August 8, 2018


San Antonio, TX – Opportunity First PAC today announced an expanded slate of young, progressive candidate endorsements, as well as its first executive director and new senior advisors. The PAC is supporting 64 candidates in the midterm elections, thirteen of which are congressional seats on the DCCC “Red to Blue” list. The leadership team brings a wealth of knowledge and experience advancing progressive causes in state and federal government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector to Opportunity First. Launched in January 2018 by former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julián Castro, Opportunity First PAC is dedicated to supporting young, progressive leaders who put people before politics.

“The candidates we’re supporting this November represent the future of the Democratic party and showcase our collective vision for creating pathways to opportunity for all Americans,” said Secretary Julián Castro, founder of Opportunity First. “Each candidate has an agenda for their communities that will spur economic progress, protect our most sacred rights and be a model for inclusive leadership.”

“I’m very pleased to welcome this exceptional group of advisors to Opportunity First. They are ready to deliver on our promise to organize folks across the nation and invest in the next generation of progressive leaders,” said Secretary Castro. “Together, we’re looking forward to celebrating victories for our newly endorsed slate of candidates this November.”

Opportunity First is building a future in which people come first in politics and does not accept money from corporate donors. Since January 2018, the PAC has been building and supporting a nationwide bench of young, progressive Democrats at every level of government. Beginning with Colin Allred in TX-32, the PAC has previously endorsed several candidates for primary and general elections. Today, Opportunity First announces its expanded slate of 64 candidates for the upcoming midterm elections, with additional announcements to come. The Opportunity First PAC is proud to announce its support for the talented candidates in the following races:

Josh Mahony – AR-03
*Josh Harder – CA-10
Andrew Janz – CA-22
Joe Neguse – CO-02
Stephany Rose Spaulding – CO-05
*Abby Finkenauer – IA-01
*Cindy Axne – IA-03
*Lauren Underwood – IL-14
*Xochitl Torres Small – NM-02
Juana Matias – MA-03
*Elissa Slotkin – MI-08
Rep. Jacky Rosen – NV-Senate
*Steven Horsford – NV-04
*Antonio Delgado – NY-19
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – NY-14
*Colin Allred – TX-32
Veronica Escobar – TX-16
*Lizzie Fletcher – TX-07
*MJ Hegar – TX-31
Eric Holguin – TX-27
*Gina Ortiz Jones – TX-23
Todd Litton – TX-02
Joseph Kopser – TX-21
Sri Preston Kulkarni – TX-22
*Randy Bryce – WI-01
*DCCC Red to Blue seat

Stacey Abrams – GA Governor
Brianna Titone – CO State Representative, District 27
Emma Collum – FL State Representative, District 93
Anna Eskamani – FL State Representative, District 47
Andrew Gillum – FL Governor
Deidre DeJear – IA Secretary of State
Dr. Megan Srinivas – IA State Representative, District 9
Zach Wahls – IA State Senate, District 37
Steve Sisolak – NV Governor
Sarah Coats – KS State Representative, District 54
Kristoffer Rixon – NC State Representative, District 9
Nelson Araujo – NV Secretary of State
Sandra Jauregui – NV State Assembly, District 41
Selena Torres – NV State Assembly, District 3
Kristee Watson – NV State Assembly, District 22
Howard Watts III – NV State Assembly, District 15
Darrin Q. Camilleri – MI State Representative, District 23
Abdul El-Sayed – MI Governor
Ben Jealous – MD Governor
Barbara Bessette – MT State Representative, District 24
Malcolm Kenyatta – PA State Representative, District 181
JA Moore – SC State Representative, District 15
John Bucy – TX State Representative, District 136
Mike Collier – TX Lt. Governor
Mary Gonzalez – TX State Representative, District 75
Eric Johnson – TX State Representative, District 100
Justin Nelson – TX Attorney General
Mark Phariss – TX State Senate, District 8
James Talarico – TX State Representative, District 52
Lupe Valdez – TX Governor
Mona Das – WA State Senate, District 47
Sarah Godlewski – WI State Treasurer

Vania Guevara – AZ-Phoenix City Council, District 5
Jessica Gutierrez – IL-Alderman District 30
Tim Swager II – IN-St. Joseph County Commission, Place-1
Mary Lou Alvarez – TX-District Judge (45)
Cynthia Chapa – TX-District Judge (288)
Monique Diaz – TX-District Judge (150)
Lina Hidalgo – TX-Harris County Judge

Opportunity First PAC Leadership Team
Maya Rupert, Executive Director. Maya will direct the efforts of Opportunity First and provide strategic leadership to advance the mission of the organization. She will focus on developing programming to help maximize the impact and reach of candidate support, serving as a political and policy advisor, and managing the organization. Prior to joining Opportunity First, Maya worked for the Center for Reproductive Rights where she was the Senior Director for Policy and Managing Director of its Washington, DC office. Prior to joining the Center, she served as a Senior Advisor to Secretary Castro at HUD. Maya earned her B.A. from U.C. Santa Barbara and her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley. She clerked for the Honorable Eric L. Clay of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jeremy Gold, Finance Director. Jeremy will ensure that Opportunity First has the financial strength to support a deep bench of candidates, without accepting corporate donations. He is the President of The Gold Standard, LLC, a premier full-service political development and advocacy firm, and has 15 years of Democratic fundraising experience for U.S. senators, congressmen and governors. A native of San Antonio, TX, Jeremy has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jennifer Fiore, Senior Advisor for Communications and Digital. Jennifer will serve as an advisor on all policy matters related to the media and serve as the chief spokesperson for the PAC, and oversee Opportunity First’s digital program. She served as the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she led digital and strategic communications for Secretary Castro. Jennifer’s work spans journalism, technology, government and nonprofits. Jennifer has a B.A. from The Evergreen State College and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University.

Matthew Jones, Senior Political Advisor. Matthew has been tapped as Senior Political Advisor for Opportunity First, for which he will identify, recruit and fund promising young progressive candidates across the country. He is a San Antonio native and longtime Castro aide with extensive experience organizing progressive campaigns for local, state and federal office. Matthew previously served in senior-level positions in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Texas State Legislature in Austin.

About Opportunity First
At Opportunity First, we believe it’s time to invest in the future. Our mission is straightforward but powerful: build and support a nationwide bench of young, progressive Democrats. Democrats can only succeed in 2018 and beyond if we compete everywhere and if we invest in talented candidates who can become the local, state and national leaders of tomorrow who believe in expanding opportunity for all Americans. Follow Opportunity first on Twitter and Facebook.