General Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Toyota North America
Bio: Adrienne Trimble is General Manager, Diversity & Inclusion at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA) located in Erlanger, Kentucky. She is responsible for leading diversity & inclusion strategies and initiatives across Toyota North American manufacturing and engineering companies. She also leads the execution of Toyota’s North American Diversity Strategy across affiliate companies. In June 2015, Ms. Trimble relocated to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in support of Toyota’s headquarters consolidation to Plano, Texas.
From 2005 – 12, Ms. Trimble was Supplier Diversity Manager for TEMA’s Purchasing Division, where she directed the company’s processes for developing productive supplier relationships with diverse businesses across the country. TEMA received numerous accolades under Ms. Trimble’s direction, including Corporation of the Year by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) in 2011 as well as Corporation of the Year honors from the organization’s affiliates in Arkansas (2012), Michigan (2009 and 2010), South Central Ohio (2010 and 2011), Southwest Texas (2007-11) and Tri-State KY/IN/WV (2007-11).
Her board and committee leadership have included NMSDC and several of its regional Councils, and she currently represents Toyota on the executive committee of the Billion Dollar Roundtable. She was named Advocate of the Year by the Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council in 2012. In recognition of her efforts to advance economic development for diverse suppliers, Rainbow PUSH presented Ms. Trimble with both their Corporate Leader Award and Women in Leadership Award in 2011.
Ms. Trimble’s first position at Toyota was with TEMA’s Human Resources department in 2000, where her responsibilities included development of the company’s recruitment strategy. Prior to Toyota, she held leadership positions in human resources with Provident Bank, Supervalue and Blue Chip Broadcasting.
A graduate of Wilberforce University, Ms. Trimble earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Organization Management. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees for her alma mater in 2014.
Head of US Government Relations, Visa
Bio: Bobby Thomson is Head of US Government Relations at Visa Inc., a position he assumed in May 2013. His responsibilities include advancing Visa’s legislative and public policy priorities, engaging key stakeholder groups in government and the private sector, as well as providing leadership over all federal and state lobbying activities for Visa within the United States.
Before joining Visa, Bobby was with American Express Company for twelve years where he served as Vice President, Federal Government Affairs. In that role, he was the Company’s lead financial services lobbyist responsible for financial services policy issues that came before the U.S. Congress and the Administration. He also had responsibility for the American Express political action committee as well as the company’s political affairs program.
Prior to that, he was Senior Assistant to the Governor of Illinois where he handled federal policy issues for the State of Illinois in its Washington, DC office. Mr. Thomson also worked for Beneficial Corporation, and its successor, Household International, in a variety of public policy and corporate affairs positions.
Thomson holds a MBA from the George Washington University, where he graduated with honors. He holds a BA from DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, and is a graduate of DePauw’s Management Fellows Program.
Thomson serves on the Board of Trustees of Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where he serves as Treasurer and is a member of the Executive Committee. He received an honorary BA from Illinois College in 2009.
Thomson is a member of the Exchequer Club of Washington, DC as well as the Government Relations Leadership Forum. He currently serves as Chairman of the Electronic Transactions Association Government Affairs Committee. He is a past member of the board of the Public Affairs Council in Washington, DC and is a past chairman of the Card Policy Council of the American Bankers Association.
A native of Jacksonville, IL, Bobby and his wife Erin have two children and reside in Arlington, VA.
Congressman, United States House of Representative
Bio: In November of 2014, the people of Florida’s 26th Congressional District elected Carlos Curbelo to represent them in the 114th Congress. Carlos is a South Florida native. He lives with his wife and two young daughters in the Kendall area, which he has called home for twenty years. At 36, Curbelo is one of the youngest Members of the US House of Representatives.
Carlos was born in Miami on March 1, 1980, to Carlos and Teresita Curbelo, Cuban exiles who fled Fidel Castro’s tyranny in the 1960s. He attended John G. DuPuis Elementary in Hialeah and later Miami’s Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. Carlos subsequently enrolled in the University of Miami where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration while majoring in Political Science. In 2011, he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration also from UM.
In 2002, just months out of college, Carlos founded a public and media relations firm that did work for South Florida and international companies. As a small business executive he met the challenges of meeting payroll, balancing budgets, and building teams with success.
In 2009, he was named State Director for US Senator George LeMieux and was responsible for overseeing staff in seven offices throughout the state and advising the Senator on Latin-American policy and Hispanic issues. In 2010, he was appointed by Florida’s Governor to the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), a federally mandated board tasked with prioritizing local transportation and infrastructure projects. Carlos is also the co-founder of Centre Court Charities, a non-profit organization that runs basketball leagues for high school students during the summer months.
In November of 2010, Carlos was elected to serve on the Miami Dade County School Board. Miami Dade County Public Schools is the fourth largest school district in the country. Shortly after being elected, he was the only School Board Member in the state asked to serve on the Governor’s Education Transition Team where he was a champion for reform, school choice, and equity in funding. On the School Board, Carlos was also a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility, parental involvement, and transparency in the district’s operations.
Marrying Cecilia Lowell in 2006, Carlos settled his family in Kendall where he has lived since 1995. The couple’s first child, Sylvie Marie, was born In October of 2009, and their second Carolina, in May of 2012.
Mayor, Miami-Dade County
Bio: Carlos A. Gimenez is the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, the largest County in Florida. As Miami-Dade’s highest-ranking elected official and chief administrator, Mayor Gimenez is responsible for the leadership and management of an organization with over 26,000 employees and an annual budget of approximately $7 billion.
Mayor Gimenez brings nearly forty years of public service experience to the post. He has a clearly defined governing philosophy based on transparency, efficiency and fiscal responsibility.
In his first year as Mayor, he championed and secured approval from the Board of County Commissioners for the largest tax cut in County history. That year, County property taxes were reduced 12 percent. Mayor Gimenez has continued to consistently hold the line on tax increases and to date, the average homeowner has saved approximately $1,000 in property taxes over the past four years, while collectively Miami-Dade tax payers have saved nearly $1 billion.
Mayor Gimenez is also focused on creating a fair regulatory environment that will stimulate job creation, expand international trade, and attract businesses and industries to diversify Miami-Dade County’s economy. He advocates for Miami-Dade County residents of all ages, especially senior citizens and youth.
Prior to first being elected Mayor in 2011 after a Special Election and again in 2012 to a four-year term, Mayor Gimenez served on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners for seven years. He was first elected in 2004 and subsequently reelected for a second term without opposition in 2008. As Commissioner for District 7, he represented the City of Miami, the Village of Key Biscayne, the City of Coral Gables, the City of South Miami, the Village of Pinecrest, as well as unincorporated areas. He also served as Chairman of the Government Operations Committee and Chairman of the Regional Transportation Committee which oversaw Miami-Dade County’s transportation systems.
From May 2000 to January 2003, Mayor Gimenez was Manager of the City of Miami and was credited with helping restore financial stability and integrity to that organization. As Miami’s chief administrative officer, he was responsible for an annual budget of $500 million, a 4,000-employee workforce and provision of services to almost 400,000 residents. During his tenure as Manager, the City’s bond rating went from “junk” to investment grade and the tax rate dropped to its lowest level in 50 years. At the same time, Miami was able to establish more than $140 million in reserves.
Prior to his appointment as City Manager, Mayor Gimenez spent 25 years with the Miami Fire-Rescue Department, the last nine as Chief during which time he was credited with modernizing the Department and overseeing the largest reorganization in the department’s history. He is a former member of the International City Managers Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association, the Florida Fire Chiefs and the Fire Officers Association of Miami-Dade. Mayor Gimenez also served on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue Advisory Committee and as the Chair of FEMA’s Legal Issues Subcommittee.
Born in Cuba, Mayor Gimenez and his family moved to the United States in November 1960. A Miami-Dade County resident for over 50 years, Mayor Gimenez is a graduate of Christopher Columbus High School and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Barry University. In 1993, he completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Mayor Gimenez is married to Lourdes Portela. They have three children — Carlos, Julio and Lourdes — and six grandchildren.
Congressman, United States House of Representative
Bio: Elected in 2016, Darren Soto represents Central Florida in Congress. The 9th District includes all of Osceola and parts of Orange and Polk Counties, and is home to many of the people who make Orlando’s theme parks world-renowned, who grow more citrus and raise more cattle than anywhere else in the State, and who explore the farthest reaches of the galaxy from the Kennedy Space Center.
Darren entered public service to work for these hard-working Floridians. Serving for a decade in the Florida Legislature, he fought to create high paying jobs, increase access to higher education, and ensure clean water, land, and air for his constituents. Soto passed landmark legislation protecting families of fallen firefighters, giving victims of sexual assault more time to report their attackers, and allowing Dreamers to be admitted to the Florida Bar. He also secured $25 million to build a state of the art college campus in the District, helped provide $10 million to save Florida’s springs, and brought in $15 million for a high-tech sensors manufacturing facility.
The first Floridian of Puerto Rican descent to serve in Congress, Darren is proud to represent all the diverse people of the 9th District. Soto graduated from Rutgers University and George Washington University School of Law. His hobbies include playing guitar, pastel painting, and kayaking. Initially joining his local Orlando Young Democrats club to make friends, he was soon encouraged to run for the Florida House. At the age of 29, he ran, won, and has brought a sense of humility to public service ever since.
Senior Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation
Bio: David L. Cohen is Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation. David has a broad portfolio of responsibilities, including corporate communications, government and regulatory affairs, public affairs, legal affairs, corporate administration and community investment, and serves as senior counselor to the CEO. He also serves as Chief Diversity Officer for the company. Before assuming his role at Comcast in July of 2002, David served as a partner in and Chairman of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms in the country.
A native of New York, David graduated from Swarthmore College in 1977 with a B.A. and with a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (summa cum laude) in 1981. From January 1992 to April 1997, David served as Chief of Staff to the Honorable Edward G. Rendell, the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia. As detailed in the book A Prayer for the City, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger, David played a critical coordinating role in significant budgetary and financial issues, in economic development activities, in collective bargaining negotiations, and in a wide variety of other policy and operational issues relating to the city.
David serves as Chairman of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and its Executive Committee. David also serves as a member of the Trustee Board and the Executive Committee of Penn Medicine. In addition, David serves on both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the CEO Council for Growth. David serves as a national trustee of City Year and is Chair of its Governance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee. He also serves on the national board of the National Urban League and is Chair of its Audit Committee and is Chairman of the Corporate Advisory Board of the National Council of La Raza.
David has received numerous awards for his civic and charitable activities, including the Americanism Award of the Anti-Defamation League (1993), the American Red Cross Citizen of the Year Award (1999), the National Cable Television Association Vanguard Award for Leadership and Impact in the Cable Industry (2005), the President’s Volunteer Service Award (2007), the MS Society Hope Award (2007), the Drexel University Business Leader of the Year Award (2008), the National Urban League of Philadelphia Business Leader of the Year Award (2008), The William Way Community Center Amicus in Res Award (2009), the William Penn Award from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (2012), the Spirit of Asian American Award (2012) and the Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award (2012). David also was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Drexel University in 1997 and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Rider University in 2010.
David lives in Philadelphia with his wife and their two sons.
Senator , United States Senate (R-NV)
Bio: Dean Heller was sworn in to the United States Senate on May 9, 2011. Prior to Heller’s service in the Senate, he was the Representative for Nevada’s Second Congressional District. Senator Heller has also served as Nevada’s Secretary of State and in the Nevada State Assembly representing Carson City.
Since coming to Congress, Heller has fought for smaller government, the elimination of wasteful spending, and a balanced budget. He has been at the forefront of the fight for fiscal responsibility in Washington, voted against hundreds of billions in tax increases, and fought the expansion of government and out-of-control spending. Heller is also the only member of the Nevada delegation to vote against the Wall Street bailout. In addition, Heller has fought for fiscal policies that promote economic recovery and believes controlling government spending will create an environment where businesses can flourish and foster long-term economic growth.
Heller currently serves on the Committee on Finance; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; and the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Jobs and the economy continue to be Senator Heller’s top priorities. These committees allow him to address the housing crisis, Nevada’s rising veterans’ population, ensure that Nevada’s transportation needs are met, and foster a regulatory climate that does not impede interstate commerce. Appointment to these committees also gives both urban and rural Nevada an advocate for some of the most important issues facing Nevada’s communities. Whether working to encourage tourism or renewable energy development, these committees have direct influence over some of the most important issues for the state of Nevada.
Dean has provided strong leadership for Nevada on issues such as mining, public lands access, and wildfire prevention. In both the House and the Senate, Heller has fought to defend private property rights and promote balanced public land management. He continues to be successful in moving public lands legislation beneficial to local communities throughout Nevada.
Heller grew up with five brothers and sisters in Carson City, where he attended high school. In 1985 he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, specializing in finance and securities analysis. He worked as a stockbroker and as a broker/trader on the Pacific Stock Exchange prior to moving back to Carson City with his wife Lynne.
Dean and Lynne have been married for more than 30 years and currently reside in Smith Valley. They have four children: Hilary, Harris, Drew, and Emmy. Dean is the proud grandfather of Brielle and Zachary.
Erin Loos Cutraro
Co-Founder & CEO, She Should Run
Bio: Erin Loos Cutraro is Co-Founder & CEO of She Should Run, an organization working to increase the number of women and girls who see the possibilities in elected office. Born and raised in Missouri, Erin is now based in New York City where she develops and manages She Should Run’s strategic growth and development. Prior to founding She Should Run, Erin advised candidates at the national, state, and local level on a gendered-lens approach to running for public office and she worked in education. It’s Erin’s two young daughters who motivate her to spur the systematic and cultural change needed to unlock barriers to entry and support opportunities in for women and girls in elected leadership.
SVP, Sales Performance Executive, Southeast Division
Bio: Henry Agusti is the Sales Performance Executive for the Southeast Division. He is responsible for driving cross-division execution of our financial center sales transformation across 1,100 banking centers and 10,000 teammates.
Henry was previously a Sector Executive for the Affinity Banking business managing sales teams and endorsement partnerships across a variety of industries including travel, collegiate, and non-profit. Previous to that he spent many years in a variety of senior strategy roles including Consumer Bank Strategic Planning & Governance executive and head of Deposits Strategy & Competitive Intelligence. His first role with the bank was as a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch in 1997.
A native of West Palm Beach, FL, Henry has his undergraduate degree from George Washington University and his MBA from Columbia University. He lives in Charlotte with his wife Sandy, who also works for the bank, and their two children.
Henry currently serves on the board of Crisis Assistance Ministry, a Charlotte non-profit dedicated to providing assistance and advocacy for individuals and families in financial crisis, helping them move toward self-sufficiency.
Jaime Herrera Beutler
Congresswoman, U.S. House of Representatives (WA-03)
Bio: Jaime Herrera Beutler was first elected to Congress at the age of 31 to represent Southwest Washington’s 3rd District. Jaime was raised in Southwest Washington and brings legislative experience, an independent voice and a desire to serve her home community to Washington, DC.
Jaime is one of the youngest women currently serving in the U.S. Congress. National Journal included her on their list of “The Top 25 Most Influential Washington Women Under 35.” She is the first Hispanic in history to represent Washington state in the U.S. House of Representatives, and was named to MSNBC’s “Top 10 Latino Politicians to Watch.”
Growing up, Jaime graduated from Prairie High School and was member of the Prairie’s women’s basketball team. She also participated in activities like 4-H, fishing at Battle Ground Lake on opening day and swimming in the Lewis River. Jaime has a deep appreciation for what makes Southwest Washington special.
Jaime attended the University of Washington, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. During that time she held temporary positions in both the Washington State Senate and in Washington, D.C. at the White House Office of Political Affairs. Those opportunities sparked her interest in government and serving the people of Washington through public office.
From 2005-07 Jaime worked in Washington D.C. as a Senior Legislative Aide for Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane). Jaime served as the Congresswoman’s lead advisor on health care policy, education, veterans’ and women’s issues. In 2007, she was appointed to serve as a State Representative to Washington state’s 18th Legislative District by Democrat and Republican County Commissioners from Clark and Cowlitz Counties. She was reelected by 60% of the voters in 2008, and served in that position until being elected to Congress in 2010.
Jaime has developed a record of working productively with both Republicans and Democrats on important issues. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Jaime has successfully addressed local issues including maintenance of the Columbia River, dredging for small ports along the west coast, and securing resources for salmon recovery.
Jaime also spearheaded a bipartisan effort to protect Southwest Washington manufacturing and forest-product industry jobs from a costly government regulation known as the “Forest Roads Rule.”
Jaime is proud to represent her home of Southwest Washington in the U.S. Congress. She’s working hard to find solutions that will help restart Southwest Washington’s economy. Jaime is very clear about her mission: “I will do everything I can to get the folks of Southwest Washington back to work.”
Jaime, her husband Daniel Beutler, and her children Abigail and Ethan, reside in Battle Ground.
Chairman, House Financial Services Committee, United States House of Representatives (TX-05)
Bio: First elected to Congress in 2002, Jeb Hensarling is a recognized conservative leader in Congress and an outspoken advocate for economic opportunity, individual liberty, and religious freedom.
As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Jeb is a leader in promoting consumer choice, competitive markets, and smart regulation in our financial markets. He was the only member of Congress to have introduced comprehensive reform legislation for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the credit crisis, lauded in the media as “a concrete plan for fixing Fannie and Freddie.” Jeb was recognized by The New York Times for “leading the GOP Vanguard against the Bailout,” and was the only member of Congress to have introduced a legislative alternative to TARP during the heart of the credit crisis, which would have minimized taxpayer exposure and the politicization of the market.
A lifelong conservative dedicated to advancing the principals of faith, family, free enterprise, and freedom, Jeb was chosen by his congressional colleagues during the 112th Congress to chair the House Republican Conference—the fourth ranking leadership position in the House—and in the 110th Congress, he was elected chairman of the Republican Study Committee—the largest conservative caucus in the House. The Associated Press recently recognized Jeb’s consistency on conservative issues saying, “he made cutting federal spending, ending earmarks and reducing the size of government his priorities before the tea party came into existence.”
In recognition of his relentless fight to cut wasteful Washington spending and remove barriers to job growth, Jeb was appointed to serve on the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and was most recently appointed co-chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Prior to the 112th Congress, Jeb served as the number two Republican on the House Budget Committee—under Paul Ryan—and has consistently fought to reduce our debt and stop out-of-control Washington spending. He is a co-author of the “Spending, Deficit, and Debt Control Act,” a landmark budget reform bill that was heralded as the “gold standard” of budget enforcement legislation by a coalition of conservative groups, including the Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens United Against Government Waste, Citizens for a Sound Economy, and the National Taxpayer Union. Jeb also authored the “Spending Limit Amendment”—a Constitutional amendment that would limit federal spending to no more than 20% of the economy—the historic average since WWII. For his work to rein in wasteful Washington spending and put our country back on a fiscally sustainable path, the National Review Online dubbed him “Rep. Budget Reform,” and The Dallas Morning News called him a “truth teller” who “has become one of the most important GOP members of Congress.”
Born in Stephenville, Texas, Jeb grew up working on his father’s poultry farm near College Station where he learned the value of hard work. His values were further solodified through his participation in Boy Scouts, where he earned the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. He earned a degree in economics from Texas A&M University in 1979 and a law degree from the University of Texas in 1982. Before coming to Congress, Jeb spent ten years in private business, serving as an officer for a successful investment firm, a data management company, and an electric retail company.
Jeb and his wife, Melissa, are members of St. Michael and All Angels Church, and reside in Dallas with their two children.
Director, Founder & Chairman Emeritus, Swift Transportation Company
Bio: Jerry Moyes relocated to Phoenix in 1966 and began hauling steel with his one truck, forming a partnership with a steel importer called Common Market Dist. Corp., which he later merged with a company he founded, Swift Transportation. In 1986, he was named Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and President of the company and remained in that capacity through August 2016. Mr. Moyes is a graduate of Weber State College with a B.S. in Business and an honorary doctorate degree. Through the years he has also been involved in a number of other organizations, serving as vice president of the American Trucking Association and president of the Arizona Trucking Association. He served as a board member of the Truckload Carriers Association, a director for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and a member of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Brigham Young University.
Senator, Majority Whip, U.S. Senate (R-TX)
Bio: In 2014, Texans overwhelmingly re-elected Senator John Cornyn to represent them for a third term in the U.S. Senate. Since he was first elected in 2002, Sen. Cornyn has earned a national reputation as an articulate and powerful voice for Texas and conservative values in Washington.
Sen. Cornyn, a San Antonio native, strongly believes that we need more Texas solutions in Washington, which is why he consistently fights to bring the Lone Star State’s commonsense solutions to the federal level. He has committed himself to strengthening our national defense, securing our borders, repairing our broken immigration system and strengthening the economy by keeping taxes low, reducing federal spending, and fighting job-killing regulations from Washington bureaucrats.
Sen. Cornyn has also been a tireless advocate for Texas military personnel, veterans, and their families, and he has fought to provide these brave Americans with the best possible support, care, and benefits.
In addition to serving on the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees, Sen. Cornyn serves as the Majority Whip, a position that gives Texas a powerful seat at Congress’ leadership table. Sen. Cornyn has served the people of Texas for the last three decades, first as a district judge and later as a member of the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Attorney General.
He received his undergraduate degree from Trinity University, his law degree from St. Mary’s School of Law, and his LLM from the University of Virginia Law School. Sen. Cornyn married his wife Sandy in 1979, and they have two grown daughters.
Sr. Director, National Strategic Relationships, BP America
Bio: Kathleen M. Martinez is senior director of national strategic relationships and initiatives for BP America. Martinez is based at the company’s headquarters in Houston.
Martinez plays a central role in the advancement of BP America’s national external affairs efforts. Her responsibilities include leading key strategic relationships and oversight of the company’s U.S. commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, and veterans outreach efforts.
Martinez joined BP America in 2012 as manager of Houston community affairs. Martinez’s background includes more than 20 years of experience in public relations, corporate social responsibility, marketing and philanthropy, where she has demonstrated continued success in leadership, strategy development, community engagement and program execution.
Prior to joining BP, Martinez held a variety of leadership roles, including vice president of charitable giving for BBVA Compass, vice president of community affairs for the Wachovia-Wells Fargo Foundation, national multicultural marketing manager for Southwest Airlines, and press secretary to former U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes in Washington, D.C.
Martinez holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from the University of Texas, San Antonio, and is a certified corporate citizenship professional from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College.
Martinez is a member of the board of directors for the Houston Independent School District Foundation, serves as BP’s representative on the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Senior Executive Corporate Advisory Board, and trustee liaison for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. She is on the national Million Women Mentors Leadership Council, and the Texas Science and Engineering Fair Advisory Board. Martinez was named the 2014 Corporate Advocate of the Year by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and recently invited to be a fellow of the American Leadership Forum’s Class XLI.
Active in the community, Martinez volunteers at her son’s school in addition to helping community partners with strategic fundraising efforts and leveraging opportunities. Kathleen is involved with many organizations including Teach for America, Communities in Schools, St. Thomas High School, Cristo Rey Jesuit, The Houston Food Bank, the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Urban League, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the National Council of La Raza. Past board affiliations include YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas and the state advisory board for Advancement via Individual Determination.
The youngest of 14 children, Martinez is a first-generation high school and college graduate. She resides in Houston with her husband Jon and their son Kameron.
Mayor, City of Newark
Bio: Ras J. Baraka is the 40th Mayor of the City of Newark. He was elected in May of 2014 and sworn in on July 1, 2014.
His progressive approach to governing has won him accolades from grassroots organizations to the White House. He was listed in The Nation’s 2015 “Most Valuable Progressives” as “Most Valuable Mayor”, Ebony Magazine’s “Power 100” and on the front cover of the New York Times for “defying expectations” during his first year-and-half in office. President Barack Obama announced his sweeping plan for criminal justice reform with Mayor Baraka while visiting a Newark reentry center. Because of Mayor Baraka’s diplomatic skill and strong advocacy, Newark Public Schools can expect to be returned to the control of the City for the first time in more than two decades. Throughout the City’s five wards, he is beloved as an educator, former principal, basketball coach, neighbor, mentor and friend.
From the launch of a social impact venture fund to accelerate the development of technology and the opening of the nation’s largest vertical indoor farm, to the creation of the City’s first-ever police Civilian Complaint Review Board to mobilizing residents to combat violence in high-crime areas, Mayor Baraka’s leadership has married a profound vision with an unshakeable passion for the City where he has lived and worked for more than four decades.
Public safety is Mayor Ras Baraka’s highest priority. He has connected law enforcement agencies with the community, provided at risk youth with mentoring, education and job training and developed programs to help ex-offenders join the workforce, gain counseling and medical treatment, and reunite with their families.
At the close of 2015, Mayor Baraka unified the Police and Fire Departments under a single Department of Public Safety. This groundbreaking initiative streamlined the two departments, saved money, and put more police on the street. His other public safety initiative, “Occupy the Block,” brings the Mayor and senior staffers together with local residents to disrupt criminal activities on high crime blocks and often collaborates with the Newark Alliance of My Brother’s Keeper, the local coalition which is based on President Obama’s program to repair the disconnect that many young men of color have with law enforcement, education, and government.
In his first 100 days in office, Mayor Baraka closed the City’s budget gap without laying off employees. His perspective on economic development has won him favor with Fortune 500© leaders, small business owners and investors. His strong relationships with Newark’s clergy and higher education leaders has allowed him to foster new collaborations on downtown and neighborhood redevelopment, education initiatives and fighting crime.
A native of Newark, whose family has lived in the City for more than 70 years, Mayor Baraka was educated in the Newark Public Schools and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a Master’s Degree in Education Supervision from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City. His father, the late Amiri Baraka, was a legendary poet and playwright. His mother, Amina Baraka, is herself a renowned poet.
The father of three daughters, Mayor Baraka is also a published author. His latest work, “Black Girls Learn Love Hard,” is dedicated to his late sister, Shani Baraka
Principal, Public and Political Leadership, Wellstone Action
Bio: A very proud ACMS alumna, and a former candidate for the Arizona legislature, Mónica comes to us from her role as Principal and Owner of Ocotillo Group, where she worked with elected officials, nonprofit leaders, teachers’ unions, and PACs. She was previously the Electoral Campaign Manager for Democracy for America, with a deep history in training and facilitation, communications, government affairs, Latino community organizing and voter engagement with both SEIU and Planned Parenthood.
Mónica’s passion for public service surfaced at age 19 when she took an internship at her local congressman’s office helping to work through a years-long backlog of citizenship applications. That backlog included her own parents’ application and years later, she was able to see these beginnings come full circle as her parents voted for the very first time, with their daughter on the ballot as a legislative candidate.
Mónica couldn’t be more excited to join Wellstone Action as a Principal in Public and Political Leadership, and help build a pipeline of diverse leaders across the country, stating, “I pride myself on teaching from experience when looking for and recruiting women, younger individuals and people of color to run for public office. Being able to tell someone you know exactly what they are about to embark on, what to expect every step of the way and even how to learn from a loss, gives me a unique perspective in identifying a strong pipeline of leaders”.
When Mónica isn’t traveling across the country training and identifying a new generation of public and political leaders, you can find her admiring the abundance of cacti and enchanting desert surroundings in her native Arizona, or baking desserts for a future second career.
Future Majority Project Executive Director, Republican State Leadership Committee
Bio: Neri Martinez is the Executive Director of the Republican State Leadership Committee’s Future Majority Project, which has recruited hundreds of new women and minority candidates and spent over $11 million to elect 72 new minority candidates and almost 250 new women. Neri previously served as Hispanic Outreach Director for the Republican National Committee in 2012 where she was credited for increasing the Hispanic voter share in North Carolina, the RNC’s only swing state win. She also worked in government affairs for and served on the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Diversity Committee from 2011-2012 and was the longest- serving President of the Miami-based non-profit organization, The Free Cuba Foundation.
Neri Martinez is also the founder and President of Maven Strategies. With over 10 years of experience in both private sector business development and political campaigns at the state and federal level, Neri Martinez has developed the skills necessary to identify underdeveloped markets and make the case for innovative strategies that enhance the R.O.I. of any organization’s overall mission and goals. A noted public speaker and advocate for increase diversity efforts within the Republican Party and conservative movement, Neri has been a guest panelist and moderator in over 32 industry-related panels in 12 states and Puerto Rico related to the rapidly changing U.S. demographic and how to capture this emerging audience through diverse and relevant message dissemination tools. Highly regarded for her cultural competency and relationships with diverse communities, she has been intricately engaged on overall multicultural political strategy in over 40 states and frequently visited at least 35, with a special emphasis on the desert SW, the Pacific NW, IL, FL, PA, and NC.
Neri Martinez is a DC Chapter leader of the Florida International University (FIU) Alumni organization, a member of the Hispanic Lobbyist Association, the DC Young Republicans, Maverick PAC, The Advisory Board to the US Senate Republican Task Force on Hispanic Affairs, The Millennial Action Council and an alumni of the Embassy of Spain’s 2015 “Hispanic Leaders” program. Neri was awarded the RNC’s “Susan B. Anthony” 2014 Award for her work with political candidates, was named a “40 under 40” 2014 leader for Maverick PAC, and was recently recognized by Latino Leaders magazine in “Washington DC Emerging Leaders” for the current Winter 2015-2016 issue. Neri Martinez is fluent in English, Spanish and French.
VP & Head of External Affairs, BP
Bio: Ray Dempsey, Jr. is vice president & chief diversity officer for BP America and president of the BP Foundation. He works out of BP’s Houston and Washington, D.C. offices.
Dempsey has worked in the energy industry for more than 25 years in a variety of roles in engineering, strategy, finance, and external affairs in the US and abroad.
In his current role, Dempsey leads BP’s diversity and inclusion agenda, linking external networks and partnerships with internal engagement to position BP as an industry leader. Reporting directly to the BP America Chairman and President, Dempsey leads a broad portfolio including national strategic relationships and initiatives, supplier diversity, workforce diversity, and philanthropy.
By stewarding community investments and through identifying what he calls “intersections of interest,” Dempsey and his team are focused on building lasting partnerships for the company – particularly in the areas of STEM education and veteran outreach. To strengthen supplier diversity, Dempsey and his team are working to create more opportunities for minority and women business enterprises to do business with BP. As the demographics of the country continue to shift, Dempsey understands the importance of having a supply chain – and a company – that reflects the communities where we live and work.
As president of the BP Foundation, Dempsey guides global philanthropic giving programs, including employee matching gifts, disaster relief, and grants for education, environment, and economic development. During Dempsey’s tenure, the BP Foundation has been recognized as a leading corporate foundation by the Houston Chronicle and as a best-in-class employee matching program by TriplePundit (a media consultancy that cultivates awareness and understanding among the business community of the “triple bottom line”—economic, ecological, and social).
Dempsey holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He Chairs the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Engineering at Kansas State University, where he was also named a 2012 Alumni Fellow.
Dempsey is vice chairman of the board for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, and treasurer of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute. He also sits on the board of the National Urban League, the National Minority Supplier Development Council, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Dempsey is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the preeminent membership organization for the development of global black leaders.
Dempsey was named by Savoy Magazine as one of the “2016 Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.” He was also named a 2012 “Game Changer” by Politic365, and received the 2013 “Best of Black Business” Award for Visionary Leadership in Energy from the American Academy of Business and Commerce.
He and his wife Alysia have four daughters and reside in Vienna, Virginia.
Director of Government Affairs, Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
Bio: Robert Chiappetta is currently director of government affairs at Toyota Motor North America, Inc. He is responsible for enhancing the company’s reputation and advancing its legislative agenda with Members of Congress and the Administration. His primary focus is on workforce, labor, and foreign direct investment issues. In addition, he serves as the company’s liaison to a number of political organizations, trade associations, and congressional caucuses. He joined Toyota in 1998.
Robert is a member of the Public Affairs Steering Committee of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). He was nominated to the American Council for Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) and served as a delegate to Russia in June 2008 and Cuba in 2015. He currently serves on ACYPL’s Board of Trustees.
Robert received his B.A. in international relations and East Asian studies from the State University of New York, College at New Paltz in 1991 and his M.A. in commercial diplomacy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1998. In 1989, Robert was awarded a Monbusho Scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education to study at Kanazawa University, in Kanazawa, Japan. During his post-graduate studies, he spent a year studying at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies, in Yokohama, Japan.
Mayor, City of Long Beach
Bio: Dr. Robert Garcia, 39, is an educator and the 28th Mayor of Long Beach. Mayor Garcia is the youngest mayor of any big city in America and has taken a leadership role in economic development, sustainability, education, and investing in technology.
Mayor Garcia, a college and university professor, holds a Master’s Degree from University of Southern California and a Doctorate in Higher Education from Cal State Long Beach, where he also earned his Bachelor’s in Communication.
Mayor Garcia is a Board Member on Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) representing the Gateway City Council of Governments.
Robert Garcia was born in Lima, Peru, and immigrated to the United States at age 5 with his family. He was the first person in his family to attend and graduate college. While at CSULB, he was elected student body president.
Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives (MD-5)
Bio: In the Fifth Congressional District, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer is a tireless fighter for economic development and a leader in creating jobs. He has helped create and save nearly 23,000 jobs by supporting federal facilities and associated businesses located in and around the Fifth District, including NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Patuxent River Naval Air Station, the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head, the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, the FDA at White Oak, and the future NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in College Park.
He also works hard to protect our natural resources. In addition to supporting every major piece of environmental legislation while in Congress, he has co-sponsored numerous bills to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, including the “Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act.” He secured more than $10 million in the 1990s to respond to Pfiesteria and to study its effects on humans; helped secure more than $400 million in the 2008 Farm Bill to enable farmers to implement environmental best practices and reduce runoff into the Chesapeake Bay; and championed the efforts to replenish the declining oyster population of the Bay and to restore the Potomac, Patuxent and St. Mary’s rivers.
Congressman Hoyer works to meet the transportation needs of his constituents by securing funding to maintain and improve local roads, commuter bus systems, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). He also works to keep local communities and the Washington region safe by fighting to fully fund Community Oriented Policing Services, the Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program, and upgrades for first responders’ communications systems.
Congressman Hoyer is also dedicated to outstanding constituent service. At offices in Washington, D.C., Greenbelt, and Waldorf, he and his staff help constituents cut through red tape and solve problems related to passports, immigration, government services, and a host of other issues.
A Record of Achievement
In Congress, Steny Hoyer has built an outstanding record of achievement and earned a reputation as a strong leader and an able legislator. In the 111th Congress, his skill at consensus-building helped the House pass important legislation to strengthen our economy and bring health coverage to an additional 4 million low-income children through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. He has also been one of Congress’s leading voices for fiscal responsibility and a government that pays for what it buys, and he has spearheaded an effort to invest in creating new jobs in Maryland and across the country through Democrats’ Make It In America plan.
Congressman Hoyer shepherded the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to overwhelming approval in the House in 1990. This landmark civil rights legislation, signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, has helped millions of disabled Americans enter the workforce, achieve independence and go as far as their talents take them. In 2008, Congressman Hoyer also led the effort to pass the ADA Amendments Act, which allows millions of Americans with disabilities to benefit from the ADA’s original intent of inclusion.
Congressman Hoyer also gained wide acclaim for guiding the Help America Vote Act to House passage and producing a House-Senate Conference Report that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on Oct. 29, 2002. Washington Post columnist David Broder called this comprehensive election reform legislation “the most significant piece of election law since [the] Voting Rights Act.”
In addition, Congressman Hoyer drafted and helped secure passage of the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA). FEPCA, which was signed into law in November 1990, was a major effort to restructure the pay system for Federal employees, which attempts to ensure fairness in pay and comparability to similar work outside the Federal government.
Congressman Hoyer also is a widely respected voice on foreign policy and international affairs. As the former Chair and Ranking Democrat on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission), he championed the cause of human rights, individual freedoms, democracy and religious liberties throughout the world. He called for decisive U.S. and NATO action to stop the carnage throughout the former Yugoslavia and condemned the repressive tactics of Afghanistan’s former ruling regime, the Taliban, and recognized the danger posed by that government before the terrorist attacks of September 11. He also has taken a very active role in urging international action to stop the genocide in Sudan, and in April 2007 led a Congressional delegation to Darfur. On May 21, 2009, Denmark honored Congressman Hoyer by making him a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog.
Through his committee assignments and leadership positions, Congressman Hoyer has aggressively advocated for his Fifth District constituents and also is a respected voice on national and international issues. As a member of the Appropriations Committee from the time he took office until he entered the Congressional leadership, Congressman Hoyer has secured funding for numerous important projects in Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, and St. Mary’s counties and throughout the State of Maryland. He also has worked to ensure that the military bases in the Fifth District not only survived base closings but grew and thrived.
On the Transportation, Treasury and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, Congressman Hoyer became widely recognized as a national leader on issues affecting Federal employees and retirees. In addition to guiding FEPCA to passage, he fights year in and year out for fair pay and benefits for Federal employees, and he has secured funding for telecommuting centers that save money and reduce traffic congestion.
He also has been a strong proponent of Federal law enforcement efforts that fall within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, securing funding for innovative crime-fighting projects such as the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program, Gang Resistance Education and Treatment Program, and the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative. In addition, he is a long-time supporter of the COPS on the Beat Program, which has meant more than $30 million in Federal funding to hire an additional 700 police officers in the Fifth District.
On the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, Congressman Hoyer championed education and funding for the Class Size Reduction Initiative, Head Start, and teacher training programs. He has also been an advocate for increased funding for childhood immunization and for full-service community schools, which provide a range of important services for students, especially in early childhood years.
Congressman Hoyer is well-recognized for his efforts to make the House more efficient and “customer friendly.” As the former Ranking Democrat on the Committee on House Administration, which oversees the internal operations of the House, he played an important role on policy issues ranging from election reform and campaign finance reform to enhancing the security of the Capitol complex in the aftermath of September 11.
Leadership in Congress
As House Democratic Whip for the 114th Congress, Congressman Hoyer is the second-ranking member of the House Democratic Leadership. He is charged with mobilizing the party vote on important legislation, acting as a liaison between Members and the Democratic Leadership, and coordinating strategy within the Caucus. He also plays a key role in shaping House Democrats’ legislative priorities and in delivering the Democratic message.
Congressman Hoyer’s experience, know-how, and strong work ethic have led to increasing responsibilities within the House Democratic leadership. He previously served as House Majority Leader from 2007 to 2011 – which made him the highest-ranking Member of Congress from Maryland in history – and House Democratic Whip from 2003 to 2007 and in the 112th Congress. Prior to serving in his first term as Whip, Congressman Hoyer served as Chair of the Democratic Caucus – the fourth-ranking position among House Democrats – from 1989 to 1995. He is the former Co-Chair (and a current member) of the Democratic Steering Committee, and served as the chief candidate recruiter for House Democrats from 1995 to 2000. Congressman Hoyer also served as Deputy Majority Whip from 1987 to 1989. Now in his 18th term in Congress, he also became the longest-serving Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland in history on June 4, 2007.
A Commitment to Public Service and the Fifth Congressional District
Congressman Hoyer attended Suitland High School in Prince George’s County, and in 1963 he graduated with high honors from the University of Maryland, selected “Outstanding Male Graduate” that year. In 1966, he received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. That same year, at the age of 27, he won a seat in the Maryland Senate.
In 1975, he was elected President of the Senate, the youngest ever in state history, and served in that body until 1978. He was a member of the State Board of Higher Education from 1978 to 1981, the year in which he came to Congress after winning a special election.
Congressman Hoyer currently serves on the St. Mary’s College Board of Trustees. He also is a former member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland and the United States Naval Academy Board of Visitors. Congressman Hoyer and his wife, the late Judith Pickett Hoyer, have three daughters: Susan, Stefany, and Anne; son-in-law Loren Taylor; grandchildren Judy, James Cleveland, and Alexa; and great-grandchildren Ava and Braedon.
Congressman, Chairman, House Small Business Committee, U.S. House of Representatives (OH-01)
Bio: U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot has proudly served Ohio’s First Congressional District for 18 years. A lifelong Cincinnatian, Steve previously served as a Cincinnati City Councilman and Hamilton County Commissioner for four years each prior to being elected to Congress in 1994.
Since becoming a Member of Congress, Steve has served on the Committee of the Judiciary, the Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was named to the role of Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in 2013, after previously serving as the Chairman of the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee from 2011-2012. Steve also served as Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution from 2001-2006 and as Ranking Member on the House Committee on Small Business from 2007-2008.
Steve has taken his passion to fight wasteful government spending to Congress, becoming one of the leading advocates for fiscal responsibility. Steve has consistently voted to eliminate wasteful spending and reduce the excessive tax burden on hard-working Americans. Nonpartisan taxpayer advocacy groups such as Citizens Against Government Waste, the Concord Coalition and the National Taxpayers Union have time and again rated Steve as one of the most pro-taxpayer members of Congress.
Steve has also helped lead efforts to pass product liability reform measures and toughen anti-drug laws. He is an outspoken defender of the rights of the unborn, most importantly having authored the ban on the practice of Partial-Birth Abortions.
In January 1999, Steve served as one of 12 House Managers during the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, where he received praise for his even-handed and thoughtful approach to the trial.
Steve is a proud 1971 graduate of LaSalle High School. He went on to earn his undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary, and then returned to Cincinnati to teach at St. Joseph’s School in the West End while studying at Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law in the evening.
Steve and his wife, Donna, live in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Westwood. They have two children, Erica and Randy, and are the proud grandparents of Reed.
United States Senator, United States Senate
Bio: In 2012, Ted Cruz was elected as the 34th U.S. Senator from Texas. A passionate fighter for limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution, Ted won a decisive victory in both the Republican primary and the general election, despite having never before been elected to office.
Propelled by tens of thousands of grassroots activists across Texas, Ted’s election has been described by the Washington Post as “the biggest upset of 2012…a true grassroots victory against very long odds.”
National Review has described Ted as “a great Reaganite hope,” columnist George Will has described him as “as good as it gets,” and the National Federation of Independent Business characterized his election as “critical to the small-business owners in [Texas, and], also to protecting free enterprise across America.”
Ted’s calling to public service is inspired largely by his first-hand observation of the pursuit of freedom and opportunity in America. Ted’s mother was born in Delaware to an Irish and Italian working-class family; she became the first in her family to go to college, graduated from Rice University with a degree in mathematics, and became a pioneering computer programmer in the 1950s.
Ted’s father was born in Cuba, fought in the revolution, and was imprisoned and tortured. He fled to Texas in 1957, penniless and not speaking a word of English. He washed dishes for 50 cents an hour, paid his way through the University of Texas, and started a small business in the oil and gas industry. Today, Ted’s father is a pastor in Dallas.
In the Senate, Ted serves on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; the Committee on Armed Services; the Committee on the Judiciary; the Joint Economic Committee; and the Committee on Rules and Administration.
Before being elected, Ted received national acclaim as the Solicitor General of Texas, the State’s chief lawyer before the U.S. Supreme Court. Serving under Attorney General Greg Abbott, Ted was the nation’s youngest Solicitor General, the longest serving Solicitor General in Texas, and the first Hispanic Solicitor General of Texas.
In private practice in Houston, Ted spent five years as a partner at one of the nation’s largest law firms, where he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national Appellate Litigation practice. Ted has authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and argued 43 oral arguments, including nine before the U.S. Supreme Court. During Ted’s service as Solicitor General, Texas achieved an unprecedented series of landmark national victories, including successfully defending:
U.S. sovereignty against the UN and the World Court in Medellin v. Texas;
The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms;
The constitutionality of the Texas Ten Commandments monument;
The constitutionality of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance;
The constitutionality of the Texas Sexually Violent Predator Civil Commitment law; and
The Texas congressional redistricting plan.
The National Law Journal has called Ted “a key voice” to whom “the [U.S. Supreme Court] Justices listen.” Ted has been named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America, by the National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America, and by Texas Lawyer as one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.
From 2004-09, he taught U.S. Supreme Court Litigation as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law.
Prior to becoming Solicitor General, he served as the Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, and as Domestic Policy Advisor on the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign.
Ted graduated with honors from Princeton University and with high honors from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court. He was the first Hispanic ever to clerk for the Chief Justice of the United States.
Ted and his wife Heidi live in his hometown of Houston, Texas, with their two young daughters Caroline and Catherine.
United States House of Representative (CO-06)
Bio: Mike Coffman began his distinguished career of serving our nation at a very young age. At age seventeen, after finishing his junior year at Aurora Central High School in 1972, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Through the Army, Coffman was able to earn a high school diploma. In 1974, he left active duty to attend the University of Colorado under the G.I. Bill where he continued his military career by serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. Coffman took a leave of absence from the U.S. Army Reserve and the University of Colorado to attend D.G. Vaishnav College in Chennai, India in 1976 and the University of Veracruz in Xalapa, Mexico in 1977. Coffman graduated from the University of Colorado in 1979 and immediately transferred from the U.S. Army Reserve to the U.S. Marine Corps where he served as an infantry officer.
In 1983, Coffman came back home to Colorado and started a small business, an Aurora-based property management company, that would grow to over 20 employees. He remained the senior share holder of the firm for the next seventeen years until selling his interest in 2000. While in business, he continued serving in the military by joining the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
In his role as a Colorado small business owner, Coffman saw the need to bring more common sense pro-growth economic policies to state government so he ran and was elected to the State House of Representatives in 1988 and re-elected in 1990. Shortly after his 1990 re-election, Coffman took an unpaid leave of absence from the state legislature and volunteered to return to active duty for the first Gulf War where he served as the executive officer for a light armored infantry company. The battalion that Coffman served in was ordered to attack and defend positions inside of Kuwait, for three consecutive days prior to the main ground attack, as part of a deception and reconnaissance-by-fire operation. Coffman retired from the military in 1994 after having served for seven years between the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve and thirteen years between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve.
In 1994, Coffman was elected to the State Senate where he served as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. While in the State Senate, he completed the Senior Executive Program for State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1998, Coffman was elected to the office of State Treasurer and re-elected in 2002. In 2005, the U.S. Marine Corps was under strength in meeting their requirements for the Iraq War and begun to extend Marines beyond their active duty enlistments, recall Marines recently released from active duty, and selectively reach out to retired Marines and request their return to active duty. Coffman resigned his position as the State Treasurer and volunteered to return to the U.S. Marine Corps for an assignment in Iraq. In Iraq, Coffman was a civil affairs officer where he worked in support of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) in 2005 and in 2006 he was reassigned to help establish interim local governments in the Western Euphrates River Valley.
In 2006, Coffman came home after completing a full tour of duty in Iraq and was appointed by Governor Bill Owens to serve out the remainder of his term as the State Treasurer. In that same year, he ran and was elected to the Office of Secretary of State and served in that capacity until he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.
Coffman is the only veteran in the Colorado delegation and the only Member of Congress to have served in both Iraq Wars. Congressman Coffman represents the 6th Congressional District of Colorado and serves on the Veteran’s Affairs Committee and the Armed Services Committee where he is the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Military Personnel.
Coffman and his wife Cynthia were married in 2005 just before he deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps. Cynthia Coffman was the Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Bill Owens before becoming the Attorney General for the State of Colorado. Coffman attends Faith Presbyterian Church in Aurora with his mother, Dorothy Coffman.
United States Senate (R-CO)
Bio: Senator Cory Gardner is a fifth-generation Coloradan who was born and raised in Yuma, a small town on the Eastern Plains of Colorado where his family has owned a farm implement dealership for over a century. He lives in the same house his great-grandparents lived in. Cory graduated summa cum laude from Colorado State University and received his law degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. After working at his family implement business and the National Corn Growers Association, Cory took a position as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) and quickly advanced to his Legislative Director.
He began serving in the Colorado House of Representatives in 2005 where he spent time as the Minority Whip and became known for his expertise in natural resource and agriculture policy. Cory was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Cory championed a true all-of-the-above energy strategy that promoted traditional resources as well as renewable energy. In addition, Cory is a national leader on energy efficiency initiatives and founded a bipartisan energy efficiency caucus in the House.
In the Senate, Cory continues to pursue common sense energy policy as a member of the Senate Energy & Natural Resource Committee and Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee. In addition, Cory serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee. He also serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.
As Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, Cory led the effort to impose broad new sanctions against North Korea, as the regime continues to be a leading abuser of human rights and its reckless advancement of nuclear weapons threatens our national security.
Cory is focused on expanding the economy, creating jobs, and making life better for all Coloradans.
He lives in Yuma with his wife Jaime and their three children: Alyson, Thatcher, and Caitlyn.
United States House of Representative (TX-28)
Bio: Born as one of eight children to migrant farm workers in Laredo, Texas, Congressman Cuellar was raised with strong family values and an unwavering work ethic to attain an advanced education. As the most degreed member of Congress, he points to education as the platform for his two decades of public service in Texas.
After earning his associate’s degree from Laredo Community College, he used the skills and confidence he gained to enroll in Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. While attending Georgetown, he washed dishes and worked other jobs to afford his college degree, graduating from Georgetown Cum Laude. When he returned to Texas, Congressman Cuellar completed a master’s degree in International Trade at Texas A&M International University and earned a law degree and Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.
In 1981, Congressman Cuellar opened his own law firm and became a licensed customs broker in 1983. He worked at his beloved alma mater, TAMIU, as an Adjunct Professor for International Commercial Law from 1984 to 1986. The following year, Congressman Cuellar decided to fully dedicate his life to public service and served as a Texas State Representative from 1987 until he was appointed as the Texas Secretary of State in 2001.
Congressman Cuellar and his wife, Imelda, reside in Laredo, Texas with their two daughters, Christy and Catie.
During his 14 years as Laredo’s State Representative, Congressman Cuellar served in influential leadership positions in the preeminent House Appropriations, Higher Education, and Calendar Committees. While in the Texas State Legislature, he coauthored the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which ensured health care for thousands of previously uninsured children, and he co-sponsored the largest tax cut in Texas history, which included a three-day tax holiday for consumers and small businesses.
He also served on several national legislative committees dealing with state budgets, the U.S.-Mexico border and international trade.
As Secretary of State, he redefined the office by making it easier for Texans to voice their concerns and opinions. Today, Texans still benefit from his new voter initiatives to register, educate, and protect voters’ rights, as well as his efforts to expand the Border/Mexico Affairs office to help the colonias. He also implemented new technology to make state agencies more customer-friendly, transparent and accountable.
In 2005, Congressman Cuellar became the first Laredoan in over 20 years elected to represent the 28th District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Work in Congress
During his first three terms in Congress, he’s stood out among his congressional colleagues as an advocate for better government, commerce and trade, small businesses and border security. Congressman Cuellar is widely recognized as a leader on homeland security, border security and national emergency preparedness and response.
In the 114th Congress, he currently serves on the influential House Appropriations Committee making him the only Texas Democrat to serve on the committee. This committee is in charge of overseeing the Federal budget, reviewing proposed expenditures and crafting the legislation that outlines annual spending for government agencies. Within this committee, Mr. Cuellar also serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. Congressman Cuellar has been a legislative champion for government transparency and accountability, authoring and passing legislation in Congress to reform federal agency procedures and to eliminate bureaucratic redundancy. He serves as the Region IV Representative of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, where he guides policy and legislation in Congress through his leadership role. Congressman Cuellar is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
As a member of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition, Congressman Cuellar is dedicated to reducing the nation’s deficit by reforming how Congress appropriates federal funds. In 2009, he worked with his Blue Dog colleagues to help pass the landmark Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) legislation to reign-in federal spending and restore the budget surpluses of the 1990’s.
As Chairman and founder of the bi-partisan House Pro-Trade Caucus, Congressman Cuellar is widely regarded as a national trade expert in Washington D.C. Across Texas, businesses and communities alike applaud his support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement. As the largest exporter of goods in the nation, Texas currently grosses more than $100 billion a year by conducting trade with other nations.
For the 112th Congress, Congressman Cuellar served as the the Ranking Member of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee in the House Homeland Security Committee. He believes in strong national security and homeland security efforts. Since coming to Congress, he’s worked hand in hand with Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and local law enforcement to reinforce border security initiatives along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
Congressman Cuellar was appointed for the 112th Congress as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism by the House Homeland Security Committee.
In 2007, he authored the Prosperous and Secure Neighbor Alliance Act to combat drug trafficking and weapons smuggling within border communities. In 2009, he authored and passed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to create a high-level U.S.-Mexico Commission to increase interoperability between law enforcement agencies domestically and in Mexico.
Annually, Congressman Cuellar hosts border security roundtables and conferences with federal, state and local elected officials, law enforcement agencies and local interest groups to solicit input and suggestions on how to better combat drug trafficking along the border.
In 2009, he authored a bill in Congress known as the Southern Border Security Taskforce Act of 2009, which directs the Department of Homeland Security to create a task force to coordinate the efforts of federal, state and local border law enforcement officials to protect U.S. border cities from violence associated with drug trafficking, gunrunning, human smuggling, and kidnapping. In December 2009, this bill was included in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP).
As the only Texas Democrat to have served on the House Agriculture Committee in the 112th Congress, Congressman Cuellar is a staunch advocate for the 12,000 farms and ranches in the 28th District of Texas. During his third term in Congress he worked closely with the Texas Farm Service Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to secure drought relief assistance for Texas’ farms. In 2008, he also passed an amendment in the Farm Bill to address cattle fever ticks, making it the first federal bill to specifically address this major South Texas concern. In 2009, Congressman Cuellar helped secure $9.9 million for Cattle Fever Tick Research.
Since coming to Congress, Congressman Cuellar has been a national advocate for equal opportunity for men and women of all backgrounds and he believes education, family values and a strong work ethic can increase opportunities for his constituents in the 28th District of Texas. He continues to improve education, national security, access to affordable health care and veterans assistance programs as a member of the 113th Congress.
PMAHCC (Pittsburgh Metro Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce)
Bio: Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford is an accomplished attorney with a lifetime of experience in both the public and private sectors. He served as Associate Administrator for the U.S. General Services Administration, where he was responsible for increasing utilization of small businesses in government procurement, as well as continually improving the efficiency of the agency. In addition, Lt. Governor Rutherford served as Assistant Secretary for Administration for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He was nominated for the position by President George W. Bush, and confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate. As Assistant Secretary, Lt. Governor Rutherford led efforts that saved millions of taxpayer dollars.Prior to serving in the USDA, Lt. Governor Rutherford served as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of General Services (DGS) under Governor Bob Ehrlich. In that capacity, Lt. Governor Rutherford was responsible for more than $900 million in annual contract administration and 10 million square feet of State owned and leased facilities. As Secretary of DGS, Lt. Governor Rutherford continued to find creative ways to save Maryland taxpayers millions of dollars, while also initiating and completing the expansion and renovation of numerous State buildings.In addition to his public service, Lt. Governor Rutherford has extensive legal and business experience, including service in business and government law, information technology sales, and small and minority business development.Lt. Governor Rutherford holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Political Science from Howard University. Additionally, he has a Master’s Degree in Communications Management and a law degree, both from the University of Southern California.Lt. Governor Rutherford resides in Columbia, Maryland with his wife Monica. They have three adult children.
United States House of Representative (CA-44)
Bio: Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the cities of and communities of Carson, Compton, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts/Willowbrook, and Wilmington.
Rep. Barragán was born in Harbor City, California and grew up in Carson and the surrounding area. As the youngest of eleven children raised by immigrants from Mexico, she beat the odds and put herself through UCLA and USC Law School.
In 2003, Rep. Barragán served as an extern to Justice Carlos Moreno at the California Supreme Court. The next year, she served at the Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation, a law firm for low-income people in Los Angeles.
Rep. Barragán has worked as a community advocate in Los Angeles as well as in Washington. She worked in the White House in the late 90’s and then at the NAACP – focusing on racial and social justice issues.
While serving as a Councilwoman in Hermosa Beach, she stood up to an oil company and worked to stop its proposal to drill oil and water injection wells in Hermosa Beach and out into the Santa Monica Bay. She became the first Latina ever elected and the first woman in ten years.
Rep. Barragán began her congressional career in January of 2017, where she is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Progressive Caucus. She lives in San Pedro, CA.
Bio: Omar is passionate about entrepreneurship and the role entrepreneurship plays in building community and in helping create a better world. He helped found the Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship and ENTERpreneur – a summer youth entrepreneurship program for Chicago-area high-school students. Under his leadership IHCC is leading an initiative to connect more Hispanics to the innovation economy and is launching a first-of-it’s kind incubator for Hispanic tech and tech-enabled startups in partnership with 1871.
Omar is a Chicago native whose parents immigrated to the United States from Guatemala. He received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He worked as a reporter for the Albuquerque Tribune, one of the last afternoon daily newspapers in the country. Omar is an avid runner, he loves to cook, enjoys live music – especially jazz and highly improvisational music. He is married to a super-star woman, Clarisol, and has two young children.
United States House of Representative (FL-06)
Bio: Ron DeSantis is a native Floridian of humble beginnings who knows the value of hard work. To put himself through school, he performed every odd job imaginable — sweeping floors, collecting trash, moving furniture, parking cars, serving as an electrician’s assistant, and coaching baseball clinics. He earned a bachelor of arts, magna cum laude, and was the captain of the varsity baseball team at Yale University. He also graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, Ron earned a commission in the United States Navy as a JAG officer.
During his active duty Navy service, he served as a military prosecutor, supported operations at the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and deployed to Iraq during the 2007 troop surge as an advisor to a U.S. Navy SEAL commander in support of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq. He has also performed duties as a federal prosecutor, taught courses on military law, and written on constitutional issues.
Since being elected to the U.S. House in 2012, Ron has served on the Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Oversight & Government Reform Committees. He is the chairman of the Oversight Committee’s National Security subcommittee and the vice-chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.
Ron lives in Palm Coast, FL with his wife, Casey, an Emmy award-winning television host, and their daughter Madison. He is currently a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy reserve.