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Press release/statement

Demos Experts and Fellows Available For State Of The Union Commentary

NEW YORK – National public policy organization Demos announces experts available for commentary on and around President Obama’s State of the Union address. Demos works to address the link between economic and political equality and advances structural changes to provide all Americans an equal voice in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy.

Demos experts, including President Miles Rapoport and Distinguished Senior Fellow Bob Herbert, are frequent guests on national television and radio shows, providing progressive analysis on the issues affecting everyday Americans, ranging from voter suppression to government spending and from student debt to financial regulation.  


•   Miles Rapoport has been President of Demos since 2001, previously serving as Secretary of the State of Connecticut from 1995-1998. As Secretary, he was an energetic advocate for a democracy leading efforts for voter registration, youth civic engagement, and campaign finance reform. Having overseen the state’s election administration, Rapoport is available to comment on election rules, voter suppression and intimidation, as well economic and labor issues. 

•   Tamara Draut is Vice President of Policy and Research at Demos, where she developed the organization’s groundbreaking work on household indebtedness, middle class insecurity and the economic challenges facing young people. She is the author of Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead


•   Rich Benjamin, Senior Fellow at Demos, is an expert on issues of social and economic justice. He has written about the intersection of politics and culture, and is the author of Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America, winner of an Editor's Choice Award from Booklist and the American Library Association.

•   Bob Herbert joined Demos as Distinguished Senior Fellow after an 18-year career at The New York Times as an Op-Ed columnist, writing about politics, urban affairs and social trends in a twice-weekly column. His work with Demos includes frequent commentary on poverty and the plight of the middle class, as well as recent work on gun control. 


•   Brenda Wright is the Vice President of Legal Strategies at Demos.  She has led many progressive legal and policy initiatives on voting rights, campaign finance reform, redistricting, election administration and other democracy and electoral reform issues.  She has argued two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court: Randall v. Sorrell (campaign finance) and Young v. Fordice (voting rights) and testifies regularly before Congress, federal agencies and state legislatures. 

•   Lisa Danetz is Senior Counsel at Demos. A voting rights and campaign finance lawyer, she addresses issues of inequality and fairness in elections. She is an expert on implementation of Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act, has worked cooperatively with and also litigated against states regarding implementation of the National Voter Registration Act, and has engaged in advocacy before Congress and federal executive offices on the issue. 

•   Liz Kennedy is Counsel at Demos, working to expand political participation and prevent voter disenfranchisement across the country by eliminating barriers to voting and enforcing the National Voter Registration Act. She recently co-authored Demos’ report Bullies at the Ballot Box: Protecting the Freedom to Vote Against Wrongful Challenges and Intimidation. Kennedy also focuses on campaign finance reforms to increase transparency and accountability for money in politics and to fight democratic corruption. 


•   Adam Lioz is Counsel at Demos. He focuses on policy advocacy to promote political equality and democratic fairness through curbing the influence of big money on the political process and safeguarding the right to vote; and litigation to enforce the National Voter Registration Act and end prison based gerrymandering. He recently co-authored a five-part series analyzing FEC data and dark money, culminating in “Billion-Dollar Democracy.” 


•   J. Mijin Cha is a Senior Analyst at Demos. Working on key issues at the intersection of environmental, economic, and social sustainability, her research includes reports on the economic opportunity of renewables and the role of money in politics. She also writes about the ways in which the GDP inadequately measures critical economic indicators such as inequality and climate change. 


•   Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect magazine, as well as a Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow. He is the author of eight books, including the recent New York Times bestseller, Obama's Challenge: American's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency. 

•   Richard Brodsky is a former 14-term New York State Assemblyman from Westchester and Senior Fellow at Demos. He authored the historic 2009 Public Authorities Reform Act, a sweeping reform of all of New York’s 700 authorities. In the NYS Assembly, Richard chaired the Committee on Environmental Conservation creating New York’s Environmental Protection Fund, which has disbursed billions of dollars to preserve and restore the environment statewide.