Bernie 2020
March 7, 2020

NEWS: Bernie 2020 Announces Phillip Agnew as Senior Advisor

WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Presidential campaign on Saturday announced that organizer and artist Phillip Agnew will serve as a Senior Advisor to the campaign.  He previously served the campaign as National Surrogate.

“I am excited to welcome Phillip to our team,” Sanders said. “He is a gifted organizer and one of his generation’s most critical voices on issues of race and inequity. He has and will continue to push me and this movement to deliver on what is owed to Black people who have yet to experience reciprocity in this country.”

“Black people - all Black people - are a central part of our movement.  Our platform is about righting what is wrong in this country,” Agnew said. “Our campaign is inclusive of Black people across age, class, and gender lines.  We've come a long way and more work to do.  I’m excited to continue to grow and amplify  the work of our Black organizing department.”

Agnew co-founded the Dream Defenders following the murder of Trayvon Martin and has been dubbed “one of this generation’s leading voices.” He has been recognized by EBONY and The Root as one of the 100 most influential African Americans. Phillip first emerged as a national activist when he organized students from FAMU, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College in the creation of the Student Coalition for Justice in response to the Martin Lee Anderson case. His community organizing and art have been highlighted on MSNBC, BET, PBS, the Huffington Post, USA Today, the Guardian, Democracy Now, ESSENCE, TruthOut and Time Magazine.

The platform put forth by Bernie 2020 addresses the stark inequalities in this country that disproportionately impact Black Americans. From proposals like Medicare for All, Fair Banking for All, and canceling student debt, Black people often bear the heaviest financial burdens that would be relieved with these policies. Bernie’s unwavering commitment to Justice and Safety for All will mean an administration dedicated to righting the wrongs of institutional racism and ending the so-called “War on Drugs”. Instead of spending $80 billion a year on jails and incarceration, we will invest in jobs and education.

Bernie 2020
May 31, 2019
Sarah Ford
Joe Calvello

NEWS: Bernie 2020 Announces California Staff Hires

WASHINGTON – Bernie 2020 on Friday announced its first slate of hires in California. The hires highlight the campaign’s commitment to work for every vote in the state, building a regional infrastructure to support the work of the nearly 400,000 supporters who have already taken action.

“We are building a talented and diverse team in the Golden State that understands people power is the key to our success here,” said Campaign Manager Faiz Shakir. "We will empower a statewide volunteer army that will help Bernie win the California primary and transform our government into one that will work for all of us, not wealthy campaign contributors.”
Staff Profiles:

    * Shelli Jackson - California State Coordinator: A Central Valley native, Jackson has dedicated her career to voter education, outreach, and statewide campaign work. Jackson’s twelve years of professional experience demonstrates a deep understanding of the nexus between community organizing and political activism. With over five years of campaign leadership, Jackson led the charge on various successful but highly contentious Assembly races. In addition to her campaign experience, Jackson served as a Senior Advisor to the California State Legislature.

    * Susie Shannon - California Political Director: Shannon has worked as a senior advisor, campaign director and labor consultant for over 14 years on statewide and local campaigns in California. She is an elected member of the Democratic National Committee from California, where she has served since 2016. She has also served on the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party since 2007. In 2015, Shannon spearheaded legislation to place California on a Housing First model for homelessness, which passed the California legislature and was signed by the Governor in September 2016.

    * Melissa Byrne - California Grassroots Director: A Riverside County native, Byrne is an experienced leader at both the intersection of offline/online organizing and issue and electoral advocacy. She’s a nationally recognized leader in the work to make college free and end student loan debt. After serving as Bernie 2016 New Hampshire Digital Director, she became a leader in the work to hold Trump accountable from coast to coast by running strategic direct actions, including the largest sustained action in the Senate to elevate the voices of survivors and allies opposing Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Byrne has worked extensively with Ultraviolet, MoveOn, and CredoAction.

    * Sand Brim - California Policy Advisor: Brim is a longtime progressive activist. Brim has served in various senior roles including, Director of Strategic Campaigns, Senior Advisor, and speech writer for both the California Nurses Association and National Nurses United. Prior to that Brim was an attorney specializing in child abuse cases.

    * Daniel Andalon - Los Angeles Regional Director: Andalon  has dedicated his career to public service through government affairs and community relations. During the summer of 2016, Andalon led a team in Central Valley California on a half a million dollar campaign for a bond measure in Tulare County and then helped elect Mayor Tim Sandoval in Pomona, later that year. In 2017, he served as the Deputy Campaign Manager for the Jimmy Gomez for Congress, ultimately getting him elected. Most recently, as campaign manager, he led a successful bid for State Senate for now Senator Bob Archuleta.

    * Robert Dempsey - San Diego Regional Director: Dempsey is a veteran Democratic campaigner with a 20-year history of working on behalf of Democrats and organizations throughout the country. In 2018, Dempsey oversaw the Congressional Campaign Program for the California Democratic Party, flipping a total of seven seats – including every seat in Orange County – blue. In 2016, Dempsey served as the State Director in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Jersey for the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders, at the conclusion of the campaign he returned to California to run Doug Applegate’s congressional campaign against Republican incumbent Darrell Issa in CA-49, bringing the first-time candidate to within 1,621 votes of unseating the wealthiest member of Congress.

    * Jane Kim - Bay Area Regional Director: Kim is a proven progressive leader who has fought to expand access to affordable housing, protect renters, close the income gap, and improve public schools. From 2011-2019 Kim served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, representing a diverse district in San Francisco, including the lowest-income residents and the wealthiest zip code in the City. Prior to being a Supervisor, Kim was a community organizer at Chinatown Community Development Center, a civil rights attorney at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and served as President of the San Francisco Board of Education. Kim is the daughter of immigrants from South Korea.

    * Samuel Sukaton - Inland Empire and Orange County Regional Director: Sukaton was previously Associate Director of Inland Empire United, successfully electing more than a dozen municipal candidates across San Bernardino and Riverside in 2018. He's also consulted with Annie Cho for Los Angeles City Council and the California League of Conservation Voters.  Prior to his work at Inland Empire United, Sukaton worked as a Southern California political organizer with SEIU-UHW, GOTV Director for Eloise Gomez Reyes' 2016 campaign for the California State Assembly, an anti-fracking and fair trade organizer with the Sierra Club from 2014-16, and a field organizer with Sandra Fluke for California State Senate in 2014.


Bernie 2020
May 30, 2019
Carli Stevenson

New Hampshire for Bernie Announces Political and Field Hires

MANCHESTER, N.H. – New Hampshire for Bernie announced Wednesday a new round of senior hires in the political and field departments. The senior hires represent new and returning campaign staff with extensive experience in progressive electoral politics, community organizing, issue advocacy and local, state, and federal government work. The announcements come on the heels of a successful two-day swing through the state by Senator Sanders, reaching 2400 Granite Staters in 48 hours.

"We are building a robust and diverse team who brings a wealth of experience not just in New Hampshire politics, but in the deep community organizing and field work necessary to win the Granite State. We’re taking nothing for granted, and look forward to talking and listening to the voters of New Hampshire to win their support for Bernie on Primary Day," said Joe Caiazzo, State Director.
Here are the details:               

Will Bateson, Political Director

A nine-year veteran of the US Marine Corps Reserve, Will comes to the campaign from Sen. Maggie Hassan's Nashua senate office where he handled military, veteran, and first responders outreach and constituent services. Will brings more than seven years of democratic campaign experience to the team. He previously worked as an Assistant to Mayor Donchess in Nashua, and in 2016 managed Dan Weeks’s campaign for Executive Council in NH's 5th district.

Mo Baxley, Political Outreach Coordinator

Mo has been an activist and leader in the LGBT and progressive communities for 30 years at the local, state, and national level. As the former Executive Director of NH Freedom to Marry, she led the successful fight for marriage equality in the Granite State, the first to pass marriage equality at the legislative level without the threat of judicial action. A former state representative, she has been a city and county Democratic Party Chair and was most recently a Second Vice Chair of the New Hampshire  Democratic Party. She was a Sanders delegate to the 2016 DNC Convention.

Suraj Budathoki, Political Outreach Coordinator

A leader in New Hampshire’s New American community, Suraj is a founding member and previous Executive Director of Building Community in NH (formerly known as Bhutanese Community of NH), a community-based nonprofit serving refugee and immigrant populations in central NH. A former refugee from Bhutan, Suraj was expelled at age nine with his family during a government campaign of ethnic cleansing. He lived in a refugee camp in Nepal for 19 years before coming to the US in 2009. In addition to founding the International Campaign for Human Rights in Bhutan, Suraj serves as a member of the Conduct Board for the City of Manchester and as the NH delegate for the US Refugee Congress. He was honored as a member of the 2015 class of the Union Leader’s 40 Under Forty.

Sean Ward, Field Director

Sean is an accomplished grassroots specialist with experience in electoral and union organizing campaigns with six cycles of experience in seven different states. He most recently managed Working America’s midterm electoral program in Pennsylvania, netting an 89% win rate. A 2016 NH for Bernie veteran, Sean worked in the North Country as a Regional Field Director. He went on to work for the campaign in Nevada and Pennsylvania, and was part of the field leadership team that narrowly won Michigan by 1.42% in one of the greatest political upsets in Democratic primary history. In the 2016 general election, He served as the Deputy Field Director for the Nevada Democratic Party.

Caty Wagner, Deputy Field Director

A native New Englander, Caty comes to the campaign from NextGen America, where she served as a Regional Organizing Director for the Central Valley of California. She is an experienced community organizer focused primarily on immigrant rights and environmental issues, including helping to get a buffer zone of protection against pesticide spray around schools in California, and ban fracking near drinking water in the rural Central Valley community of Arvin. A former social worker, she previously worked in Haiti, Uganda and Colombia on issues of poverty, trafficking and human rights.                                             

Michael Ortiz, Deputy Field Director

An alumnus of Bernie 2016, Michael brings significant field experience in multi-candidate primary campaigns. He served in leadership roles on the campaigns of two historic candidates in Cook County, IL: Kevin Morrison, who defeated the Chair of the Illinois Republican Party to become the first openly LGBTQ County Commissioner, and Fanny Lopez Benitez, the first Latina Trustee in Hanover Park, IL. On Bernie 2016, he was a field organizer in Iowa, and Regional Field Director in Illinois. Most recently, Ortiz served as the Campaign Manager for Illinois State Senator Cristina Castro.


Bernie 2020
March 19, 2019
Arianna Jones
Sarah Ford

Bernie 2020 Announces National Staff Hires

WASHINGTON – Bernie 2020 today announced a slate of national staff supporting Sen. Sanders' campaign for president. The team brings a diverse and dynamic set of skills and experiences as political operatives, organizers and digital and communications strategists -- and will help lead an innovative, grassroots campaign to win the Democratic primary, defeat Donald Trump and transform American politics.

Full details below:
Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager
Faiz joins the campaign from the ACLU, where he served as the national political director, overseeing the organization’s Washington Legislative Office and State Advocacy and Policy departments. Prior to joining the ACLU, Shakir worked as one of the most senior advisers to former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Shakir also served as Senior Adviser and Director of Digital Media for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and was a founding member and editor-in-chief of

Rene Spellman, Deputy Campaign Manager
René Spellman joins the campaign from Creative Artists Agency (CAA), where she harnessed the power and reach of the entertainment industry to create positive social change by connecting clients to philanthropic and advocacy opportunities. Previously, she served as Campaign Manager for Jim Barksdale for U.S. Senate and a New York State Assembly race. An alumnae of Bernie 2016, she served as the campaign's National Director of Traveling Press and Media Logistics during the primary season before becoming National Director of Surrogates during the convention.

René began her career in politics as a Youth Vote Director on the 2008 Obama for America presidential campaign and went on to become a Senior Advisor in Florida during the 2012 re-election campaign. Between campaign cycles, René was Vice President of Youth Marketing and Entertainment at a global public relations agency, Vice President of Local Marketing at a music marketing and management consulting firm, and a political appointee during President Barack Obama's first term in the White House Council for Community Solutions, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Ari Rabin-Havt, Chief of Staff
Ari Rabin-Havt will serve as Chief of Staff, transitioning into the role from Sanders’ Senate office where he held the title of Deputy Chief of Staff. Prior to working for Sanders, Ari hosted The Agenda, which aired nationally on SiriusXM, and served as Executive Vice President of Media Matters for America. Ari previously served as an advisor to Al Gore and former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. He is the author of several books including Lies Incorporated: The World of Post Truth Politics.

Analilia Mejia, Political Director
Before joining Sanders’ team as the National Political Director, Analilia Mejia led grassroots, labor and community building efforts in New Jersey and across the Midwest for various unions and grassroots organizations, including; SEIU, Unite Here, Workers United and UFCW. During her tenure at the Working Families Party, Analilia successfully led the effort to elect progressive candidates and pass progressive policies such as a $15 Minimum Wage, guaranteed Earned Sick Days for workers and Automatic Voter Registration amongst other policies adopted in New Jersey. Her work has been recognized by various leaders, organizations and news outlets, and in 2015 she was honored by President Obama as a “Champion of Change." She is the daughter of Colombian and Dominican immigrants, a mother of two, and an activist through and through.

Sarah Badawi, Deputy Political Director
Prior to joining Sen. Sanders’ campaign team last fall as a Senior Advisor, Sarah Badawi served as Legislative Affairs Director for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee where she specialized in turning popular opinion into legislative momentum for progressive priorities. In 2016, she was recognized by Fusion Media as one of the 30 women under 30 changing the presidential election for her work transforming the conversation on higher education resulting in a majority of democratic lawmakers embracing the goal of making college debt-free for everyone. During her time with the PCCC, Sarah spearheaded legislative strategy while working closely with members of Congress, federal candidates, and senior political staff to elevate an increasingly progressive Democratic platform. Sarah earned her bachelors from the University of Florida and her JD from the George Washington Law School.

Claire Sandberg, National Organizing Director
Claire Sandberg joins Bernie 2020 as National Organizing Director. In 2016 she was the Bernie campaign's Distributed Organizing Director. The Bernie 2016 distributed program empowered volunteers to make over 85 million phone calls, send 10 million peer to peer text messages, and host over 80,000 individual events. In 2018 Claire served as Deputy Campaign Manager for Abdul El-Sayed in his gubernatorial run in Michigan, and worked for Ady Barkan's organization, Be A Hero.

Josh Orton, Policy Director
Most recently, Josh worked as senior advisor in Sen. Sanders' U.S. Senate office. Previously, Josh served as longtime senior advisor and policy director to Sen. Russ Feingold, and as senior legal advisor to NARAL Pro-Choice America, focused on judicial nominations including Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. Josh was also press secretary and progressive outreach director for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, serving when Democrats regained Senate control in 2006. He is originally from Madison, Wisconsin, and received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Heather Gautney, Senior Policy Advisor
Heather Gautney is senior policy advisor on Bernie 2020 and a professor of sociology at Fordham University. She was the Executive Director of Our Revolution, and prior to that served as a senior policy advisor on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, where Sen. Sanders is the ranking member. Dr. Gautney was a senior researcher for Bernie 2016, and legislative fellow in Sanders' Senate office from 2012-2013. She has written and edited books, opinion essays, and academic articles on US politics, social movements, social inequality, and workforce issues, including an analysis of the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign, entitled Crashing the Party.

Arianna Jones, Communications Director
Arianna is an alum of Bernie 2016 where she served as the deputy communications director. After 2016, Arianna worked as a senior vice president at Revolution Messaging, leading earned media strategy and public relations campaigns for progressive clients and campaigns. She most recently served as the senior communications advisor for Friends of Bernie Sanders. Prior to joining the campaign in ‘16, Arianna spent four years as a booking, segment and field producer for MSNBC's The Ed Show, elevating voices of the labor movement, progressive leadership, and the middle class through multi-platform storytelling.

Sarah Ford, Deputy Communications Director
Sarah is an alum of Bernie 2016 where she served as the national deputy press secretary. Since 2016, she worked at BerlinRosen Public Affairs, focusing on communications strategy and public relations for leading labor unions, and served as the communications director for Cynthia Nixon's bid for governor of New York. Prior to launch, she also worked as a communications advisor for Friends of Bernie Sanders.

Briahna Joy Gray, National Press Secretary
Briahna Gray is a former attorney, columnist and senior politics editor at The Intercept. Prior to joining The Intercept, Briahna practiced law at a boutique litigation firm in New York City and was a contributing editor to Current Affairs Magazine. She received a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School in 2011, and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 2007.

David Sirota, Senior Communications Adviser & Speechwriter
David Sirota is a senior adviser and speechwriter for Senator Sanders’ presidential campaign. Prior to that, he has been an award-winning investigative journalist at Newsweek/IBT and Capital & Main; a newspaper columnist at The Guardian; and a radio host in Denver. He has previously served as a media strategist for Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont during his Senate race and for Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. In the early 2000s, Sirota also served as Sanders’ U.S. House press secretary, as the spokesperson for Democrats on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, and as the Director of Strategic Communications for the Center for American Progress.

Georgia Parke, Senior Social Media Strategist
Georgia Parke joins the campaign as Senior Social Media Strategist after serving in Bernie’s Senate office since 2016. As Digital Director in the Senate office she managed Sanders’ social media pages with a total 16 million followers, including his Facebook page, which reached followers 3.9 billion times and garnered more than 700 million video views in 2018 alone. She graduated from Duke University with a degree in political science.

Tim Tagaris, Senior Advisor 
Tim Tagaris served as the Digital Fundraising Director for Senator Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. As the owner of Aisle 518 Strategies, Tagaris’ team has helped drive record-setting small-dollar fundraising for organizations like Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, VoteVets and the campaigns of Senator Chris Murphy and Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial campaign in Georgia among others.

Robin Curran, Digital Fundraising Director
During the 2018 election cycle, she served as Email Director at the Democratic National Committee where she led the team to reach record-breaking online fundraising numbers. Before that, Robin worked with a variety of progressive campaigns and organizations, including Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. She was one of three people dedicated to running the national email and online fundraising program, which brought in a total of $218 million from more than 8 million donations.


ed. note: Following allegations of sexual harrassment and gender discrimination on Sanders' 2016 campaign (+) and the current emphasis on diversity in staffing, the campaign was no doubt pleased by an article such as this:
Natalie Gontcharova.  "Exclusive: Bernie Sanders Campaign Announces 10 New Women Hires."  Refinery29, March 19, 2019.

Bernie 2020
March 12, 2019
Sarah Ford

Bernie 2020 Announces First Iowa and New Hampshire Hires

WASHINGTON – Bernie 2020 announced Tuesday the first slate of early state hires in Iowa and New Hampshire. The senior hires represent new and returning campaign staff with extensive experience in progressive electoral politics, issue advocacy and local, state and federal government work.

"We are building an unprecedented campaign operation alongside millions of volunteers dedicated to a political system that works for everyone. Iowa and New Hampshire helped launch the political revolution in 2016 and now, with the help of our incredible organizers and political leaders in the first two primary and caucus states, we will finish that revolution and fundamentally transform this country." said Faiz Shakir, campaign manager.

Here are the details:

Misty Rebik, State Director
Misty was the campaign manager of Cathy Glasson’s run for governor of Iowa. She comes to Bernie 2020 from One Iowa, where she led LGBTQ+ Rights and Education work in the Iowa City Corridor. Misty is a longtime Iowa organizer focused on workers' rights, LGBTQ+ health and leadership development, and income inequality. As regional director of Strategic Partnerships & Development at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, she helped launch the first-ever transgender care program with Planned Parenthood in Iowa. Previously, she also served as co-founder and founding director of Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa.
Jess Mazour, Political Director
Jess served as  lead organizer on the Farm & Environment team at Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement for more than six years. She worked with rural Iowans to build a food and agricultural system that works for farmers, eaters, workers, and the environment, successfully stopped nearly 100 factory farms from building in Iowa and helped to pass factory farm moratorium resolutions in 23 counties across the state. Jess also helped introduce a Moratorium Bill in the Iowa Senate and House chambers with nearly 20 co-sponsors and build and lead a 10-state coalition of farmers and ranchers to develop a new narrative around our food system.

Evan Burger, State Caucus Director
Evan Burger joins the campaign from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) where he coordinated their political work as a Senior Organizer. Prior to that, Evan served as the Iowa Advance Director for Bernie 2016

Pete D'Alessandro, Senior Advisor
Pete is a veteran of Iowa and national politics and Bernie 2016 alumni servings in multiple capacities as Iowa State Campaign Coordinator, Oklahoma State Director, Senior Adviser in Nebraska, Indiana State Director, Director of Northern California and the National Convention Delegate Director. Previously, he’s worked for Leonard Boswell, Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver amongst others, as well as presidential campaigns for Bill Bradley, Dick Gephardt, Tom Vilsack and  Barack Obama in Iowa.  

Joe Caiazzo, State Director
Bernie 2016 alumni Joe Caiazzo joins the campaign after managing Sheldon Whitehouse’s successful 2018 Senate re-election campaign. Caiazzo previously served as Political Director in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for Sanders’ first White House bid, later working to elect Hillary Clinton in the general election as Rhode Island State Director.
Carli Stevenson, Deputy State Director and Communications Director
Carli Stevenson, a native of Hampton, New Hampshire, joins the campaign from the online advocacy group, Demand Progress. An alum of Bernie 2016, she served as Deputy Communications Director in NH, before moving on to communications and political roles in Minnesota, Ohio, and Indiana. Carli comes from a long background in labor organizing with UNITE HERE, AFSCME and Massachusetts Nurses Association, as well as roles at the New Hampshire Democratic Party, Jackie Cilley for State Senate, 2010, and Every Child Matters in New Hampshire.
Kurt Ehrenberg, New Hampshire Senior Advisor
Kurt is a longtime resident of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and alumni of Bernie 2016 as the state’s political director. Previously, he worked as the political and legislative director of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO and regional staff at the Concord-based Sierra Club.