MEET OUR TEAM
Katie manages the day-to-day operations of Progressive Takeover and charts the strategy of our electoral programs. Investing at the state and local level is one of the best investments Democrats can make, and she is excited to lead an organization doing such important work. Katie has held a variety of strategic and programmatic roles within politics, specifically campaigns, and she specializes in data and analytics. Katie received her Honors B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs from Marquette University.
Will supports the continuing operations of Progressive Takeover. Specifically, he develops relationships with supporters through ongoing communication and helps grow awareness of our mission on social media platforms. He is excited to pursue his passions for media, digital communication, and grassroots organizing with a group whose mission is crucial to our country’s progress. Previously, Will managed a Wisconsin state assembly campaign and held internships or fellowships at a newspaper, an advertising agency, and a Washington, D.C. public affairs firm. Will earned his B.A. in Political Science, Journalism, and Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a minor in French.
State Director, North Carolina
Gina, an adopted North Carolinian, is passionate about empowering communities to elevate themselves through organizing and making long-lasting systemic change. Her passion for social change led her to the NC Democratic Coordinated Campaign in 2016. After the election, she again took to the streets organizing marches and rallies and joined Progressive Turnout Project’s team. “2018 is more than an election year; rather, it is the moment we the people push back for our values, loved ones, and communities. This isn’t just a ‘take back’ this is a Progressive ‘TAKEOVER!’” Gina received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Richmond.
State Director, Wisconsin
Matt has been working in electoral politics since 2014. In 2015 he worked for an environmental group in Iowa to encourage Iowans to caucus for clean energy. In 2016 he worked on State Senate races in Iowa, then for the DFL State House Caucus in Minnesota. He believes that change and progress takes place at a local level, and is excited for the opportunity to help Takeover Wisconsin. Matt graduated with a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy from Augsburg College.
Deputy State Director, North Carolina
Arsidez is based in Raleigh, North Carolina and works directly with our Progressive Takeover field team. He has called North Carolina home since 2012 after moving to Mars Hill University; where he received his B.A. in Political Science. Immediately after graduating, in 2016, Arsidez found his passion for political grassroots organizing working as a Campus Organizer for the NC Coordinated Campaign in Greenville, NC. The amazing experiences Arsidez shared with his team at East Carolina University would propel him for the next few years working with the LGBTQ Democrats in NC and a leading human rights organization. Most recently, Arsidez was fighting to turn environmental values into national, state and local priorities as a Field Organizer with a major environmental group. He’s excited to take campus organizing to the next level and strike a blow to Donald Trump and the GOP.
Regional Director, Milwaukee
Andy was born and raised in Milwaukee’s Southwest suburbs. His first campaign job came in his junior year of high school, when he interned on the Rob Zerban campaign in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. After graduating from Charles B. Whitnall (Andy’s favorite Milwaukee political figure) High School, Andy continued his political work, and throughout his 3 years in school, Andy worked on Capitol Hill and on several more campaigns.
In his spare time, Andy works extensively with Milwaukee’s chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and is excited at the idea of bringing municipal socialism back to Milwaukee. Andy is excited to bring his experience to Progressive Takeover and help flip some state legislative seats this November
Regional Director, Madison
Tyson has worked on national, state, and congressional campaigns in Iowa and Wisconsin. He has been an organizer, Field Director, and Organizing Director on multiple campaigns and passionate about empowering folks at the local level to bring about change. A Wisconsin native, he understands first hand how important State and local elections are, and is excited to be heading our outreach efforts for the central and southwest regions of the State as Regional Director.
Regional Director, Green Bay
Born in Milwaukee and raised in Oconomowoc, Matthew’s family has a deep history in Wisconsin politics dating back to his great-grandfather’s service as a Chairman on the Sheboygan County Board during the Great Depression. After graduating with a B.A. in History from the University of Notre Dame, Matthew taught History at the high school level and later managed at Notre Dame’s conference center and hotel, where he became an advocate for workers.
He returned to Milwaukee and earned his M.A. in History from Marquette University in 2018. He believes that grassroots engagement empowers voters to advocate for structural change and fight for social justice at the polls, at the workplace, and in their communities. Matthew’s commitment to education, to Wisconsin, and to social justice brought him to Progressive Takeover where he is the Regional Director for Northeast Wisconsin.
We have ambitious plans for 2018, and we’ll be hiring field staff all over the country. For those with political or organizing experience, we’ll have opportunities for management and leadership roles. For those new to politics, we have roles for you too! If you care about your community and our nation and know you want to get off the sideline, please join us!
We are targeting states with unfairly gerrymandered districts, instances where Democrats have a real opportunity to flip the chamber, and places where we are excited about the bold progressives running for state office. In 2018 we are focusing our efforts on Wisconsin and North Carolina.
During Scott Walker’s failed presidential bid, he claimed that Wisconsin was an example of what can happen when true conservative policies are implemented. The results have been devastating for Wisconsin families. The GOP controls the State Assembly, the State Senate, and the Governor’s Mansion. We invested in two State Senate special elections in 2017, both of which resulted in Democratic victories in “red” areas of Wisconsin. We’re now only two seats away from flipping the State Senate and establishing a firewall against Scott Walker’s agenda!
Once considered a battleground state, Republican gerrymandering has been detrimental for fair representation in Wisconsin. In 2012, despite winning only 49% of the two-party statewide vote, Republicans won 60 of the 99 seats in the Wisconsin Assembly. In 2016, their majority grew to 64.
Despite earning fewer votes than Democrats in 2012, the Republicans’ aggressive gerrymandering allowed them to gain far more seats in the State Assembly.
The North Carolina General Assembly is home to some of the most extreme gerrymandering in the country. In 2017, after a six-year battle, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed a federal district court decision finding that 28 state legislative districts had been subject to an illegal racial gerrymander. Partisan gerrymandering is not illegal, but racial gerrymandering is. It is overwhelmingly clear that Republicans in the General Assembly view voters of color as a political threat. We believe the people of North Carolina deserve a government that values everyone’s vote, not just their own voters.
Under the direction of North Carolina State Director Gina Cruz and Deputy Arsidez Leon, our North Carolina program harnesses the energy of youth activists across the Tar Heel State. Our goal is to excite democratic participation among the Rising American Electorate (RAE), which consists of single women, people of color, and millennials.
We are also excited to partner with activists on college campuses across the state. These energized young people are leading the fight to take back the General Assembly in areas from coastal NC all the way to the Appalachian mountains.
The upper figure shows North Carolina’s congressional districts and the lower figure shows the percent of the population that is white or black alone within those congressional districts.
This year we are focused on North Carolina and Wisconsin, but there are so many opportunities for progressives in 2018. Here are the other key states we are watching:
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