and resides in Wayne Township with his dog, Stella.
Evansville City Councilor
Alex Burton is the 4th Ward City Councilman in Evansville, IN. Alex believes that the future of this city is dependent upon the choices made in the next few years and his involvements put him in the right position to not only serve, but lead and ensure every resident believes that Evansville becomes its very best. Alex has lived in Evansville majority of his life and continues to make a difference by volunteering and actively serving in the community. He is an alum of Indiana State University (B.S. in Communications) and Western Kentucky University (Master’s in Public Administration).
Indianapolis City-County Councilor
Ali Brown is a newly elected Indianapolis City County Councillor representing District 5, Lawrence, Oaklandon, and Geist areas. She is the Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Indianapolis. Ali has committed her life to focusing on lifting up our most vulnerable people and communities. She is a proud mom of 3 year old Dylan and has been married to Zach Brown for 5 years. They have two dogs, Franklin and Birch.
Indianapolis City-County Councilor
Crista is a graduate of Ben Davis High School, Class of 2005. She earned her Bachelors degree in English and Psychology from the University of Indianapolis in 2009, a Masters degree in Teaching from Marian University, and is a licensed school building administrator. Since 2009, Crista has served as a public educator across the city of Indianapolis. She is currently the Media Specialist at Ben Davis University High School, a former member of the Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees, and is the elected Precinct Committee Chairwoman of Wayne-11 until 2022. She is married to Charlie Carlino, and they have one daughter together.
Columbus City-County Councilor
Grace Kestler was elected in 2019 as Columbus, Indiana’s at-large City Councilor. Grace Kestler graduated with her bachelors from DePauw University and her masters in Conflict Management from Alice Salomon University in Berlin, Germany. She currently works as the Executive Director of The Arc of Bartholomew County and actively participates in organizations working on inclusion and welcoming communities.
keith pottsIndianapolis City-County Councilor
Councilor Keith Potts (he/him/his) is an arts advocate, having graduated in 2012 from the Boston Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He works with local not-for-profit arts organizations, teaching after-school music classes, directing, and performing with organizations like the Phoenix Theatre, Indy Shakes, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Actors Theatre of Indiana, and Civic Theatre.
Potts’ political work has been centered on issue-based campaigns and progressive candidates, with a particular focus on protecting women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and the environment. Potts lives in Nora with his husband, Dr. Bryan Dodd, and their rescue dog, Mak.
Gary City Councilor
Born and raised in the heart of Gary, Indiana, Tai wants to give back and spread her excitement and hope for the city. She wants to use her fresh voice and vision to lead the 4th district into becoming a safer, more connected and successful community.
As a young business professional, Tai has quickly made her mark in the corporate world as a high-performing leader, regularly executing multi-million-dollar contracts with global reach. The change management and problem-solving skills she uses daily in the business world will translate to her goals of delivering innovation and progress for Gary’s 4th district.
Executive Director of Rust Belt Rising
Paul Kendrick is the Executive Director of Rust Belt Rising, which trains Midwest Democratic candidates on connecting with working families and winning elections. After four years of leading a program to help first-generation college students become graduates, Paul was Wisconsin Youth Vote Director for President Obama and Senator Tammy Baldwin’s 2012 campaigns. He then served in the Obama Department of Education and White House. For Opportunity Nation, he led a national grassroots coalition to expand educational and career paths for young people. Most recently, he was Lake County Regional Get Out the Voter Director for Governor JB Pritzker’s 2018 Illinois campaign. He is the co-author of Douglass and Lincoln: How a Revolutionary Black Leader & a Reluctant Liberator Struggled to End Slavery & Save the Union and an adjunct professor at National Louis University.
Chair of Emerging Leaders Project
Jeff Harris is the founder and chair of the Emerging Leaders Project, a nonprofit founded in 2011 that trains up and coming Democrats interested in seeking office. A veteran political operative, Harris has worked on 6 different statewide campaigns, including John Gregg’s 2016 campaign, Pete Buttigeig’s state treasurer campaign and currently on Jonathan Weinzapfel’s campaign for Attorney General. He has also served in the administrations of two governors, in the State Senate, worked for Indiana AFL-CIO. Harris currently serves as an executive at an Indianapolis-based global nonprofit.
Midwestern Regional Director of Run For Something
Kandice is an experienced political organizer with a background in movement politics, legislative advocacy, fundraising, voter mobilization, and political consulting for progressive campaigns. She has worked on Daniel Biss’ 2018 Gubernatorial Campaign, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s historic mayoral campaign in 2019, and most recently served as the Movement Politics Director for the Workers Center for Racial Justice. She is a firm believer in the power of grassroots and community driven campaigns. She is particularly passionate about empowering diverse voter bases and promoting women of color in campaign leadership. Kandice is a proud resident of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.
Executive Director of Hoosier Women Forward
Amy Levander has been the Executive Director of Hoosier Women Forward since her appointment by the board in 2019. In addition to her role as Executive Director, Ms. Levander also serves as the Chair of Krieg DeVault’s Government Affairs and Public Advocacy Practice Group. Prior to joining Krieg DeVault’s Governmental Affairs team, Amy Levander served as Governor Kernan and Governor O’Bannon’s Deputy Legislative Director. In that role, she negotiated legislation on behalf of the Governor with House and Senate Leadership, approved all agency legislation and made recommendations to the Governor. Prior to this role, she served three and a half years on the Indiana House of Representatives Democrat Staff. Ms. Levander has over 20 years of government experience serving both the executive and legislative branches.
LaKimba DeSadier, Is the new Indiana State Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky (PPAINK) and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK). LaKimba leads a team to develop and execute all aspects of PPINK/PPAINK’s work in Indiana, including legislative advocacy, civic engagement, and building robust organizing programs and strategic political campaigns.
Previously, LaKimba served as the Executive Director of The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) in Washington DC. For more than 12 years she served as NBCSL’s spokesperson and liaison with several coalition partners. With her primary focus being to educate and empower legislators across the United States. Since moving back to Indiana, she has held several positions in which she helped to advocate and advance the needs of public education for children in Indianapolis. Understanding the importance of community engagement in this new role, LaKimba will build on that work and uplift communities in Indiana while advocating strong public health policies no matter their income or zip code.
ALLYSON CLAYBOURNNewberg Councilor
Allyson is the mother of two toddlers, but in her spare time, she is also a lawyer, town councilor, and proud Hoosier. The past seven of her ten years practicing law have been with Berry Global, Inc. Previously, she worked with the law firm of Jackson Kelly PLLC and as a law clerk for Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. In 2018, Allyson flipped a seat from red to blue to be elected to the Newburgh Town Council.